Old Testament Salvation

So, what about those folks of the Old Testament?

I have heard so many grace teachers say that the people of the OT were under law and that their salvation was based on their performance.  No!  No!  No!  It was grace from the beginning!

The topic of salvation is a large one and I can only share what I think, not as much support as I would like.  But I will say strongly that I believe salvation was based on faith in the Savior, not on the system of sacrifices or on keeping the law.  If we look at just a couple of things, you will see what I mean.

First, the animal sacrifices never saved anyone or solved anything.  All they did was point to the coming sacrifice and cover the sins of the people in the meantime.  God made a point of the need for covering from the very beginning of sin.  Animals died to provide coverings for Adam and Eve.  But their sins were not washed away by the blood of animals.

Nor did keeping the law ever save anyone.  First, no one actually did it perfectly.  Paul says that breaking one commandment makes a person guilty of breaking all.  In other words, one sin is as bad as many.  So keeping the law was out of the equation.

So, how were the people of the OT saved?  By grace through faith!  Abraham’s faith, Paul says, was counted as righteousness.  He looked to the Lord for his provision.  They looked forward to the cross just as we look back on it.

David understood this.  He said,

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Psalm 40:6


Instead, David notes, the sacrifice acceptable is the broken life that looks to the Savior.

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart– These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17


And who is the Savior?  The Lord is our only Savior!  This is why it is so important to us that we proclaim Jesus as God.  God Himself became the sacrifice for us.  Mystery?  Sure!  But it is absolutely true!

Isaiah understood.  He shared the words of God.

I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior. Isaiah 43:11


There is no savior besides the Lord.  So He was the Savior of the people of Israel and He is our Savior.  We understand that the Lord came to us in the Person of the Son, but that understanding changes nothing.  We may have more information than the folks of the OT, the benefit of hindsight, but there is one way of salvation.

Paul made it very clear:

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Hebrews 10:4


One sacrifice—His.  One Savior—Jesus.


Filed under grace, Grace definition, Theology and mystery

2 responses to “Old Testament Salvation

  1. some say, It was through the sacrifices that the Jews were saved
    some say, it was through their obedience in the law

    but I honestly believe,
    the sacrifices pointed to Jesus. everything in the temple, the lamb, the menora, the blood, the lampstand.. all of them points to Christ
    the Law points to Christ

    everything in the old times were about Jesus. so those who believes on those shadows were saved because of the one to come, Christ.

    think of a Credit Card.. it was as if the Jews were using Credit Card. they dont have the substance or real money, but only a type of payment. the real payment comes at the end of the month when you use real cash to pay for your credit card bills.

    so in the same manner, in the past when the Jews believed in the one to come (Jesus the one who will pay all their debts) God passover their sins because Christ is going to pay all debts in the future anyway. that of course if they believe in the types.

    “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” – Romans 3:25

    if God forgave their sins in the past, God would have been unrighteous. because the true forgiveness is in the Christ, in the shedding of Christ blood. It only shows God is serious about sin, serious in a way that He wants the sinner justified. and we are justified in Christ by faith!

    great post…..

    – grace and peace

  2. AlanG

    Great post indeed.

    For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
    How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
    And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
    – Hebrews 9: 13-15 (KJV)

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