Is it true that in the Old Testament people were saved by keeping the law while in the New Testament, salvation is by grace?
In both the Old and New Testaments, salvation is by grace through faith. God does not have two methods of salvation. Titus 2:11 affirms, "For the grace of God which bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men." In the Old Testament men and women were saved by the Christ that was to come. Each lamb sacrificed pointed forward to the coming of the Messiah (Gen. 3:21, Gen. 22:9-13).
In the New Testament, men and women are saved by the Christ who has come. In one instance faith looked forward to the cross; in the other instance faith looked backward to the cross. Jesus is the only means of salvation (Acts 4:12).
Since we are under the New Covenant, is it really necessary to keep God's law?
The New Covenant is actually older than the Old Covenant. It was given by God Himself in the Garden of Eden when He promised that the Messiah would come to break the deadly hold of Satan upon the human race. The New Covenant contains the promise of redemption from sin through Jesus Christ. He saves us! He writes the principles of the law in our hearts.
Love becomes the motivation for obedience. There is a new power in the life (Heb. 8:10, Ezek. 36:26, Ps. 40:8). Under the Old Covenant, Israel promised to obey God's commandments in their own strength. They declared, "all that God says we will do" (Ex. 19:8; 24:3, 7).
All attempts at external conformity to God's law leads to frustrated defeat. The law which we cannot keep in our own strength condemns us (Rom. 3:23, 6:23). Under the New Covenant, we belong to a new master, Jesus Christ. We have a new heart and new standing before God (Jn. 1:12, 2 Cor. 5:17, Rom. 8:1)
Didn't Jesus come to do away with the Ten Commandments and establish a new commandment of love? What about Matt. 22:37-40, "Love God with all your heart and your neighbors as yourself?" Isn't love to God and our neighbors all Jesus requires? These are the
It may surprise you to discover that Jesus was summarizing the law as given in the Old Testament. Deut. 6:5 declares "Love the Lord your God with all your heart." Lev. 19:18 adds, "Love your neighbor as yourself." The God of the Old Testament was a God of everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). In Matt. 22:40, Jesus declared, "On these two commands (love to God and fellow man) hang all the laws and the prophets.”
The first four commandments reveal how human beings tangibly demonstrate their love to their God. The last six commandments show how they demonstrate their love to their fellow man. "Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it" (Matt. 5:17). He revealed how to lovingly keep the law. He came to magnify the meaning of the law (Isa. 42:21). Jesus reveals how love is the fulfilling of the law (Rom. 13:10). He adds "If you love me, keep my commandments" (Jn. 14:15).
Does Paul teach that Christians saved by faith do not have to keep the law?
Paul teaches that Christians are saved not by faith, but by grace through faith. Faith is the hand that takes the salvation freely offered by Jesus. Faith does not lead to disobedience but to obedience. Paul states in no uncertain terms "Do we then make void the law through faith, God forbid (Rom. 3:31). Rom. 6:1, 14, 15 adds, "Shall we sin (break the law) so grace may abound. God forbid!"