Salvation In The Old Testament
An oft-repeated charge against a dispensationalist (clear distinction between God’s program for Israel and for the church) is they teach more than one way of salvation. This accusation is false and it is vitally important that we understand how Old Testament saints were saved.
Today, every person who is saved is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This is a central doctrine throughout Scripture.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
How can someone who lives prior to the death of Christ be saved? Faith in God is the key ingredient for salvation. The New Testament believer has more of God’s revelation than the Old Testament believer. However, it’s not the extent of revelation that saves a person but rather the exercise of faith.
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Notice that the Bible makes it clear that Abraham’s salvation was based on his faith. The content of the Old Testament believer’s faith differed based on how much revelation was given to them.
An important element of Soteriology (the study of salvation) is to understand the different components of salvation.
The “basis” of salvation in every age is the death of Christ. Salvation at all times is made possible through the sacrifice of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4, Hebrews 9:26)
The “requirement” of salvation in every age is faith. (Hebrews 11)
The “object” of faith is God. (John 5:24)
The “content” of faith changes in the various dispensations. The Bible makes it clear that during the church age the content of the Christian’s faith is Christ’s death on the cross. Scholars disagree when it comes to defining the content of faith during Old Testament times.
The “expression” of faith changes in the various dispensations. During the administration of the Mosaic Law, the sacrifices expressed one’s faith whereas the Law of Christ is our expression for today.
Salvation in the Old Testament was not totally different than salvation in the New Testament. The basis and requirement of salvation along with the object of faith has been the same for all ages.