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Introduction: The Nature of Salvation

from Studies in the Atonement by Dr. Robert A. Morey

Click here to order Studies in the Atonement.o study of the Bible can be complete without dealing with the issue of Old Testament salvation. This is particularly true in a time when dispensationalism has ensnared the hearts of many believers in North America. While there are some aspects of the Darby‑Scofield system which are also shared by more orthodox systems, dispensationalism as a whole fails to "rightly divide the Word" at crucial points. This is particularly true in its view of Old Testament salvation.

While modern modified dispensationalists would not teach that there are as many different plans or kinds of salvation as there are dispensations or ages, the original Scofield Bible taught exactly this doctrine. Thus throughout the United States there are many fundamentalists who believe that the Old Testament saints experienced a different salvation than what we experience today. They derived these teachings from several of Scofield's notes.

Examine the following notes found in the Scofield Bible and it will be beyond dispute that the original Scofield Bible taught that Old Testament saints were saved through obedience to the Law. We are told that they were not saved by grace through faith as we are today.

  1. p. 1002, N.1 on Matt. 6:12, "This is legal ground. cf. Eph. 4:32, which is grace. Under law forgiveness is conditioned upon a like spirit in us; under grace we are forgiven for Christ's sake, and exhorted to forgive because we have been forgiven."

  2. p. 1115, N. 1 on John 1: 17, "(1) Grace is "the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man ... not by works of righteousness which we have done" (Tit. 3:4, 5). It is, therefore, constantly set in contrast to law, under which God demands righteousness from man, as, under grace, He gives righteousness to man ... Law is connected with Moses and works; grace with Christ and faith ... Law demands that blessings be earned; grace is a free gift. (2) As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ.... The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the conditions of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation....

  3. p. 1323, N. 1 on I John 3:7 The righteous man under law became righteous by doing righteously; under grace he does righteously because he has been made righteous...

In the above notes and elsewhere in the Scofield Bible, we are told that Old Testament saints were not saved through faith. Thus we must conclude that the doctrine of Old Testament salvation is a very important issue to which we must address ourselves. The orthodox position needs to be expounded and defended so that pastors and laymen will know that there is an alternative to dispensational teaching.

With this purpose in mind, we will now state the Biblical position: The Old Testament believer experiences and possessed essentially the same salvation which is freely offered to us in the New Testament. There is only one plan of salvation for all sinners of all ages. Different ages or dispensations do not have different kinds of salvation. Salvation is one as to its:

Author:

God alone

Means of Reception:

Faith alone

Basis:

Christ alone

Character:

Grace alone

Essential Content:

The same in all ages

Our Biblical demonstration of the above doctrine will have two parts. In the first section we will set forth certain foundational principles which have direct bearing on our subject. Then, secondly, we will set forth several arguments which support individual parts of our position.

Foundation Principles Salvation Arguments Answering Questions Knowing You Are Saved


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