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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « Prayer, Passion, and the Sovereignty of God in Salvation | Main | How Should Christians Respond to the Changes in Culture? »

    How Did God Save During the Old Testament Period?

    The New Testament declares that the gospel was preached to Abraham beforehand (Galatians 3:8). And Jesus said of this ‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.’ (John 8:56) How were the people of the OT saved? By works? By Animal sacrifice? (Heb 10:4) No. They were saved by Christ and Christ alone (see Heb 9:15). The gospel they knew was a shadow but they were still saved by the blood of Christ. There is no other way of salvation except by "the lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8)

    Submission to the Levitical sacrifice under the old administration was a yielding of God's way of salvation in the OT. The regenerate Jews realized that these were but types of the reality that was to come. The fact that the Jews apprehension of this was incomplete is irrelevant. As for people such as Cornelius and Lydia who are said to be God fearing, worshipers of God, why was the gospel preached to them if they were already saved? The good news was preached to those in the transition period (the book of Acts) so that those who already knew Christ in shadows would now know the fulness of revelation. (See Romans 4:17–24 & Galatians 3:6–29) The only alternative would be to keep the fulness of the good news from them, which would be problematic. Enlightened saints in the transition period were waiting for the Christ and wanted to behold him (Luke 2:26).

    Posted by John on June 27, 2013 09:22 PM

    Comments

    Can you explain how the believing Jews of the OT were regenerated prior to the Ezekiel 36 promise?

    Piper has a helpful sermon here on the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament:
    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/how-believers-experienced-the-spirit-before-pentecost

    Josh,
    This was a promise made to the God's people at the time of Moses:

    Deuteronomy 30:6 “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your [a]descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

    Most dispensationalists believe the Holy Spirit did not indwell OT believers rather God circumcised their hearts but the Spirit did not indwell. Where do you find scriptures to support indwelling of believers in the OT?

    Matt

    I never claimed such evidence in this post. Heart circumcision as noted in Deut 30:6, corresponds to regeneration.

    John

    i really have some doubts about this claim , my brother , and it is not irrelevant the fact that tehy has shadows in the theological sistem they held , revelation has been a progresive thing , and in the mind of a jew the attonement God had ordained and provided for them was the blood of the animals , and also i do not think they had such a view about the coming meshia at that point , i belevive based on leviticus 16 and 17 thta the faith has always been the determining fact in salvation , but on to what it was the object.

    also i believe that the new testament verses such as the ones in Hebrews are just a good explanation on why did Christ die for us , even when he was not able to due to his priesthood , and of course shows us againg the fact that revelation was a progressive thing and they did not have such a view a bout the sacrifices made on the day of attonement.

    Hebrew children in the Old Testament were born into God's covenant, both male and female. Circumcision was the sign of this covenant for boys, but the sign was not what saved them. Faith saved them. Rejecting the sign, circumcision, for boys, either by the parents or later as an adult himself, was a sign of a lack of true faith, and therefore the child was "cut off" from God's promises as clearly stated in Genesis chapter 17:

    "Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

    What was the purpose of this covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? God tells us in the beginning of this chapter of Genesis:

    "And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you."

    This covenant wasn't just to establish a Jewish national identity or a promise of the inheritance of the land of Caanan, as some evangelicals want you to believe. In this covenant, God promises to be their God. Does God say here that he will be their God only if they make a "decision for God" when they are old enough to have the intelligence and maturity to decide for themselves? No! They are born into the covenant!

    If Jewish children grew up trusting in God and lived by faith, they then received eternal life when they died. If when they grew up, they rejected God, turned their back on God, and lived a life of willful sin, when they died, they suffered eternal damnation. Salvation was theirs to LOSE. There is no record anywhere in the Bible that Jewish children were required to make a one time "decision for God" upon reaching an "Age of Accountability" in order to be saved.

    Therefore Jewish infants who died, even before circumcision, were saved.

    The same is true today. Christian children are born into the covenant. They are saved by faith. It is not the act of baptism that saves, it is faith. The refusal to be baptized is a sign of a lack of true faith and may result in the child being "cut off" from God's promise of eternal life, to suffer eternal damnation, as happened with the unfaithful Hebrew in the OT.

    Christ said, "He that believes and is baptized will be saved, but he that does not believe will be damned."

    It is not the lack of baptism that damns, it is the lack of faith that damns.

    Gary
    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals
    An orthodox Lutheran blog

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