Grace in the Old Testament


I have Ryken’s Bible Handbook and in it, Ryken describes that one of the main themes for the Old Testament is salvation by grace:

“Human beings are not saved by virtue of their own actions. They are saved in spite of their sin, and only though a sacrifice of atonement.” (Ryken et al, pg. 22)

So, seeing as Ryken is an Evangelical Protestant, what verses in the Old Testament is he basing the above statement on? It just seems thrown out there and more of a product of his Evangelical theology. I could be wrong however.

Can someone educate me as to what he is talking about?


I haven’t read Ryken’s Bible Handbook so I have no idea what he is talking about. I do know the Hebrew Bible recounts numerous times the importance of repentance of one’s sins, that is, turning away from them in both mind and deed, for example in the Book of Isaiah. My impression is that Ryken is probably imposing a Christian interpretation of how human beings repent by means of applying the concept of grace, a concept that is alien to Judaism. According to Jewish thought, since humans are created in the image of G-d, they have been bestowed with the capacity for repentance when they reach the age of reason. While they have committed sin or erred from the mark, as all humans do, Judaism does not label people as “sinners” in the Christian sense.


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