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The Gospel According to Genesis

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The Gospel According to Genesis

Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church on December 9, 2007

Luke 24:13-27 (NASB95)
13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14 And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.
15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them.
16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.
17 And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad.
18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?”
19 And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people,
20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him.
21 “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.
22 “But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning,
23 and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive.
24 “Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.”
25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

When Jesus explained the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures, He began with the writings of Moses, with the beginning of the Bible, the first five books. He started with Genesis and went through all the O.T. prophets, showing how all the scriptures pointed to Him, He’s the theme of the book, and there are things “concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” and in “all the prophets.”  

We have seen some of the shadows and pictures of Christ in Genesis already, and I’m sure that Jesus on that road talked about Genesis 3, which we studied in recent weeks:

-         The promised seed of the woman who must suffer a blow by Satan but He would crush the head of Satan fatally

-         The Lord’s work in that chapter extending grace and even the Lord Himself doing the work of a priest, killing perfect innocent animals instead of Adam and Eve to provide for them sufficient garments of animal skins for a proper covering – a picture of sacrifice, substitution, and salvation

Perhaps Christ discussed Psalm 2 and 16 and 22 and 110, and Isaiah 53, 7:14, 9:6, and all the classic prophecies you know and many of which we sing about during the Christmas season. But he began where Moses began, and this morning I want us to study together The Gospel According to Genesis. Long before the first gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written, the foundations and fundamental truths of the New Testament gospel were already laid down in the first book of the Old Testament.

I want to look at 3 key words this morning of how the book of Genesis lays out this groundwork for the gospel. These 3 key words are 3 essential aspects of the gospel in its most basic form, 3 basic categories that should be a part of any faithful gospel presentation.

I.                    SIN – What sin is and does to us

II.                 GRACE – What grace is and what God does

III.               FAITH – What biblical faith is and what we must do

To summarize salvation in one phrase, it is from sin by grace through faith in Christ (“Christ” as a title is not in Genesis, but He’s there by type). If you can remember these 3 words, this will help you next time you are trying to explain the gospel to someone – think back and ask yourself if you have adequately explained each of these. If not, you want to go back and spend time making these essential points more clear. If any of these 3 categories are short-changed or overlooked, the gospel message will be lopsided. As I glanced through some of the N.T. gospel presentations, there are many different ways it was presented but there were still some common denominators – the audience had to understand sin and their need for grace through faith in Christ.

1. SIN

After Genesis 3, the chapter describing how sin entered the world, the rest of the book is really the results of sin. Chapters 4-50 show us again and again the inescapable results of sin even in the best of men and women. We’re going to look at a big picture overview today of these chapters.

Originally perfect man was now thoroughly tainted by sin, like an original pure and clean glass of mountain spring water receiving a drop of ink or dye that is instantly and thoroughly permeated and colored in every part now, that is what happened to mankind once the fall into sin took place.

Let’s look at some of the results of sin in the pages after Gen. 3:

Result # 1 – Domination

Genesis 4:2-7 (NASB95)
And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground.
4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering;
5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it

Sin is like a crouching animal seeking to rule over us, its desire is to dominate and control us and it will unless we can master it, unless we can control the desires and take those thoughts captive

Result # 2 - Death

Genesis 4:8 (NASB95)
8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
We already knew from Genesis 2 that sin would bring death. This is the first human death, the first murder. The first child kills the second.

If you scan through chapter 5, you’ll notice a repeated line at the end of each section (v. 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27, 31) “and he died”

Result # 3 – Degradation


Genesis 4:23-25 (NASB95)
23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me;
24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”
25 Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.”


Lamech sounds like a modern MTV video. Kent Hughes calls Lamech’s speech the first gangster rap. Look at his arrogance and attention drawing all to himself in v. 23. Look at how he brags of the revenge he carries out for lesser offenses against him. Look at the degrading way he speaks to his women.

We’re only one chapter after the fall into sin and we already see the same type of degradation that is all over our modern MTV culture. There’s nothing new under the sun.

Look at the degradation and deviation already here from God’s plan for marriage of one man and woman. Lamech has multiple women, two wives, he’s the first polygamist (see v. 19). The story of Genesis as a whole shows further degrading departures from God’s holy design for the family and for man and woman (polygamy, adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, rape, seduction, etc. – all of these unfold in the chapters ahead)

Result # 4 - Depravity

Genesis 4:26 (NASB95)
26 To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.

The word “enosh” is a word used in other contexts for mortal man, insignificant man, and many think it’s related to the Hebrew root for frailty, weakness, even related to the statement about the heart of man being desperately wicked, incurably sick (Jer. 17:9).[1] There seems to be a connection between his name and man realizing their depraved condition, and desperately calling on the Lord.

The MacArthur Study Bible summarizes: ‘As men realized their inherent sinfulness with no human means to appease God’s righteous indignation and wrath over their multiplied iniquities, they turned to God for mercy and grace in hopes of a restored personal relationship.’

Until you understand how thoroughly sinful you are, how incurably sin-sick and depraved and desperately wicked your heart is, you will not understand what grace is or your need for grace. That’s why the gospel starts first with sin (cf. Romans, Ephesians, etc.)

Genesis 6:5 (NASB95)
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

You don’t have to go very far in the Bible to find the doctrine of total depravity. In fact one theologian has said it’s the easiest biblical doctrine to prove, because the evidence is everywhere. Total depravity does not mean we are all as bad as possible or as bad as the worst sinners on the planet, but we are all thoroughly permeated with sin in our entire being. Even our best days are tainted by sin, even our best thoughts and best deeds are as filthy rags before God’s sight. We can do things that seem good on a human level but we are unable and unwilling to do anything that pleases God on God’s terms. We are free to choose which sins we engage in but Romans 3 says no one seeks God or does good, all choose to go astray – that is a real choice man makes, but it is the wrong choice and without God’s sovereign intervention all would continue going their own way doing what’s right in our own eyes. Free and willful rebellion against God is played out in Genesis but we learn in Scripture that one thing we are not free or able to do is to change our nature and our heart by mere willpower, only God can do that. It’s not by our might or power, but by the Spirit of God

Sinners might think they are free and that Christianity brings bondage or cramps their style, but the Bible says sinners are already in bondage, slaves to sin, and we are not born free we need the truth to set us free. Jesus taught this clearly in John 8 and said if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. We are only truly free after Jesus Christ liberates us.

Sin impacts not just our actions and our nature but our very will is corrupted and in the words of verse 5, “every intent of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually”

We aren’t sinners because we sin, we sin because we’re sinners at heart. The fact that we resist this doctrine and don’t like to think we’re as sinful as the Bible says is just further evidence of our sin.

The story is told of a preacher teaching on total depravity and at the end of his sermon one of his listeners came up and told him, “Preacher, I can’t swallow what you’re saying about sin and depravity.” The preacher responded, “That’s all right, you don’t have to swallow it, it’s already in you!”

R.C. Sproul prefers the term “Radical Corruption” – radical has the idea of at the very core or heart, and corrupt is a biblical term used in verses 11-12. Dr. Sproul says the only thing he doesn’t like about the term “Radical Corruption” is it’s abbreviation R.C. (same as his initials)

Genesis 6:11-12 (NASB95)
11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

3x in 2 verses we see the word corrupt. That sums us up. After the flood in Genesis 8:21 God says man’s heart and thoughts are still wicked all the time, and it’s not just the worst sinners that are corrupt, the book of Genesis shows how even the best of the patriarchs were hopeless sinners, corrupted and tainted by sin:

-         Adam, the most perfect man ever, failed miserably

-         Noah, the one they hoped would be the one finally they were looking for in 5:29 is dishonored as a drunken naked man shortly after the flood in chapter 9

-         One of his sons who avoided judgment and the worldwide flood by grace then sins against his father and is cursed

-         Abraham, the bright light from chapter 12 on, just a few verses after he appears in chapter 12 proves to be a self-serving liar to Pharaoh about his wife Sarah. Did he learn? No, in chapter 20, he repeats the lie to King Abimelech and like father, like son, Isaac does a similar sin in chapter 26.

-         Sarah his wife is hailed by the N.T. as a godly woman and example, in the hall of faith, but we see her weakness in laughing at God’s Word, doubting the Lord and subverting His promise by asking her husband to sleep with her servant Hagar instead of trusting God

-         The Jews saw Abraham as the great leader and hero of their faith, but the Bible records his fault in joining Sarah and Hagar in sinfully departing from God’s promise and having children another way that has impacted nations since. Like Adam listened to his wife rather than leading her, Abraham similarly failed in his role bringing long-term consequences

-         Abraham’s nephew Lot who the scripture describes as righteous became so entrenched in Sodom’s corruption that angels had to physically force him and his family to leave

-         Abraham’s son Isaac in chapters 25-27 showed favoritism as a parent, also experiencing long-term consequences and Isaac’s son Jacob the deceiver had a life dominated by deceit, and he reaps what he sows.

-         It’s been summarized this way: ‘Laban, in league with Leah, deceived Jacob on what he thought was his wedding night with Rachel [chap 29]. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi would go on to deceive the Shechemites as a prelude to genocide [chap 34] … All his sons banded together to sell Joseph into slavery [chap 37 – then deceived him that Joseph was dead]. And Judah, son number four, impregnated his widowed daughter-in-law as she disguised herself as a Canaanite prostitute [chap 38]

So what are we to conclude? … Genesis teaches that humanity left to itself is thoroughly sinful and helplessly and hopelessly lost.’[2]

This is the history of the best of men in Genesis, the ones of promise, the heroes of the O.T. faith. If this is the reality of the greatest of the patriarchs, we’re all in big trouble. No human being and no human action, will, or work by man is the answer.

Result # 5 – Destruction


Genesis 6:13

Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

The bad news of sin goes beyond this life, and it’s important we don’t just focus on people’s feelings or fulfillment or lack thereof in presenting the gospel. The ultimate problem of sin whether we feel it or not is the offense against a holy God and the eternal consequence of sin, not just destruction and death in this life. The Bible says all deserve eternal punishment and destruction.


Only when we truly understand sin will we find grace truly amazing. Chapter 3, the Curse Chapter was full of grace as we’ve seen in past weeks. In the death chapter, chapter 5 where we see everyone dying, God in grace takes Enoch up to heaven in 5:24.

The greatest fiery judgment the world has known – Sodom and Gomorrah – was an occasion of grace as well to Lot and family.

And it is right in the midst of the greatest outpouring of wrath the world has known – the watery flood – that we see a beautiful portrait of God’s grace, His undeserved unmerited unearned favor.

Genesis 6:7-8 (NASB95)
7 The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”
8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
… 13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
14 “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.

What does all this have to do with Jesus? Let’s let Jesus Himself and the other New Testament writers weigh in on the significance of these stories in Genesis.

Luke 17 (NASB95)
26 “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building;
29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
… 32 “Remember Lot’s wife.
33 “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

Hebrews 11:5 (NASB95)
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.

2 Peter 2:4-9 (NASB95)
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;
5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;
7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men
8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),
9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,

These historical events from Genesis prove that the Lord saves and rescues and delivers. They are gospel truth in story form, true story. Not only do they show God as a Savior, they show Him as judge, which is the other part of the gospel – certain coming judgment.

2 Peter 3:5-7 (NASB95)
5 … by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,
6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison,
20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

The gospel in Genesis can be illustrated in many other ways, but it is explicitly and especially one man in particular through whom God’s grace and saving purposes are revealed and promised. In Genesis 12 we are introduced to Abram (later called Abraham)

Genesis 12:1-3 (NASB95)
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you;
2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;
3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

It is right here in the first mention of Abraham and God’s words to him that we have the gospel in Genesis. That’s not my view or interpretation, that’s God’s view according to Galatians 3:8

8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.”
9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

The gospel was preached to Abraham, and the gospel was also pictured in the life of Abraham

Genesis 22:1-18 (NASB95)
1 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
2 He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4 On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.
5 Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.
7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
12 He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.
14 Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven,
16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,
17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.
18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

This is the essence of the gospel:

-         The Lord Will Provide – He alone can provide a sufficient sacrifice, in fact His provision is our only hope

-         Abraham is a picture of a father willing to give of his one and only begotten son, his only beloved son (cf. John 3:16)

-         It was on another mount, Calvary, that our Heavenly Father would sacrifice His own son who went willingly submitting in love to His will to secure salvation for Abraham’s sons

-         In the same way that the Lord’s call caused Abraham to look up in v. 13, if you’re a believer here this morning it’s because the Lord’s call caused you to look up and behold not a sheep in a bush, but the Lamb of God Himself who takes away the sins of the world (cf. Isa. 45:22)

-         Verse 13 at the end says God allowed this offering in the place of Isaac – this is the gospel principle of substitution

-         Galatians 3 itself makes explicit connection of this passage with Christ and the gospel by quoting this passage

-         I would have loved to hear Jesus Himself on the road to Emmaus coming to this point of Genesis and explaining to those 2 disciples the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures and the marvelous picture of grace and salvation

So the gospel according to Genesis is that we are saved from sin and by grace, but we can’t stop there … it is


Genesis 15 (NASB95)

5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
6 Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

The apostle Paul in Romans 4 quotes that verse 3x in one chapter to prove that justification / salvation is not at all dependent on works we do but for those who believe God it is reckoned as righteousness, credited to their account, imputed to our ledger, and in turn God does not count our sins against us.

3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.
5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,
6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered.
8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
9 Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.”
10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;
… 16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
… 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,
21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.
22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness.
23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him,
24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Where does Hebrews 11 go to demonstrate true saving faith? Genesis

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
2 For by it the men of old gained approval.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;
10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.
15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.
16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;
18 it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.”
19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

Joseph himself is a remarkable type of Christ (a whole study for another time):[3]

Joseph—A Type of Christ
Joseph Parallels Jesus
37:2 A shepherd of his father’s sheep. John 10:11,27–29
37:3 His father loved him dearly. Matt. 3:17
37:4 Hated by his brothers. John 7:4, 5
37:13,14 Sent by father to brothers. Hebrews 2:11
37:20 Others plotted to harm them. John 11:53
37:23 Robes taken from them. John 19:23,24
37:26 Taken to Egypt. Matt. 2:14, 15
37:28 Sold for the price of a slave. Matt. 26:15
39:7 Tempted. Matt. 4:1
39:16–18 Falsely accused. Matt. 26:59,60
39:20 Bound in chains. Matt. 27:2
40:2, 3 Placed with two other prisoners, one who was saved and the other lost. Luke 23:32
41:41 Exalted after suffering. Phil. 2:9–11
41:46 Both 30 years old at the beginning of public recognition. Luke 3:23
42:24; 45:2,14,15; 46:29 Both wept. John 10:35
45:1–15 Forgave those who wronged them. Luke 23:34
45:7 Saved their nation. Matt. 1:21
50:20 What men did to hurt them, God turned to good. 1 Cor. 2:7,8

The word “Christ” is not in Genesis because it’s a Greek word, but the Hebrew “Messiah” was recognized by the ancient Jews as clearly promised in Genesis 3:15, 49:10, etc. We look back at our Messiah in faith, they looked forward (ex: Abraham, John 8:56)

Jesus said Abraham rejoiced to see His day. Abraham didn’t know the name Jesus but He knew the Lord by grace through faith and he received God’s righteousness as a gift and that is the only way any of us can be true children of Abraham and on our way to heaven to be with him.

I cannot agree with those who teach there were different ways of salvation in different dispensations or timeframes in history. The N.T. writers emphatically prove their doctrine of salvation by pointing to Genesis and the faith of Abraham, before the law and apart from the law. The only way sinful man can ever be saved is the same way Abraham was saved – by grace through faith in the Lord. We’ve already heard Paul quote Genesis 15:6 in Romans 4 multiple times to prove how Gentiles are saved. James also quotes that verse to prove that this imputed righteousness will result in works because of God’s work in us. Galatians 3 sums up the gospel:

6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.”
9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.”
11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.”
12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.”
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—
14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

That is the gospel according to Genesis


[1]Girdlestone, R. B.. Synonyms of the Old Testament : Their bearing on Christian doctrine. (p. 51): When we come to inquire into the etymology and original meaning of the word, we find it connected with the Hebrew root anash This word occurs (usually in the form anush) in the following passages only:—2 Sam. 12:15, David’s child was ‘very sick;’ Job 34:6, ‘My wound is incurable;’ Psalm 69:20, ‘I am full of heaviness;’ Isa. 17:11, ‘Desperate sorrow;’ Jer. 15:8, ‘Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed?’ Jer. 17:9, The heart is ‘desperately wicked;’ Jer. 17:16, ‘Neither have I desired the woeful day’ (LXX, ‘the day of man’); Jer. 30:12, ‘Thy bruise is incurable and thy wound is grievous;’ Jer. 30:15, ‘Thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity;’ Micah 1:9, ‘Her wound is incurable.’

[2] Kent Hughes, Genesis, p. 585.

[3] Chart is from MacArthur Study Bible, NASB edition, p. 89.

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