The Old and New Testaments Concerning Salvation
The Old and New Testaments are not contradictory concerning salvation. The Old Testament is in essence prophetic of the righteousness to be shown in Christ and received by faith, as recorded in the New Testament. “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43 also 1 Peter 10, 11).
There has been only one way of salvation for people throughout the ages, and that is through faith in God. In the Old Testament, people believed in the blood of animal sacrifices (Leviticus 17:11) and in the New Testament, people believed in the blood of Christ that the Old Testament sacrificial system pointed forward to ( Hebrews 10:1-10).
Believers in the Old Testament looked forward to Christ ministry. Adam believed God’s promise of salvation that the seed of the woman would conquer Satan (Genesis 3:15). Abraham continued in that faith and “believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).
And today, we look backward believing that Christ has already taken care of our sins. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).
Believers, in the New Testament, have more understanding of God than the people living before the resurrection of Christ. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Therefore, our response today should be to accept His love without delay and walk in His holy path through His enabling grace. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Salvation Through Faith
In both the Old and New Testaments, people receive God’s free gift of salvation by faith which is the only requirement for salvation, “The one who believes has eternal life” (John 6:47; 5:24). God did all the work and it is up to man to accept it. It is grace on God’s part and faith on man’s part that would bring the transformation of character. Faith accepts God’s free gift of salvation and entrusts God to bring about the fruits of the Spirit in the life of the believer (Philippians 2:13).
The apostle Paul quotes the Old Testament in Habakkuk 2:4, when he writes, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). And throughout the epistle, he repeatedly refers to the Old Testament for affirmation of his teaching that righteousness is by faith (Romans 4; 10:6, 11). The main point of the ceremonial law was to teach that a man could be justified, not by obedience to the moral law, but by faith in the coming Redeemer. Obedience is simply the fruit of faith.
Of himself man cannot bring forth good works (John 15:51). It is necessary for him to be spiritually re-created in Christ before he can produce the good works that God purposes. The Lord gives man a new nature through the daily study of Scriptures and prayer which changes the will, affections, and life of the believer (Matthew 5:14–16).
After accepting God’s love, in order to grow in grace, the believer is to share the good news with the world. Jesus commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20). The goal of Christianity is the salvation of souls (1 Peter 1:9).
In His service,