Thursday, July 23, 2009

Salvation in the Old Testament

Let us review in summary the positions on the different ways in which men can be justified and saved in the Old Testament that we looked at in our last post.

Post fall, Pre-Circumcision: Adults could be saved by faith in God, infants could be saved by the faith of their parents.

Post fall, Post-Circumcision: Adults could be saved by faith in God with circumcision, and also without it in some cases. (I.e., some of the Gentiles) Infants could be saved by circumcision, and also by the faith of their parents if they died before being able to receive circumcision.

Now, the question is, what about after the institution of baptism? Can infants still be saved by the faith of their parents, even if they die before receiving baptism by water?

We must answer these questions in the affirmative. For, the coming of Christ did not restrict the means of salvation, but rather broadened them. "I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) However, if the coming of Christ has caused the means of salvation for infants to be limited to baptism by water, and excludes salvation by the faith of the parents, then at least concretely there are many infants who would have been saved had they lived before Christ came, but were not saved because they lived after Christ came. This would be very unfitting. Hence we conclude that if God formerly sanctified infants in virtue of the faith of their parents, this dispensation for salvation has not been removed by Christ's coming.

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