A common misconception about the Old and New Testament is the issue of works vs. faith. Many look at the OT Law and see that the Jews must have been justified by their works. However since nobody could truly live fully by the Law, Jesus eventually came to pay the price so we would then be justified by our faith in Christ. This thought is some what accurate but with a significant flaw. Even before the Law, justification was still through faith.
Abraham is known as the Father of our Faith and his story was well before the Law. Paul explains this well in his letter to the Romans. “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”” (Rom 4:2-3)
It was Abraham’s faith in God that justified him and counted him as righteous. He then lived out his faith, doing good works and demonstrating the Love that God had for him. Yes, the Law did come in the Old Testament and was used over and over again to demonstrate that even God’s chosen people were incapable of living up to ten simple laws.
This is to show that the idea of salvation by faith is not a new one to the New Testament, nor is it a new concept that was brought by Jesus. Faith was the ONLY way we were saved… even from the beginning of time. Even with Noah, his favor began with faith rather than works. His father Lamech new he lived in a cursed world and named his son Noah out of faith that “this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” (Gen 5:29b)
Then despite the fact that “all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Gen 6:12b), God still said “I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” (Gen 6:18)
Faith has been the only requirement from day one. Faith has been the bond in every covenant God has made with us. Although He has remained faithful, we have continually broken that covenant of faith. God has refreshed the covenant repeated despite our infidelity with Him. First with Noah, then through Moses, again with Jeremiah. Each time His covenant was through a chosen man… it eventually failed. So eventually He brings us His covenant again for the last time… however, this time he does it through His Son.
The covenant through His Son can never be broken, and only by faith through Him are we saved.
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