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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
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Ask the Pastor
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clear.gif - 808 Bytes From N.T. times on, if a person asks Jesus into their lives, He never leaves. We have verses to back that up. What assurance did people have in the O.T. of that? If a person loved God and followed Him but made some wrong choices and was backslidden, did he go to Paradise when he died?

You may click on verses to reveal pop-up Scripture

clear.gif - 808 Bytes Your question is an excellent one, and I must say that I am not certain of the answer. I would like to think that Old testament believers had the same security that we do, However, it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that is the "earnest" or down payment on our eternal destiny, and the OT saints didn't have that. My theology professor in college (a very conservative and fundamental man) stated that he believed that if Moses had died immediately after he struck the rock rather than speaking to it that he would have gone to the torment side of Hell (where the rich man wound up at) because belief in God was evidenced by obedience to God, and Moses' rebellion at that point showed that he was not believing God, and thus he would not have gone to Paradise. There isn't a lot said about this subject in the materials I looked at. I do have a book entitled "Theology of the Old Testament" by Gustav Oehler, written in 1873, which is considered a classic, and was reprinted by one of our Independent Fundamental Baptist seminaries. He states, "(The Old Testament) experience of salvation still remains, but relative, and decidedly differs from the New Testament. In the first place, it does indeed afford peace of mind concerning individual sins, nay, but for a moment, concerning the whole standing of the sinful subject before God; but not resting on an objective and permanent atonement obtained for the church, it does not establish any permanent state of reconciliation (emphasis in the original). So he would agree with my professor.

 However, Job seemed to have assurance in Job 19:25-27:

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me."

 David seemed to have assurance in II Sam.12:23 when he said concerning his dead son:

"But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

 Psalm 17:15 may show his assurance as well:

"As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."
Most commentators think that he is awaking from death, not sleep.

 Is this relevant? Isaiah 51:6:

"Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished."

 Some see assurance in Psalm 23:4:

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

 Verses like Isaiah 12:2 lend themselves to assurance as well:

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation."

 Job 33:26 seems to be speaking of a permanent salvation where God's righteousness is imparted to repentant men:

"He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness."
This would be just like the New Testament.

 Psalm 32:1-2 seems to teach the same thing:

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."

 It has been suggested that an isolated act of backsliding would not remove a man's salvation, but a pattern of life that would indicate that the man really wasn't believing God. Abraham believed God, but there were certainly times when he didn't act like it, and I don't believe that he moved into and out of salvation.

 I'm sorry that this isn't a better answer. All I can say is that David and Job certainly seemed to have assurance of salvation, yet the Bible doesn't say how they knew that.

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Pastor Dr. Mark Montgomery
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