I have been reflecting on Abraham’s obedience in his attempted sacrifice of his son. The event raises an interesting question for me, what is obedience for? Maybe we should learn from Abraham, and others like Moses, Mary, or some other paragon of obedience to God and conscience? I think the answer probably entails a Yes and a No.
Yes, in that their roles (obedient people of the past like Abraham) are invaluable to the world we live in today. Their obedience is what our state of affairs is built on. But no, in the sense that I think Christ is still ultimate and reminds us best what all these great people of obedience set up for us: the lesson of obedience in the gospel.
To summarize and explain this answer with the “gospel” is hard to put into succinct words so I will borrow from Mark’s gospel because I think he said it well and poetically: “then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” It is finished, the accomplishments of God and faithful people of the past are to give us the freedom to live in a world where whatever our state is, obedience is NOT weighed on the balance between God’s role or some human effort. The scales are gone and their great examples (our past) can either assist our state towards an obedience for obedience’s sake or it can be ignored and the richness, wisdom, and paradigms of the ages can be lost. With great freedom comes great risk but someone had to take the risks beforehand to create such a state, Abraham’s obedience and God’s promises were some key points. We are their benefactors. Live well and live with them. Believe.