Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The study seeks to learn how Abraham was saved. If we determine the answer to this question, we will know precisely how we may be saved.

“What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’” [1]

If you have walked in the Faith for very long, you will have been challenged by some dear soul who does not believe the truths of Christ the Lord. Such benighted souls appear to delight in asking what they imagine to be unanswerable questions. Among such supposedly difficult questions they delight to pose are gems such as these:

• “Where did Cain get his wife?”

• “If God is good and all-powerful, how come there is evil in the world?”

• “What about the innocent pagans who never had a chance to hear the gospel?”

Because the questions are asked so frequently, it is difficult to take them seriously. However, occasionally such questions do provide opportunity to explore great theology, if the questioner is serious about such pursuits. Among these old saws that outsiders imagine unanswerable is one that we will consider today: “How were people saved before the death of Christ the Lord?”

The question is important, presupposing as it does, the necessity of the death of Christ. Christians should recognise as well that the question is important because it points to the importance of making the Good News of Christ’s sacrificial death known to those who are lost. Finally, the question is important because whether the questioner understands the issue or not, the question acknowledges the need to believe Jesus the Son of God. Whether intentional or not, the questioner tacitly confesses, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God]” [HEBREWS 11:6]. Moreover, the question presupposes the accuracy of the biblical account. Otherwise, there is no possibility of answering the question.

Pause for a moment to absorb the point that was just made. To ask the question, “How were people saved before the death of Christ the Lord?” presupposes that an answer is possible. Since the question relates to an activity God initiates and controls, God alone can provide an answer. In order to discover the answer to the question, we must either have private access to the mind of God, in which case we are at the least equal to God, or we must rely upon that information which God has revealed through His Word. We must accept that the Bible is what it purports to be, or we must appeal to some other writing that qualifies as “the Word of God.”

Let me take a brief moment to address the facts that point to the veracity and authenticity of the Bible as the very Word of God. The accuracy of the Bible speaks of the divine origin. The Book of Mormon has never guided an archaeological dig—not one! The same can be said of the Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. The Quran is unreliable as a source of historically verifiable information; no reputable archaeologist would think to consult the Quran as a reliable guide to ancient events. The same deficit attends the Bhagavad Gita, the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Tao Te Ching, the weird writings of Ellen White, Dianetics, the Divine Principle of the Unification Church, the Guru Granth Sahib or the Avesta Collection. Though these writings are deemed sacred by their several devotees, they fail the test of accuracy.

Prophecy points to the accuracy of the Bible as the Word of the True and Living God. At the time of writing, over two-thirds of the Bible was prophecy. Time and again the matters of which God’s prophets spoke came to pass. It has been said that in the birth and death of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach over seventy specific prophecies were fulfilled. Moreover, the prophets had an amazing track record. This is as stated through Moses, who wrote: “The prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’ —when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him” [DEUTERONOMY 18:20-22]. Nearly three quarters of the prophecies that are recorded in the Word have come to pass. Those which are unfilled all point to the fulfillment of days as this present age draws to a close.

And what of these other writings presented as sacred? Have they proven trustworthy when purporting to speak prophetically? Do they not fall under the condemnation of the Word? “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” [DEUTERONOMY 13:1-3].

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