What was the Old Testament way of salvation?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Jonathan95, Aug 7, 2017.

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  1. Jonathan95

    Jonathan95 Puritan Board Freshman

    We know that, in the New Testament era, salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way but, before Christ, what was the way?
    We definitely can't say the Jews were saved by the law.
    I usually go about arguing the position looking at Paul's quote of Habakkuk in Galatians:

    Gal 3:11
    "Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    Hab 2:4
    “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
    but the righteous shall live by his faith."

    Along with Romans and Genesis with respect to Abraham's salvation:

    Rom 4:22
    "And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."

    Gen 15:6
    "And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness."

    So it seems simple to me. God is the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. He's not the God of the dead, but the living. (Mark 12:27)

    They are not dead, but alive in Christ.We have inspired books by Solomon, Ruth, Joshua, etc. It seems pretty simple to me that these people were also saved, not due to works of their own, but by faith in the Godhead.

    My question is, therefore:

    Is this defense lacking? Is it a faulty argument?

    Doesn't a person HAVE to put their faith in the Christ, Jesus.
    Doesn't a person have to know Him, and have a relationship with Him, to be saved?

    Should the original argument I've shown up top be enough to fully convince a person of how God accomplishes the salvation of His people? Are they saved based simply on having faith in the promised "Seed" of Eve as the coming Messiah WITHOUT having to actually know who He would turn out to be and what He would teach about Himself and His Divinity?
    Or has my logic contradicted itself in some way?

    Any answers, questions, comments, and concerns would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Salvation in Old Testament times too was by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.

    The difference is that Old Testament believers looked forward in faith to the Savior who was yet to come. They had promises and prophesies, and the Temple rites, pointing them to Christ. These shadows of the Savior to come did not allow them to see Jesus as fully as we know him today, but they were about Jesus nevertheless. This means they were sufficient to save, for that time.

    We can all be glad that salvation does not come by how fully we know our Savior or the fullness of our faith relationship, but rather by the object of faith—and Jesus was the object of faith already in Old Testament times even though knowledge of him was administered through promises, shadows, and types. His saving work is applied to all who have believed in him at any time, including those who lived before he arrived and had a preview version of knowing him compared to what we have today.

    The Westminster Confession of Faith has the definitive statement on this question, in the last sections of Chapter 7.
  3. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The means of salvation under either OC/NC was the Cross of Christ, and by trusting in Him to save you.
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