Vol.XVI No.IV Pg.2
June 1979

Promise And Command

Robert F. Turner

God promised something to Abraham, and God commanded something of Abraham. And the two, promise and command, are woven into a drastic test of his faith that must have wracked every fiber of his being.

When Abraham was 75 years old he was promised, "I will make of thee a great nation," and, "thy seed shall be as numberless as the sands." But nearly 25 years pass, and the son of promise had not come. Then God told Abraham that Sarah, long barren, would have a son. I like the King James translation: "he staggered not," for I think that would "stagger" me. The son was born, destined to be the seed through whom the promised race would develop.

Then God commanded, "... get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering" (Gen. 22:). The record is restrained and simple, but as one reads Genesis 22 it is difficult to keep back a sense of rebellion in our own heart. What tearing of conscience Abraham must have experienced! Promise and command were seemingly in irreconcilable conflict. Now it is time for "our neo-theologians to declare, "grace and works are naturally opposed," or, "salvation by promise negates our doing anything." The error of these men is not that they preach salvation by grace, but that they fail to relate grace to the whole of God's teaching. Neil Lightfoot's commentary on Hebrews has this observation: "How could the promise and the command stand side by side? The brilliance of Abraham's faith is that, in all of this, he left it up to God. It was God's problem. God had promised. God had commanded. He would obey. (p.213.) Foolish mortals devise theologies that really put God in a bind ("our" boys are now into "The Impeccable Christ") and then we spend pages trying to get God straightened out. When will we learn to content ourselves with acceptance and faithful obedience to what God says? God can even raise proud theologians from the "dead" if they will but trust and obey Him.


We introduce to you brother Kevan O'Banion (see pg. 4 for his article), a talented and dedicated young man who will be working with the Oaks West congregation for experience and training as a gospel preacher. We will provide support, have built a study for him, and bro. Shipley and I will assign research work for occasional "think-tank" examinations. Our elders will counsel and guide him, and us, in this enlarged work of the Oaks-West church. WELCOME KEVAN!!