How did “pre-cross” salvation work?

Question:  I have some questions on pre-cross salvation. I understand that it’s always been by grace through faith; and that it’s merely the content of faith that has changed over time. However, I would like to know if Old Testament believers were born again, and if they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit like we are. Also church age believers are members of Christ body – he is their head – they are new creations and as such they are no longer in Adam. How did all of these positional truths affect Old Testament believers? Where do they stand in relation to church age saints?

How could they be saved by Christ – be in him in terms of new creature-hood, but at the same time not be members of the church, which didn’t start till Pentecost? I’ve been trying to work all of this out for some time now and I still don’t understand it.


Answer:  Remember that God is not bound by time.  He sees “everything in the present,” as it were.  This is a major concept in helping to understand “pre-Cross” salvation.  2 Timothy 2:9 says that He “saved us,…according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

Old Testament believers were born again.  Remember, the Lord said to “pre-Cross” Nicodemus in John 3 that he had to be born again.  But O.T. believers did not have the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit to empower the new life, as do N.T. believers.

Hebrews 12:23 indicates that there is still a recognized distinction between O.T. believers (“just men made perfect”) and the Church, which is the Bride of Christ.  I believe that this distinction will be recognized forever.

Listen also to the first part of Lecture 9A of Hermeneutics:

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