Salvation in Romans: Gentiles, Jews, and Christians

Question:
-Gentiles have the law of nature surrounding them in creation and written in their hearts. Paul states (Romans 2) that if that law is followed pagan Gentiles can be saved.
-The Jews have their Law (Torah) and if it is followed they can be saved.

How is the Christian salvation model fundamentally different? Whether Gentile, Jew, or Christian- are we not all saved by the same grace of God (which includes divinely inspired faith) and by His power enabled to fulfill God’s Law? Or could Jews or Gentiles actually obey the law without the divine help of the Spirit? When using Abraham as the example of being saved by faith without the Law, is Paul not teaching that the salvation model in this New Covenant is essentially the same?

What you’re describing is the salvation model of the NT. In the OT, there was no consensus about the nature of the afterlife, and no consensus about a Heaven or Hell. All that was certain was that God has selected Israel to guide and lead them, to save them from their earthly foes.

The Torah is how Jews understood to follow the will of God. It is how they came to be saved in the earthly sense, and how they showed their willingness to follow God’s will. If they were saved eternally, it was no on account of this law but rather through the sacrifice of Christ. This is why Jesus descended to the dead after His crucifixion. He went “Abraham’s bosom” to minister to the faithful departed of Israel (and presumably other good souls who lived in accordance with the natural law) and to open Heaven for them.

All of that said, the Jewish law is incomplete. It does not have any inherent capacity to save people. The only reason anyone would be save through adherence to it is because they lacked knowledge of Jesus, and lived according to what they knew of God’s laws. This is true of all people who are invincibly ignorant of Jesus. If they live according to the Natural Law inscribed on the hearts of all men, then they can be saved. However, this is far from a guarantee, which is why it is still necessary for all of us to seek their conversion.

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Thanks for your thoughtful answer.
My questions is simply whether salvation for all people of all times and all places is essentially the same: by the grace of God, by faith, through the sacrificial work Christ.

Every last person whose has been or will be saved throughout all of eternity has received the gift of their salvation from Jesus Christ. Period.

Even those who don’t believe in God, if they are saved (a big if), it is through Christ’s sacrifice. There is no other way for someone to be saved.

Perfect. Many Protestant friends speak of Paul’s Gospel as being something _entirely new_citing Paul’s statements about his message being a “mystery” now revealed…

Well, at the time of Paul’s writing, it was a mystery revealed, a new revelation.

The Jews had had no concept of this form of salvation, that their messiah would be God Himself opening the gates of Heaven. They were looking for worldly salvation, because that’s the only form they had known God’s mercy to take, saving Israel from its worldly enemies.

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