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