EVERYTHING WITH ISAAC BEING RECEIVED
From these two relationships, we can see Isaac’s characteristics. Throughout his entire life, everything he had was a matter of enjoyment and receiving. What does it mean to know the God of Isaac? Knowing the God of Isaac means only one thing: knowing God as the Supplier and that everything comes from Him. If we want to know the Father, we have to know the Son. In order to know the God of Abraham, we have to know the God of Isaac. We are helpless if we only know the God of Abraham because He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16). But thank the Lord that He is also the God of Isaac. This means that everything that Abraham had was Isaac’s. It also means that everything comes by receiving.
If a Christian does not know the God of Isaac, he cannot go on. If a Christian does not know the meaning of Isaac, he cannot reach God’s goal. In other words, if we do not know how to receive, we will never reach God’s goal. Those who do not know Isaac can live only under Mount Sinai. Those who do not know Isaac in life and do not express Isaac in living possess nothing but the law. When God has a demand, they try to do it according to themselves. When God wants something, they try to offer it according to themselves. This is not Isaac. This kind of Christian eventually can only sigh and say, "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but to work out the good is not" (Rom. 7:18). The person in Romans 7 was willing to do good; he was very desirous of being good. But he himself was doing the work; he did not see that God must deliver him. He did not see that everything is in Christ, and he did not see the riches God has prepared in Christ. He did not see the inheritance in Isaac. He did not realize that the secret to victory is in receiving. He did not realize that Christians are Christians by virtue of who they are; they do not act out the Christian life. He did not see that God delivers a person by giving him the law of life. Therefore, he could only exercise his will.
OBTAINING VERSUS ATTAINING
The problem with God’s children is that they realize God’s demand on Abraham, but they do not see the way to meet this demand. After God’s children see His goal, they think that they should do something to attain the goal. They do not realize that the Christian life, the overcoming life of freedom and sanctification, is obtained and not attained. The principle of Isaac is that everything is received. Salvation is something that the Lord Jesus has accomplished. Once we receive it, we are saved. Salvation does not involve a race to climb up the heavenly ladder, in which there is no assurance until one has struggled tortuously to the top rung. Salvation is not acquired in heaven; rather, God sends it to us from heaven. The same is true with victory. We do not have to strive for victory day after day. We do not overcome our sins by possessing an extraordinarily strong will. Just as salvation is received, victory is received. There is no need to do anything by ourselves; all that we have to do is receive. Once we see and receive, we can say, "Lord, I thank and praise You because I have received all in Christ!"
Second Peter 1:4 is a very precious verse: "Through which He has granted to us precious and exceedingly great promises that through these you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world by lust." We do not know how many Christians have noticed the words "having escaped." How wonderful these words are! Many Christians say, "I wish I could escape." But God says, "Having escaped." He does not ask us to escape, nor did He say that He will work to the extent that we can escape. He says, "Having escaped!" Having escaped means that the escaping is done. All that we have to do is receive. This is Isaac.
The meaning of Isaac is that God does the work and we receive the work. We do not crave, pursue, or hope over and over again. Rather, we sit down and reap the fruit. There is no need for us to worry about anything, because we are the sons and we are already "in." Since we are the sons, we are also the heirs and are qualified to inherit the possession of the family. Since we are Isaac, we can enjoy. This is all God’s grace.
(The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Chapter 7, by Watchman Nee)