The Praise for Salvation: The Abrahamic Covenant
Topic: Covenants Verse: Luke 1:72–1:75
“PRAISE FOR SALVATION: The Abrahamic Covenant”
Theme: The consummation of redemptive purpose is found in Jesus.
I. God’s Compassion for Our Spiritual Fathers – 1:72a
A. The Problem with Fellowship with God
- This section takes us back to the purposes for which God “raised up a horn of salvation for us …”
- Zacharias provides the first of the motivations by God here: “… to show mercy toward our fathers …”
- The word “show” [ποιῆσαι] (Aor Act. Inf.) – describes the manufacture or production of something - its first and most common usage; signifying that by means of providing the Messiah, God was bringing about “mercy toward our fathers”
- “Mercy” [ἔλεος] – describes the kindness of someone who is concerned for one in need.
- Essentially we are being told that “our fathers” were in a state of need that God addressed by sending the Messiah.
- We know that the Scriptures declare that without the work of Jesus Christ, God is unable to be approached – cp. John 14:6
- Additionally, we know that there remained a symbolic barrier that portrayed the inability of the Old Testament saints from being able to approach God – the veil in the Temple – cp. Matthew 27:51.
- It was impossible for Old Testament saints who died to go directly into the presence of God since Christ Jesus had not yet accomplished the needed atonement for their sins.
- Therefore, Old Testament saints died and went to Paradise or “Abraham’s Bosom” – a place of blessing for the righteous who had to wait before entering the presence of God.
- This was illustrated by Jesus in the story of the rich man & Lazarus – cp. Luke 16:22
B. The Provision of Fellowship with God
- Zacharias delighted in the awareness of what the provision of the Messiah meant – that fellowship with God would be possible.
- All the righteous throughout history looked forward to the provision of the reconciliation that the Messiah would provide – a reconciliation that would enable them to be acceptable to God.
- Jesus told us that His destination immediately upon His death was Paradise – cp. Luke 23:43
- Upon Jesus’ resurrection, the Old Testament saints (“our fathers”) who had been awaiting the accomplishments of the Messiah were prepared to participate in that grand victory parade into glory, an event that was fulfilled at the ascension – cp. Ephesians 4:7-10
- We are told that now, when a believer dies, his spirit immediately separates from the body and goes directly to be with the Lord – cp. 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23.
- Zacharias is overjoyed that God’s “mercy” – His “covenant love” called his “loving-kindness” [חֶ֫סֶד] throughout the Old Testament would be consummated through the ministry of the “horn of our salvation.”
II. God’s Commitment to His Holy Covenant – 1:72b-73
A. The Priority of His Covenant – v. 72b
- The second primary motivation for “raising up the horn of salvation for us” is “… to remember His holy covenant.”
- “to remember” [μιμνῄσκομαι] – as a passive infinitive is a term that conveys a reminding of oneself, to recollect thoughts of mercy and loving-kindness intended through “His holy covenant.”
- Although God made this covenant with Abraham (v. 73), it is called “His holy covenant” – that is, it is an unconditional covenant that God made with Abraham and His descendants – cp. Genesis 12:1-3 and then ratified in Genesis 15
- The manner in which God established this covenant demonstrates that it “was unilateral; an irrevocable pledge made by God alone and not dependent on Abraham.” (MacArthur, p. 108)
- The fulfillment of this covenant is based not upon Abraham’s performance, nor upon the performance of his posterity, but upon God’s faithfulness itself.
- God repeatedly calls this an everlasting covenant – cp. Genesis 16:7, 13, 19
- To God, fulfilling “His holy covenant” is the point of redemption – it is one of the major reasons that Jesus was sent: to fulfill the provisions of the Covenant.
- The other major covenant all develop some aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant:
B. The Performance of His Oath – v. 73
- As an emphasis of the intentionality and commitment by God to keep this covenant, the Spirit of God leads Zacharias to further explain – “… the oath which He swore to Abraham our father”
- “oath” [ὅρκος] – emphasizes the affirmation of one’s word
- To “swear” [ὀμνύω] – emphasizes the affirming the veracity of one’s statement by invoking a “transcendent entity” of being – yet God can swear by no one greater! – cp. Hebrews 6:13
- This, again, was in commitment to “Abraham our father” – and God “raised up the horn of salvation for us” in order to keep His Word to Abraham.
III. God’s Commission of Sanctified Servants – 1:74-75
A. The Service of the Redeemed – v. 74
- Finally, we are told that the third reason that God sent Jesus was “to grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear …”
- Again, this mingles the two foci of the Messiah’s ministry – the “rescue” from spiritual oppression of our own depravity as well as the political oppression by those who are “our enemies,” namely the Gentiles.
- Ultimately, this “rescue” and the freedom for service is the service that Israel will provide the Messiah during the Millennial Kingdom.
- Yet, by application we understand that we ourselves have been delivered spiritually and that God’s expectation is that we serve Christ because of His mercies toward us – cp. Romans 12:1-2
- God “grants” or “gives” [δίδωμι] us the privilege of serving Him.
- “Serve” [λατρεύω] – is a term that conveys the carrying out of religious devotion – the willingness to do whatever is either commanded or asked by God – cp. Hebrews 12:28
- It conveys “devotion” or “worship” in an active fulfillment of the desire of the one being worshipped – cp. Philippians 3:3.
B. The Sanctity of the Redeemed – v. 75
- The state in which we provide this worshipful service is one that is “in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.”
- Both in the inward condition “holiness” and outward conduct “righteousness” we serve before Him without retirement – “all our days.”
- This is the ultimate impact of the ministry of the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant – by means of the accomplishment of the New Covenant that Zacharias will discuss in the next few verses.