Old Testament Salvation

Old Testament Salvation

By Pastor Steven L Anderson

September 20, 2010


Many people are confused about how people were saved in the Old Testament. Most of the confusion comes from dispensationalists, who teach that we are living in “the age of grace” or “the dispensation of grace,” and that the people living in the Old Testament were saved by their works or adherence to the law. Others teach that people in the Old Testament had to perform animal sacrifices in order to be saved. These teachings are simply not true. Everyone who has ever been saved has always been saved by grace through faith without works, just as we are today.

The doctrine of salvation by faith alone was taught by every Old Testament prophet:

Acts 10:43  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

In reading the Old Testament, we see many examples of people being saved just as we are today. For example, the book of Romans tells us that we are saved by simply believing on the Lord Jesus and calling upon him for salvation:

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Notice these scriptures from the book of Genesis:

Genesis 4:26  And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

Genesis 12:8  And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. (Abraham)

Genesis 15:6  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Abraham)


According to Genesis 12, Abraham called upon the name of the LORD. God makes it clear in Romans 4 that Abraham was justified by his faith, and not by his works.

Romans 4:1  What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

Romans 4:2  For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Romans 4:3  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Romans 4:4  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Romans 4:5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.


David was saved the same way centuries later, long after the law of Moses given:

Romans 4:5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 4:6  Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

Romans 4:7  Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Romans 4:8  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Righteousness was imputed unto Abraham and David by faith alone without works. Later in the chapter, God tells us that we are saved the same way that both Abraham and David were saved:

Romans 4:23  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

Romans 4:24  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Galatians 3 teaches the exact same doctrine concerning Abraham’s salvation:

Galatians 3:6  Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Galatians 3:7  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

Galatians 3:8  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Galatians 3:9  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Galatians 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 3:11  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

The Bible also clearly records that David called upon the name of the Lord in order to be saved:

Psalm 116:10  I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:

Psalm 116:13  I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

The Bible tells us again that we are saved the same way that David was:

2 Corinthians 4:13  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

2 Corinthians 4:14  Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.


We are not living today in a special “age of grace” or “dispensation of grace.” The age of grace began in the book of Genesis! When Abel died and went to Heaven, he went to Heaven because of God’s grace. He did not deserve to go Heaven, just as we do not deserve to go to Heaven. Everyone who has ever gone to Heaven has gone by grace.

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” – Genesis 6:8

Do not be deceived by those who teach a works-based salvation. Man has never been saved by his own works and never will be saved by his own works.

Many will ask the question, “What name did they call upon to be saved in the Old Testament since they did not yet know the name of Jesus?”

First of all, what name did Abraham call upon?

Exodus 6:3  And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

Abraham called upon the name of “God Almighty.” David called upon the name of “the LORD” or “Jehovah.” We call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The common denominator is that we all call upon the name of the same person by faith in order to be saved. God Almighty = Jehovah = Jesus Christ who was God in the flesh.

Isaiah 45:22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Now that Jesus Christ has been revealed in the flesh, no one can be saved without acknowledging the fact that he is the only saviour, and without believing in his death, burial, and resurrection:

1 John 2:23  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

John 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 20:31  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

1John 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Act 4:10  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

We know much more than the Old Testament saints knew since we are living after Jesus Christ has already come, and since we have the entire completed Bible at our fingertips. However, the method of salvation has not changed. We are saved by calling upon the name of the Lord by faith, just as they were.

Source: http://www.faithfulwordbaptist.org/oldtestament.html

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