Summary: This sermon answers the question many people wonder about. It's Part 1.
How Were People Saved Before Christ?
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
3Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
4Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
5Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
8The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
9Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?"
10Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
One of the questions I hear most often is,
“How were people in Old Testament times saved?
They lived many, many years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem
and then died on the cross to pay for our sins.
They never heard about salvation through faith in Jesus.
Some say people were saved by sincerely responding
to what God had revealed to them at that time.
They say that did not include the need to believe in Jesus.
That kind of thinking leads to some problems.
If God saved people back then who did not believe in Jesus,
then God should be willing to do the same today.
Well, if that were true,
then what we read in the New Testament is false.
So today and for another couple of Sundays
we will examine and answer the following question:
”How were people saved before Jesus came?”
I could give you my opinions.
The best way to answer that question
is to allow the Bible to eliminate some suggested answers
and then look for the Bible’s answer,
one step at a time.
Point #1. Old Testament people were not save by any work of righteousness .
Titus 3:5 says not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
In the Old Testament
we read about the people sacrificing animals.
So, did sacrificing animals save them?
Hebrews 10:4 states, For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
In the Old Testament we read about
God giving Moses the 10 Commandments
and many other laws for the Hebrew people to keep.
So did the keeping of the Commandments and the Law save them?
Romans 3:20 says, Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Even though none of the Old Testament people were perfect,
we do read about people who did many good things.
So did their good works save them?
Isaiah 64:6 states, But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
From these Scriptures, we can see that before Jesus came,
Old Testament people were not saved
by offering animal sacrifices, by keeping the law,
or by doing good works.
Point #2. They were saved on the basis of Christ’s death .
Revelation 13:8 says, All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
In God’s mind, the eventual death of Jesus on a cross
was as good as done,
even before the world was created.
Some 800 years before Jesus died on the cross,
Isaiah wrote of His death in the past tense,
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
The word “HIM” in that verse refers to Jesus
Who as a member of the Holy Trinity
was with God the Father before creation.
Romans 3:25 says, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,