Salvation in the Old and New Testaments Essay

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Salvation in the Old and New Testaments

The Old and New Testaments do have a very similar view of the theme of salvation in that is ensured by God through one's faith and righteousness. The connotation is originally defined in the Old Testament, but the theme is extended in the New Testament to illustrate the necessity of Jesus Christ and his ultimate sacrifice to bring salvation to mankind. Still, there are some clear differences within the two works that show the complexity of the evolution of the term as it spread through centuries of Biblical scripture.

Salvation

Similar methods of salvation are shared between the two texts

Salvation through Grace

Jesus Christ as an Extension of the concepts first drawn out in the Old Testament

Differences

Many believe that there are major differences in the connotations of salvation seen in each work

B. Dispensationalism shows how there may be more than one single method of salvation other than just through grace itself

C. Differing semantic meanings of the notion of salvation

D. Importance of the covenant in the Old Testament

E. Jesus Christ as necessary for salvation in the New Testament

IV. Conclusion

Tracing the Theme of Salvation through the Old and New Testaments: Similarities and Differences

Salvation is at the very heart of Judaism and Christianity, but how do these two major religious traditions define the concept? A detailed analysis of elements of the two Testaments does illustrate both common similarities as well as clear differences based on an evolving notion of salvation complicated by the presence of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. This shows the complex development of the notion from the Jewish connotation to the one found within the Christian scripture. The Old and New Testaments do have a very similar view of the theme of salvation in that is ensured by God through one's faith and righteousness. The connotation is originally defined in the Old Testament, but the theme is extended in the New Testament to illustrate the necessity of Jesus Christ and his ultimate sacrifice to bring salvation to mankind. Still, there are some clear differences within the two works that show the complexity of the evolution of the term as it spread through centuries of Biblical scripture.

Salvation does seem to have similar definitions within the context of the Old and New Testaments. It is a theme that is crucial to both Biblical traditions, and thus has been at the center of theological study for centuries. Essentially, "the Biblical proclamation of salvation originated step-by-step in the course of Holy History" (Mead 139). There is a common theme of the idea of salvation that is reinterpreted through Christian doctrine. This common theme is the idea that salvation comes through one's faith in God's grace. Faith brings God's mercy in the form of salvation to those who are faithful in their righteousness. Here, the research suggests that "God demands absolute righteousness of any creature who would be saved" (Feinberg 53). It is God who extends salvation to the sinful mortal men who adopt belief in His faith and in His word. This is commonly spread out through both the Old and New Testament, as salvation is consistently tied to the notion of remaining faithful to God's word despite any possible deterrents. In this, the "plan of salvation has been the same from the beginning" (Feinberg 41). Each religious tradition clearly defines the methods of salvation as coming directly through faith in God, and in Jesus Christ later in the Christian tradition. It is God's decision and word that helps people find their faith, and there are thus rewarded with salvation. According to the research, "there is the same promise of deliverance from the evils of the apostasy, the same Redeemer, the same conditions require for participation in the blessings of redemption and the same complete salvation for all who embrace the offers of divine mercy" (Feinberg 41). With such similarities in scripture, it is easy to connect the common themes shared by both religious traditions. Both Testaments present a "unified method of salvation -- by grace through faith" (Feinberg 43). These similarities have remained intact despite centuries of evolution by both Jewish and Christian traditions.

The Old Testament is littered with references that salvation occurs only through God's grace. Such grace can only be achieved through faith in God's word. Now, in the context of the Old Testament, this is a lot harder for individuals to actually execute, considering the harsh realities the Israelites and the Jewish people were exposed to through persecution by other groups and cultures. This is where the concept of faith gets its extreme charge within the context of Judaism. Despite what the world throws at you, salvation can only come through keeping up good faith in God's word. This is illustrated in a passage from Habakkuk. Here, the scripture reads, "Behold, as for the proud one, is soul is not right within him; but he righteous will live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4). The scripture is asking those following Jewish faith to remain humble in God's glory, therefore keeping the righteousness they need to truly find progressive faith in His word. Salvation, then, comes through the righteous execution of one's faith. This theme is also repeated in Hebrews as well. According to the research, Hebrews 11"teaches that Old Testament saints were saved by faith" (Feinberg 49). A long lineage of Jewish kings and religious figures are exposed as finding salvation in God through the righteous execution of their faith. It is an encouragement for those following the faith to continue following the word of God. Here, the research suggests that "Hebrews 11 lists the great Old Testament heroes of the faith and indicates that they were saved by faith" (Feinberg 49). In such definitions, it is clear that the Old Testament presents salvation as coming directly through one's religious faith.

This sentiment is then repeated in the New Testament. The concept of salvation is still connected to the notion of undying faith in God's word. First, to examine Galatians, it is clear that New Testament writers were drawing on the original concept of salvation that was written about in the Old Testament. Here, the scripture reads, "now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for 'the righteous man shall live by faith'" (Galatians 3:11). Righteousness and faith seem to be interconnected, as righteousness comes from living under the word of God, which is crucial for eventually salvation in both the Old and New Testament. Romans also give another clear example of the New Testament continuing on themes of the Old Testament's definition of faith being the method to salvation. This suggests that "faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness" (Romans 4:9). This is an example of the New Testament continuing on traditions of the Old Testament, but also invoking allusions to the very scripture it is augmenting.

Moreover, in many ways, the Old Testament begins the task of planting the seeds for Jesus' arrival in the context of the New Testament. This once again shows a common conception f salvation that is carried through the evolution of Biblical scripture. Here, the research suggests that "considering the promises made through the time of Abraham, it becomes clear that God had revealed that some day a redeemer would come to put away sin" (Feinberg 52). The seeds for Jesus' arrival are present within the Old Testament. When he arrives in the New Testament, he is aligned with the faith that is needed in order to secure God's grace and ultimately salvation. Still, there is a clear representation of salvation as being facilitated through grace. Paul says "by grace are you saved" (Ephesians 2:8). Grace was about to be transformed through the arrival of Jesus and what he represented within Christian dogma. According to the research, "the belief in the presence of divine salvation through the sending of Jesus and the expectation of the consummation of salvation through the coming of Jesus Christ" (Mead 133). The Old Testament had laid out the possibility for a savoir to come to earth. This was eventually realized in the New Testament, and "Jesus of Nazareth would be that suffering Messiah" (Feinberg 54). Jesus' ultimate sacrifice was the grace mankind needed to find salvation through Him. Hebrew in the Old Testament outlines the beginning foundations for Jesus' later sacrifice that would allow mankind to continue to find salvation through God. In fact, Hebrews "explicitly states that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin, for only the blood of Christ could do that" (Feinberg 54). Jesus' death in the New Testament is then a fulfillment of that prophecy and an extension of the definition of faith that was first presented by the Old Testament. Essentially, "Christ's death is the ground of salvation" in the New Testament and the Christian dogma it represents (Feinberg 55).

However, these two Biblical scriptures do differ in crucial ways, which essentially deepens the complex…[continue]

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