How were people saved before the giving of the law?

The law exposed our sinful nature. Therefore before the law was given were people considered innocent and therefore saved?

Clarify Share Report Asked February 13 2017 Mini ainsley chalmers

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Paul says in Romans that, from the beginning, people have been justified by faith, rather than by anything that they did. Prior to Christ's death and resurrection they were saved by faith in God's promise of a Messiah, which was made as soon as humanity first fell into sin (Genesis 3:15). 

As Paul discusses in Romans 3-4, "[I]n His [God's] divine forbearance, He had passed over former sins...to prove at the present time that He Himself is righteous, and that He justifies him who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:25-26)

God did institute a system of blood sacrifice in the Old Testament for the forgiveness of sin, but this was merely a foreshadowing of Christ's full and final sacrifice. It was not the sacrifices that saved people, but their faith in God and in His promise of the Messiah. 

In Romans 1:17, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 to show that, even under the Old Testament sacrificial system, it was faith that saved people. He also cites examples such as Abraham, who (as Genesis 15:6 records, and as cited by Paul in Romans 4:3) "believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness" (even prior to the sacrificial system in the Law).

February 15 2017 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Danny Hickman Supporter Believer in The Gospel Of Jesus Christ
Before the giving of the law people were saved the same as after the giving of the law. There is no ambiguity in scripture of how we are gifted with eternal life. Eternal life is a gift; Questions like this one keeps the notion alive that the law plays a role in the act of salvation. It doesn't! It was never even talked about in that way.

For by grace (God favored you because of His goodness) you have been saved (you're still living in sinful flesh, so you're still breaking God's law, but you already have eternal life) through faith (the evidence a believer has that doesn't include any proof of what the believer believes; s/he believes God because of the gospel of Jesus Christ). (Ephesians 2:8) 

For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That's why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring --- not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations," (that's the part that bothers some of Abraham's blood descendants) --- in the presence of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist (Romans 4:14-17). 

There's a lot to unpack in that; Paul is saying that if God's promises (He means any promise that God made to us, and they were all given through Abraham) were contingent upon keeping the law, the promises that God made to Abraham wouldn't be obtained by faith, (believing God because God said it) so that would void the promise. It would also disqualify those of us who weren't given the law; we'd have no way of obtaining any promises God made to Abraham and his seed if we had no way of being "grafted" into Abraham's family. As it is by faith, we are "adopted" and have become heirs in Abraham's family by believing what Abraham believed. The promises God made to Abraham are only to him and his offspring. His blood descendants are his offspring in the natural order of the world. But the promises of God aren't natural. God gives life where there is no life (to the dead) and speaks things into existence; things that don't exist in the natural. 

I like the way Peter explains our gift of eternal life. He writes in his first letter to the church: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the ressurection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (God the Father caused it Himself, it's all His doing. He raised Jesus from the dead. That's the power of our new life in the risen Christ) to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (First Peter 1:3-5). 

Why do some of us believe that salvation can be lost? Because some of us believe it is given or obtained in connection with the keeping of the law, or some variation that I don't know all the parts to... 
Peter says our gift is "kept in heaven," says it's "imperishable," which means it can't be destroyed. It can't be defiled (polluted, made dirty or unclean in some way). It doesn't even fade with having been there for so many years. It hasn't lost its brightness or its strength, which would indicate that it might be gradually dying. He says it's "unfading." It's just as fresh today as it was on day one of being deposited there in heaven, where Peter says it's being guarded by God.

How can anyone disregard such a vivid picture being drawn here by one of Jesus' closest friends? He wrote that to settle our minds about our future lives. I'm glad the Spirit has taught me the truth of this. I know that's why I believe it. Jesus said the Helper (Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

June 11 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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