How Were People Saved in the Old Testament?

First and foremost, the Bible teaches that salvation is always…

– Offered by the grace of God
– Based on the atoning death of Jesus Christ
– Received by the exercise of faith
– Applied by the work of the Holy Spirit

Until the time of Christ, the object of faith was God (cf. Gen 15:6 “And Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness”). Once Jesus Christ had been crucified and raised from the dead, Paul declared:

“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”—Acts 17:30-31

This transition is consistent with the theological truth revealed in the book of Romans:

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”—Romans 3:21-26

God has progressively revealed his gracious rescue plan to the nations over several millennia. But the focal point of this plan has always been the person and work of Jesus Christ.

*In case you missed it, you might be interested in the related post – “What about those who have never heard about Jesus?”

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