Sola Fide in the OT?


greetings to all,

Some bible believing christian friends affirmed that baptism is not necessary for salvation because rebirth is only through faith and as such:
[begin quote]

Ezekiel was born again by faith in the coming Christ. Look what he wrote about the Christ who is the Good Shepherd:

“For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.
"As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.” ( Ezekiel 34:11-12 )

Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” ( John 10:14-15 )

And Ezekiel even said that the Christ would be the Son of David:

“"Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.
"And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken.” ( Ezekiel 34:23-24 )

So Ezekiel also believed in the coming Christ, the Good Shepherd. But Ezekiel was not baptized.

Jeremiah also was born again by faith in the coming Christ. Look what he wrote about the Christ:

““Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, "When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.
"In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’” ( Jeremiah 23:5-6 )

So Jeremiah believed in the coming Christ as his personal LORD. But Jeremiah was not baptized.

So let’s see how Moses also believed in the coming Christ. Jesus said:

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.
“But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”” ( John 5:46-47 )

So Moses believed in Jesus Christ and wrote about Him. Moses also was born again by faith in Christ, but Moses was not baptized.

So the question remains: If as you say baptism is the new birth and that it is necessary for Salvation, then how were all those godly people born again and how were they saved? Because they were not baptized.

[end quote]

…And i thought observing the LAW was the way in the OT!

What is your take on the matter?

In Him,



Of course the Old Testament prophets weren’t baptized. Baptism initiates people into the New Covenant (Romans 6); since Christ hadn’t been born yet, there was no New Covenant to be initiated into. Rather, the OT prophets would have been circumcised into the Old Covenant. Your friends’ argument would be much more convincing if they could show that they weren’t circumcised, because circumcision was to the OT what baptism is to the NT (Colossians 2).

One can’t deny that the saints of old received divine approval for their faith (Hebrews 11), but one also can’t deny that the NT specifically teaches that “baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21).

Finally, it’s funny that they quoted Ezekiel, for Ezekiel himself foretold that the Lord would “sprinkle clean water” on us to “cleanse” us and give us “new hearts” (Ezekiel 36:25-26).

Others will undoubtedly have more to add.


If circumcision was to the Old Testament as baptism is to the New, what happened to women under the Old Testament. I think that the true initiation into the covenants was rebirth through what both the Old Testament and Paul call circumcision of the heart, an inward rebirth.


I respectfully disagree. I think Genesis 17:10-14 makes it clear that the sign of the covenant is the circumcision itself. This is especially true of verse 10, where God defines the covenant. He doesn’t say, “This is my covenant which you shall keep: You will be reborn of the heart through faith in Me, and as a sign of this rebirth every male among you will be circumcised.” Instead, He just says, “This is my covenant which you shall keep: Every male among you will be circumcised.” Moreover, God says that He “will establish” a covenant in verse 7. This suggests that circumcision is not a sign of an existing covenant, since there’s no reason for God to use the future tense if the covenant being spoken of already exists.

As for women: Although the human act of entry into the covenant is circumcision, the covenant seems to apply to all of Abraham’s progeny. In verse 10, God says that under the Old Covenant, “Every male among you will be circumcised.” The word “among” suggests that “every male” is a subset of “you,” so while the promises of the Old Covenant are extended to all of Abraham’s descendants, the requirements for entry are restricted to physical actions of males among those descendants. (I would have to check more of Genesis and Exodus to find out, but my guess is that here God works on the level of individual households. The requirements about servants in verses 12 and 13 suggest that if one household is disobedient, then all its members will be excluded from God’s protection – something that God also does in Exodus 12 with Passover.)


Paul tells us that the true circumcision was not that of the flesh.

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
(Romans 2:28-29 NASB)

This is in accordance with the Old Testament as well.

"Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. "So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.
(Deuteronomy 10:15-16 NASB)

"Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.
(Deuteronomy 30:6 NASB)

Circumcision of the heart through the action of the Spirit would those who lived in pre-Abrhamic times, women and Gentiles who would be Abraham’s descendents by faith.


It would also be in accordance with how some Church Fathers felt the Old Testament saints were saved.

For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; since there is none other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved; and in Him has God defined unto all men their faith, in that He has raised Him from the dead. Now without this faith, that is to say, without a belief in the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; without faith, I say, in His resurrection by which God has given assurance to all men and which no man could of course truly believe were it not for His incarnation and death; without faith, therefore, in the incarnation and death and resurrection of Christ, the Christian verity unhesitatingly declares that the ancient saints could not possibly have been cleansed from sin so as to have become holy, and justified by the grace of God. And this is true both of the saints who are mentioned in Holy Scripture, and of those also who are not indeed mentioned therein, but must yet be supposed to have existed,— either before the deluge, or in the interval between that event and the giving of the law, or in the period of the law itself,— not merely among the children of Israel, as the prophets, but even outside that nation, as for instance Job. For it was by the self-same faith in the one Mediator that the hearts of these, too, were cleansed, and there also was shed abroad in them the love of God by the Holy Ghost, who blows where He lists, not following men’s merits, but even producing these very merits Himself. For the grace of God will in no wise exist unless it be wholly free.-Augustine (On the Grace of Christ, and On Original Sin, Book 2, Chapter 28)

And so that the favors of heavenly condescension might not be lacking to any period of this transitory world, those who lived from the inception of the world up to the time of the giving of circumcision, and those from other countries who lived after the giving of circumcision, also pleased God. [They did so] either by the offering of sacrificial offerings or alternatively by virtue of faith alone, since they committed their souls and those of their own to the Creator, and so [they] took care to free themselves from the bonds of the original guilt. For “without faith it is impossible to please God.” And as it is written in another place, “The just person lives by faith.”-Bede (Homilies on the Gospels 1.11. Erik M. Heen & Philip D. W. Krey ed., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament X Hebrews, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005), p. 179.)


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