Monday, April 3, 2017

Is Justification By Faith Alone Consistent With Old Testament Theology?

  • Introduction:
          -Contrary to what some might believe or expect, the Jews were never saved by keeping the Mosaic Law. The performing of animal sacrifices did not resolve the problem of sin for the Jewish people. In other words, the basis of justification before God has always been by the grace of God through trust in Him, even prior to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 55:1 says, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." Justification before God has never been a result of the efforts of man himself.
          -It would be inconsistent to believe that justification during the Old Covenant was on the basis of keeping the Law and that in the New Covenant it is by the grace of God apart from the merit of works. Both Testaments proclaim the message of mankind's universal depravity (1 Kings 8:46; Psalm 14; Romans 3:9-23). If we had to earn a right standing before God by performing good deeds even in part, then no one on earth would be going to heaven because God requires perfect obedience to the Law (Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10). There is no transition of justification by works to grace through faith recorded in the Scriptures.
  • The Example Of Abraham:
          -In Genesis chapters 12 and 15, Abraham believed God according to the promises and new revelation pertaining to the message of the gospel (descendants as numerous as the stars). This man's FAITH was the instrument of his justification before God (Genesis 15:6). But how could Abraham be justified by keeping the Law when he lived approximately 500 years before it was given to the Jews?
  • Abraham And King David In Romans Chapter Four:
          -In his epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul uses Abraham and David as examples of people who were saved by faith in God apart from the merit of works (Romans 4:2-8). We are all justified in the same manner: by the grace of God through faith in His work. It is not by works of righteousness that we have done. Furthermore, Paul quoted Psalm 32:1-2, thereby proving that King David experienced the full forgiveness of sins as do believers under the New Covenant upon repentance.
  • Abraham And Galatians Chapter Three:
          -Galatians chapter three uses Abraham as an example of justification apart from the merit of works. In fact, it says that he was given the gospel (Galatians 3:8-9).
  • The Purpose Of The Mosaic Law Was Never To Save Anyone:
          -Although the Law functioned as the blueprint for Israel, its designated purpose was never to save anyone (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:20). It was to make us conscious of our sinful nature (Galatians 3:22-26; Romans 10:4). The Law points us to Christ. It is a direct reflection of God's divine character. The Law is "weak" because of man's sinful nature (Romans 8:3).
  • What About The Animal Sacrifices Performed In The Old Testament?:
          -The Old Testament sacrificial system never really took away sin. The priests who performed the sacrifices were themselves imperfect beings. The debt of sin could only be paid by Christ (Hebrews 10:10-18). Animal sacrifices were only temporary "coverings" for sin. These multiple sacrifices prefigured the once-for-all sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:1). He is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant.
  • The Gospel And The Old Testament:
          -Right after the fall of Adam and Eve, we see the promise of a coming Savior (Genesis 3:15). In fact, the Old Testament describes this Person in many different ways. Examples would include "Ruler" (Micah 5:2), "Counselor" (Isaiah 9:6), "Suffering Servant" (Isaiah 53), and "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jeremiah 23:6).
          -Old Testament saints knew about the coming of a promised Redeemer (Job 19:25). They were saved in the same way as we are today: by grace through faith in God.
  • Progressive Revelation:
          -This is the teaching that God did not reveal His entire salvation plan to man at one specific point in time. In other words, the clarity concerning God's plan of redemption increased as further divine revelation was penned (Romans 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 2:7-8; Hebrews 1:1-2; 1 Peter 1:10-12; Ephesians 3:1-6). Examples of progressive revelation would include the Trinity and the acceptance of the Gentiles as being a part of the people of God. Both Testaments are equally inspired and important (Psalm 119:89; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). The requirement for salvation has always been trusting in God. Jesus Christ has always been the object of salvation.

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