Determining God’s pattern of salvation could be a helpful tool in understanding what God requires of us today. Many talk about God’s plan of salvation, but what about God’s pattern of salvation? The system under which man is accountable to God has changed since Creation, but God doesn’t change, and as a result, we can find His consistent fingerprint on various topics and situations. For example, how God desires to be worshipped has changed from Abel to Moses, to Paul, but we still see certain patterns of worship (e.g. God-centered, “first-fruits sacrifice”, Holy Spirit dwelling, etc.) that have not changed. As with worship, is God’s pattern of salvation evident throughout the Bible times?

How Scripture answers "What is God’s pattern of salvation?"

God’s pattern of salvation is the same throughout the Bible, regardless of the period or Covenant. He offers salvation – a gift of grace – and it’s received by those who have faith and obey. The gift is freely available but it’s always conditioned on the subject’s faith and obedience. God’s pattern of salvation is first documented just days after Creation1,2. This same pattern of salvation existed through the Mosaic period3,4,5,6,7 and up to just days before the institution of the new covenant in Christ’s blood8. While the covenant has changed, God’s pattern of salvation has always been a combination of grace, faith, and obedience1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.

Answer built on scripture-blocks below

For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

Be aware! I [God] will flood the earth with water to destroy all living things under heaven. Everything on the earth shall die, except for the covenant that I make with you, whereby you and your entire family will come into the ark.

After creation, mankind had come to a state “that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (vs 5) and God was sorry that He had created him (vs 6). However, Noah was one that was righteous and “walked with God” (vs 9). Subsequently, God gave Noah instructions to build the ark and “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him” (vs 22).
Scripture-block application to this question

In Noah’s salvation through the flood, we see God’s grace and Noah’s faith and obedience. The absence of any one of these would have thwarted their salvation.

And he brought him outside and said, Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. Then he said to him, So shall your offspring be. And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
And He [God] brought him [Abram] outside to see the stars in the heavens and told him that his offspring would be uncountable like the stars.  Abram believed God, and God credited it to him as righteousness.

God has made His covenant with Abram (12:1-3), and here God is reiterating it again to him.  Specifically, here God is illustrating the expansiveness of the nation that Abram would father even though at this point, Abram was concerned about his age with no offspring (vss 2-3).

Scripture-block application to this question

God made a covenant with Abram (grace), which he believed and later acted upon (obedience).

And the Lord said to Moses, Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live. So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
God told Moses to make a serpent of bronze and set it on a pole so that anyone that is bitten might look upon it to be saved. So Moses did it and if a snake bit anyone, if he looked at the serpent on the pole he would live.

The twelve tribes are wandering in the wilderness after having doubted their ability to take the land. The context for this episode with the brazen serpent is vss 4-9.  The people have become “impatient” (vs 4) and speak out “against God” and Moses (vs 5). As punishment, God sends serpents that bite and kill (vs 6).  The people repent and ask Moses to intercede, asking God to remove the serpents (vs 7). 

Paul will later equate the people’s sin as putting “Christ to the test” (1 Cor 10:9) and Jesus would correlate the people and the bronze serpent to His own lifting up and one believing in Him (John 3:14:15).

Scripture-block application to this question

God offered His grace in the form of a remedy that the people must look upon (faith and obedience) to be saved.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

After repenting, the people asked for the snakes to be taken away. God’s answer did not involve that but rather that they respond after they were bitten. The implication is that some did not look after being bitten, as Jesus relates this to His own “lifting up” and one’s belief and eternal life (Jn 3:14-15).

And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.
Israel, pay attention to the laws I [Moses] am teaching you so that you might obey them and live, taking possession of the land that God is giving you. Don’t add to or take away from what I’m commanding you in order to faithfully obey God’s law that I’m giving to you.

The re-telling of the law of Moses to a new generation of people before entering into the Promised Land.

Scripture-block application to this question

The land was given by God (grace) to His people, and their continued faith and obedience conditioned their continued possession.

And the Lord said to Joshua, See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
God told Joshua to look at the might of Jericho, what God has given to them.  Joshua was instructed to have his army march around the city one time for each of six days while seven priests blow seven rams’ horns in front of the ark.  Then, on the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times with the priests still blowing the trumpets.

The young nation of Israel is marching to take the promised land. Joshua is leading them, having taken over after Moses’ death.

Scripture-block application to this question

God gave (grace) Jericho to the people on the condition that they, by an extraordinary act of faith, obey a highly unorthodox and impractical siege tactic. NOTE: God considered it “given” even before they marched.

And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.

Elisha sent a messenger to him [Naaman] telling him to wash in the Jordan river seven times in order for him to be cleansed of leprosy.

During the latter years of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah (southern two tribes), when Elisha was prophesying.  Ben-Hadad II was ruling Syria and conducting raids (vs 2).  Namaan is an enemy commander and leper (vs 1) traveling into Israel to meet the famed “healer”, Elisha (vs 3).

Refer to our Old Testament Kingdom xReference

Scripture-block application to this question

Naaman was granted (grace) the opportunity to be obedient (washing seven times) to something he found to be preposterous (faith).

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
God has dealt with me according to my works and has rewarded me because of my own sinlessness. I [David] have walked in His ways and not sinfully departed from Him.
A psalm of David that was probably written when or around the time that Saul was pursuing him.
Scripture-block application to this question

David professes his own faith and obedience to justify him before a “merciful” God (vs 25) who has “given me (grace) the shield of your salvation” (vs 35).

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Throughout the psalm, David clearly understands that his salvation is not of himself, repeatedly acknowledging God’s sovereignty, even though he just as clearly acknowledges the conditional nature (his own “righteousness” and “cleanness”.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us! But the other rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. And he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And he said to him, Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.

One of the crucified criminals mocked Jesus by asking if He was the Christ that He should be able to save Himself and them.  But the other criminal rebuked the first by acknowledging God’s authority and the fact that they were guilty and worthy of their death sentence but that Jesus was innocent. He went on to ask Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom.  Jesus responded that he would be Him in Paradise that very day.

The crucifixion of Jesus and a remarkable confession by a thief that obviously knew who Jesus was and what his death (and resurrection) would mean (“come into your kingdom”).

Parallel accounts of the robbers are Matthew 27:38-44 and Mark 15:27-32.

Scripture-block application to this question

The thief on the cross professed both his faith and understanding of obedience and Jesus, in return, granted (grace) him eternal life.

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