Let me make a clear statement before we consider any scriptures to prove my statement: “No matter what age men have lived in; one has always been ‘saved by grace through faith’ in the Lord Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross.” We shall see that in Old Testament times they didn’t have as much light (i.e., knowledge) concerning the details of salvation through Christ, but their faith was always in “the revelation that God gave to them of His Son.”

In Hebrews chapter 11, which is rightly called “the FAITH chapter,” we have a large list of men and women who were “justified by faith alone.” Let’s consider the first example in verse 4, “BY FAITH Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that HE WAS RIGHTEOUS.” Here we see, at the very dawn of creation, that a man was “justified (declared righteous) by faith.” Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” so we know that Abel must have had a “revelation from God” and HE BELIEVED IT! He either heard this revelation directly from God, or his parents had told him about it. The revelation he heard was that because he was a sinner, he deserved to die (like we read in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death”). Then he heard that in order to be accepted by God and made righteous before Him, an innocent victim had to “die in his place.” Perhaps it was Abel’s parents who told them about their sin that brought the death sentence to them (Genesis 2:15-17 and 3:1-6), followed by God’s message to them of a Savior who would come to deliver them (Genesis 3:15). Adam and Eve BELIEVED the good news of a Savior being born of a woman and God then “made tunics of skins, and clothed them.” They learned from this that God demanded “the death of an innocent animal to cover the nakedness of their sin and to make them acceptable in His sight” (see Genesis 3:7-10 along with Isaiah 61:10). This was a PICTURE to them, to Abel, and to us of the righteousness God would provide through the DEATH and BLOOD-SHEDDING of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. When Abel offered his lamb as a sacrifice to God, he was admitting he was a sinner who needed a savior, and that the savior would have to die in his place to make him righteous. Did he understand, as we do today, that God’s eternal Son would come down to earth and become a true man to die in man’s place on the cross (John 1:1, 14 with Hebrews 2:9)? Surely not, for God had not revealed it, but his faith, in the limited revelation that God had given him, was enough for him to act on what he believed. The moment he offered his blood sacrifice, which “pointed to the Lamb of God who would later die for him” (see John 1:28 with 1st Peter 1:18-19), HE WAS ACCOUNTED RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD.

Cain, on the hand, heard the same revelation and HE DID NOT BELIEVE. So, instead of offering a blood sacrifice to God, he came with an offering of “his own good works” and God could not accept him (Genesis 4:3-5). He pictures sinners who have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ today and they refuse to believe it; they REJECT Jesus as their Savior instead of RECEIVING Him BY FAITH (see John 1:11-12). They will all be judged for their UNBELIEF (John 3:18 & 8:24). No wonder the Bible says, “Woe to them! For they have gone in THE WAY OF CAIN” (Jude 11).

 We could cite many more examples of those who were “justified by faith” but I will give you one more that is quoted in Romans 4:1-3, “What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God, for what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’” Abraham, like Abel, heard a revelation from God about His Son (see Genesis 15:6 with Galatians 3:6-14). He HEARD IT and he BELIEVED IT and he was DECLARED RIGHTEOUS! How much did Abraham know about all the details concerning Christ? Not nearly as much as we do, but he heard enough to lay hold of it BY FAITH. Has my reader “believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation” (see Acts 16:31)? If not, won’t you take God at His Word and be “justified by faith?” Romans 4:5 goes on to say, “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, HIS FAITH IS ACCOUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  (DO)  (522.5)