Thursday, September 21, 2017

How was Abraham Saved in the Old Testament?

“Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6)

A common misconception about salvation for Old Testament believers like Abraham centers on how they were saved.  We know that the New Testament era has brought salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12; Ephesians 2:8-9). But what was the way before Christ died on the cross?

Abraham represents the beginning of the Jewish people. It would be through his family that all people of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). In many ways, Abraham was the first Jew, the earthly father of their nation. But Abraham was not always a God-fearer! God change his Abraham. Abram’s name to  In fact, Abraham was born and raised in Ur of the Chaldees, which is in modern Iraq, near Nasiriyah in the southeastern part of the country. Joshua 24:2 says that Abraham and his father worshiped idols. So Abraham was a gentile, who became a believer, but how did this happen?

Following a struggle with the promise, God gave Abraham over his heir. In Genesis 15, Abraham suggested that God use Eliezer of Damascus. Eliezer was born as a slave in his house. He must have been like a son to him. But this was not God’s plan. God reaffirmed his promise to Abraham, and Genesis 15:6 says, “Abram BELIEVED the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” Salvation came to Abraham the same way it comes to us, by believing the Lord’s promises. Notice the verse does not say:
    “Abram offered burnt offerings to the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.”
    “Abram prayed harder to the Lord, and He credited it….”
    “Abram kept the commands of the Lord, and He credited it…”

The verse reads he BELIEVED! What was required for Old Testaments to be saved? It was salvation through belief in God’s promises. The Hebrew construction translated “Believed” means to place trust in someone with confidence(Exodus 19:9; 1 Sam 27:12). In this verse, Abram’s trust is placed in the Lord, whom he believes will carry out his promise. Genesis 15:6, emphasizes that Abram “entrusted his future to what God would do for him as opposed to what he could do for himself to obtain the promises.”[1] Abraham had continued to believe in the Lord. Abraham received salvation the same way we do, by trusting God and his promises. He was not saved through law-keeping, he was saved through belief in God and believing God’s promises. What about you do you believe and trust God?

[1] K. A. Mathews, Genesis 11:27–50:26, vol. 1B, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005), 166.

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