How were godly persons saved before the coming of Christ?


They believed in the Savior to come.

Way back in question ten, we learned that our God-breathed Bibles are actually mini-libraries containing 66 smaller books. But we don’t read about Jesus the Christ being born until book #40. If only those who repent and believe in Jesus the Christ will be saved, then what about those people who lived before his birthday? People like Abraham and Moses and David? How could they possibly be saved from their sins?

First off, let’s make one thing clear: they weren’t saved by obeying God’s laws. The people who lived back then were just as much a gang of law-breaking sinners as you and I are today! You might be surprised to hear this, but they were basically saved in the same way you and I are saved. We are saved if we believe in Jesus, the savior who already came. But those in the far-off past? They were saved by believing in the savior who would one day come.

How did these people know a savior was coming? Because God promised to send one! Way back when our first parents sinned, when they feasted on the forbidden fruit, God spoke curses to everyone involved in that fiasco: to Adam, to Eve, and to the sneaky serpent. God’s curses contained punishments for breaking his command. And it’s one specific curse God spoke to the serpent that we’re interested in at this moment.

Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity (hatred) between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Let me give you the simple version of what God was saying here. God promised that one of Eve’s children would have “enmity” (or hatred) with the evil servants of the serpent. Eve’s special son and the devil were going to absolutely hate each other’s guts! In one of their battles, the serpent would draw first blood, striking at the heel (or foot) of the son of Eve. But Eve’s boy, the chosen child, would deal the final deadly blow – crushing the serpent’s head into bits!

After hearing that promise, God’s people waited for this special son of Eve to be born. They prayed for the day that this chosen child would finally come to defeat sin, death, and the devil. And as they waited, they used a special name for him. We’ve talked about it already: in the Hebrew language, his name was “Messiah,” and in Greek, it was “Christ.”

Of course, we live in the far-off future. We know who the Christ was because he already came. He was Jesus! And about 2000 years ago, he fought his most important battle against the devil. That epic fight took place on the cross. The serpent certainly struck a mighty blow, moving in the hearts of wicked men to order that Jesus be beaten, whipped, and nailed to the cross. This was the moment that the serpent “struck the heel” of the chosen child. Dead and buried in a tomb, things weren’t looking good for Jesus, the promised “son of Eve.”

But he came out the winner in the end. By rising from the dead on the third day, Jesus proved he had completely destroyed death and totally paid the price of our sins! He had completely “crushed the head of the serpent,” just like God had promised thousands of years before.

You and I are saved by looking back at what Jesus the Christ did to save us 2000 years ago. But the people back then? They were saved by looking forward to the Christ who would one day come to save them. They didn’t know that his name would be Jesus. They didn’t know exactly how he would defeat sin, death, and the devil. But they had faith in God’s promise; they believed that it would happen. And because of that, they were just as saved from sin as you and I are! If you ever want to learn about these people of faith from long ago, you can read about a whole bunch of them in chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews!


+ Why did the people who lived before Jesus the Christ need to be saved?

+ Look at Hebrews chapter 11. Choose one or two of the names listed there, then read what the Bible says about their faith.



John 8:56; Gal. 3:8, 9; 1 Cor. 10:1-4; Heb. 9:15; 11:13

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