Doctrine of Salvation in the Old Testament

April 21, 2014






A. Definition and Description.


1. Salvation is instant adjustment to the justice of God through faith in Christ. Jesus Christ bore our sins and the justice of God judged those sins and was satisfied, 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Cor 5:21. When we believe in Christ, the justice of God is free to save us.


2. The Gospel is the information provided whereby we make that instant adjustment to the justice of God.


3. In the Old Testament when you believed, you received the perfect righteousness of God, eternal life, and God the Holy Spirit regenerated you. In the Church Age you receive these things and much more.


4. While Jesus Christ had not yet died on the cross in Old Testament times, His efficacious sacrifice was certain as a part of the divine decrees. This freed the justice of God to save anyone who believed in Old Testament times. On the basis of the decrees anyone in Old Testament times could be saved by believing in Christ by any of the various ways Christ was revealed.



B. The First Statement of the Gospel, Gen 3:15.


1. At the time of man’s fall, the promise of salvation was first given. Man rejected God’s order not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge of good and evil was not necessary for relationship with God. Morality was not an issue, but rather rejection of God’s command.


2. This resulted in instant adjustment to spiritual death. The sin was negative volition, which allowed Satan to become the ruler of the world, and put man under spiritual death. Personal sin caused the existence of the old sin nature, which cancelled out the human spirit, causing man to become dichotomous.


3. We are born sinners because of the imputation of Adam’s sin and the existence of the old sin nature in the cell structure of the body. We are not sinners because we sin, but because we are born. Adam chose for the entire human race that we would be born sinners.


4. We start with the old sin nature and go to personal sin, in contrast to Adam. The solution to Adam’s problem was God becoming the God man.


5. The woman sinned in ignorance, while Adam knew exactly what he was doing, but both are guilty because both used their volition to sin.


6. The virgin birth was essential so that Christ could be born as a man without the genetically formed old sin nature, and therefore without the imputation of Adam’s original sin. Christ lived a sinless life in the prototype divine dynasphere under the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit. Thus being without sin, He was qualified to go to the cross and be judged for our sins.


7. The justice of God found a way to save sinful man, Gen 3:15. Christ is “the seed of the woman.” The “crushing of Satan’s head” is His victory at the Second Advent. The “crushing of Christ’s heel” is His suffering on the cross prior to being judged for our sins.


8. In Gen 3:20 21, man responded to the Gospel.



C. The Pattern of Salvation in the Old Testament, Gen 15:6.


1. The pattern is exactly the same as New Testament salvation.


2. Abraham believed in Christ and God the Father imputed perfect righteousness to him. When we adjust to the justice of God, we receive God’s perfect righteousness. You cannot improve God’s perfect righteousness, compromise it, or destroy it. All believers have it.


3. Rom 4:1 5 and Gal 3:6 teach the same concept as Gen 15:6.


4. The justice of God is not free to save man based on any works or ritual. Arrogant legalists always boast about how great they are. The more you work for salvation, the farther away you get.


5. The pattern for salvation adjustment to the justice of God has always been the same: faith in Jesus Christ which frees the justice of God to give instant and eternal salvation.


6. In the Old Testament, the judgment of Jesus Christ on the cross was just as real as it is to us retrospectively.


7. No matter how Christ was revealed in the Old Testament, the non  meritorious expression of faith in Christ resulted in eternal salvation.



D. How was the Gospel presented?


1. It was presented directly in theology by direct doctrinal teaching, Isa 53:1, 4 6, 10 12.


a. Verse 4 states directly that Christ carried the guilt of our sin. Christ was judged in His spiritual death, not His physical death.


b. Verse 11 states that justice is satisfied by the judgment of sin in Christ.


2. It was presented in the Levitical offerings.


3. It was presented in the Temple worship.



E. The Levitical offerings reveal the Gospel.


1. This is witnessing by ritual. The ritual is found in three offerings.


a. In Lev 1, the burnt offering was propitiation with emphasis on the work of Christ, indicating that Christ had to bear our sins in order for the justice of God to be free to give us salvation.


b. In Lev 2, the food offering emphasizes the person of Christ propitiating the Father’s justice.


c. In Lev 3, the peace offering represented the work of Christ on the cross which removes the barrier between God and man, thus making it possible for the justice of God to give man eternal life.


2. The remaining offerings in Lev 4 5, the sin offering and the trespass offering, were for sins of cognizance and sins of ignorance. If you feel sorry for sins or “try to make it up to God” through penitence, then the justice of God isn’t free to forgive you. You do not rebound unknown sins when you learn at a later date that what you did was a sin. That is blasphemy, because the justice of God is fair and forgives unknown sins when you acknowledge your known sins.



F. The Tabernacle reveals the Gospel, Rom 3:24 26.


1. “Receiving justification gratuitously by His grace through the redemption of the one who is in Christ Jesus, Whom God has predetermined the mercy seat [the place of propitiation], through faith by means of His blood, for a demonstration of His justice, because of the passing over of the previously committed sins by the clemency of God.”


2. Christ is the mercy seat. Sin is inside the mercy seat. The righteousness and justice of God see the blood on the mercy seat, which represents the work of Christ on the cross, and are satisfied.


3. Judgment was delayed on all sins until the cross. This was true for all sins past, present and future.


4. Verse 26 teaches that God must be just and the justifier, so that God is not compromised when He saves and blesses man.



G. Positive volition existed in Old Testament times.


1. Ex 33:7, “Everyone who sought the Lord.”


2. Isa 55:6, “Seek the Lord while He may be found.”


3. Where positive volition exists, there must be salvation available. God is fair and just, therefore He provides the information necessary to be saved wherever positive volition exists.



H. Job gave testimony to the salvation principle of the Old Testament, Job 19:23 27.



I. Gentiles responded to the Gospel in Old Testament times.


1. The Assyrians responded to the Gospel, Mt 12:41; Lk 11:32.


2. Jonah’s revival, Jonah 3.


3. Nebuchadnezzar was a believer, Dan 4:30 37.