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Object of saving faith in the OT

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by aefting, May 3, 2004.

  1. aefting

    aefting New Member

    Sep 17, 2002
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    I am starting a new thread so that I don't derail the original discussion in the "Why does dispensationalism teach...." thread.

    I am in agreement with this. My assertion, though, is that the direct meaning of the three NT passages that I quoted (Acts 10:43, Romans 3:21-22, Luke 24:44-47) supports my claim that OT believers put their faith in Christ for their salvation. In these passages, Peter, Paul, and Jesus are not applying an OT passage, they are teaching the continuity of God’s plan of redemption.

    To a certain degree I agree that I am using logic to deduce that Abel’s faith consisted in his believing God’s promise of a coming Messianic seed; however, I believe I have a Biblical basis to do so due to the fact that Paul in Romans 4 sets up Abraham as the universal example of justification by faith alone, “the father of all who believe,” whether Jew or Gentile.

    Earlier in that chapter, Paul says that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. The next few verses (4:4-5) explain that this is a universal principle for those who trust Him who justifies the ungodly. If that was all we had, then I might think that justification in the OT depends only upon some generic belief in God. But we have Paul in Gal. 3:8 indicating that Abraham’s faith consisted in believing the gospel -- the further revealed Messianic seed promise (cf., Gen. 12:3, Gen. 22:18).

    So, the text may not explicitly state that Abel believed in the seed promise of Gen. 3:15 and it was counted to him for righteousness, but the Bible does say that that type of faith is what saved Abraham and the faith of Abraham is what the Bible uses to teach timeless (and I would say, cross-dispensational) truth concerning saving faith.

    The specific details changed because God progressively reveled more about the promised Messianic seed but the object is always the same, IMO.

    I expected that you would reject that comparison. I would agree that the sacrifices were an evidence of faith but I have a hard time with “sacrifices were not just for salvation.” You’re not suggesting that they were sacramental in nature? – I don’t think you would say that. I really don’t see the sacrifices as having anything to do with an OT person’s justification. In a previous post you said that you believed what you did because that is what the Scriptures teach. Where does the Bible teach that one will be saved if they believe that "If you offer these sacrifices, your sins will be forgiven?" All the OT verses that I have found seem to promise something along the lines of 1 John 1:9, not initial salvation.

    Sure, but I think we would both agree that right knowledge alone does not save. God must illuminate the heart with His truth before one can exercise saving faith.

  2. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert New Member

    Jul 6, 2001
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    I feel I fall somewhere in between these two positions. I feel the problem is that we reduced believing in Christ or into Christ as mental assent to certain facts. Namely, his death, burial, and ressurection. We have attempted to move our faith in the gospel so far from any "works righteousness" that we even removed actually trusting in God to do something. This has spawned a whole generation of "Christians" who at least say they believe these things, but obviously do not repent or turn to serve a living God, actually beliving that God can and will deliver from sin and trusting that God is more worthwhile then the things of this world. This I believe, is the root of the Lordship salvation debate. It may appear from my words that I am somehow trying to advocate some sort of nessisary obedience. I am not. I just believe it is a non-biblical distinction that seperates the kind of faith that saves you and the kind of faith that believes God and therefor does what he says.

    Sorry, long tanget. How does this relate to OT? I think the contiuum is that believers in the OT had this same kind of saving faith that we do, trust God, however little we actually trust, to do what he says. And being that we are in a sinfil state, the baseline of that trust is always trusting in God as savior and deliver, and trusting that God will forgive you. That I believe is the purpose of the OT sacrifices and the bases of the law, for us to trust God for forgivness. God offers this forgiveness as the basis of us being able to continue in his presence. I don't believe (contra most of Christomdom) that the law was a law of works that offered no grace. Indeed the basis of the law was grace, that God would forgive (via the sacrifices, though ultimatly that forgiveness was only made possible by the death of Christ retroactivly applied). The problem with the law was not that it was a law of works that was contrary to God's real salvation, but that unregenerated hearts could not keep the law because they did not trust God at all. God offered forgivness and they spurned it. When God prophezed (sp) the new covenant, His new plan wasn't going to change the law (from works to grace) but CHANGE THE PEOPLE, from hearts of stone to circumsized hearts, with the law written on their hearts that they do keep. Keeping that law is simply trusting God to provide and deliever, the thing Adam should have done, the thing Abraham did do, the thing the people of Israel collectivly did not do (yet the remnent did), and the thing that all members of the New Covenant do.

    So what did Abraham believe. Well I agree with Pastor Larry that he might not have believed in the coming Christ spelled out in a way that is parrallel to ours (though he could have, I'm just agree with Larry that the text does not warrent this). But I agree with aefting that this saving faith was the same as ours, under the same program of salvation history, to trust in God to save and provide(which finnally honors God as God). It is only natural that this trust in God to save (who promised He would save, over and over) would blosom to trust in Christ to save us (since this was progessivly revealed as God's plan). This trust is and was displayed in the actions of God's people. There is no mention of any OT faith in the NT that is mere agreement with facts, but Abraham believed God would raise Issac from the dead (and therefor would sacrifice him), Rahab believed God was the true God who would deliever His people Isreal (and therefor gave lodgeing to the spies), Moses believed the heavenly city was greater then the fleeting pleasures of sin (and therefor rejected being in Pharohs household). They all trusted God like I trust this chair to hold me up and therefor I sat down!
  3. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    May 14, 2001
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    My take:

    OT faith was in the coming Redeemer, in fact the knowledge of the Redeemer predates the Law:

    Job 19:25
    For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

    They awaited the Promise in faith, we see the fulfillment of that promise by faith.

  4. Dave Taylor

    Dave Taylor New Member

    Feb 9, 2004
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    Abraham believed in Christ.
    Abraham's salvation was no different than yours.
    Through Christ alone.

    Abraham new Christ.
    James 2:23 "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God"

    Abraham met with Christ.
    John 8:56 Jesus said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."

    Hebrews 6:20 "Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace"

    Acts 7:2 "And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia"

    Abraham received the gospel.
    Galatians 3:8 "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham"

    Christ's Spirit was in Abraham.
    I Peter 1:9 "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. "
  5. wopik

    wopik New Member

    Nov 5, 2002
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    Moses knew Christ - Hebrews 11: 24-28

    Through faith, Moses kept the Passover - Heb. 11:28.
  6. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator

    Jun 30, 2000
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    Repentance and faith are the constant in OT and NT alike. Thankfully, both are the gift of God to His own.

    Appreciate the good scriptures submitted.