Salvation through law

According to Christian belief, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus made salvation from sin possible. People are saved by God’s grace and love, but everybody must do their best to live by God’s law as laid out in the Bible in order to receive his blessing of salvation.

Law in the Old Testament

Christians believe that God has revealed his law to people through the Bible, which they see as a guidebook to salvation. The first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) are actually known as the ‘books of law’ because they contain the instructions given by God to Moses for the people of Israel.

For Christians, the entire Bible is the word of God. Although it was written by numerous authors over hundreds of years, Christians believe that the Bible’s authors were all divinely inspired, through the Holy Spirit, to write down God’s word.

Law in the New Testament

Christians place an emphasis on following the New Testament and follow only some of the laws of the Old Testament. This is because they believe that Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament override many of the laws laid out in the Old Testament - for example, the dietary laws still followed by many Jews today.

However, the Old Testament is still very important to Christians because it contains guidance that Jesus himself said should be followed - for example, the Ten Commandments. However, for Christians, Jesus' teachings recorded in the Bible are the most important source of authority and law to be followed.

Different interpretations of the Bible

Individual Christians follow the laws laid down in the Bible differently, according to their denomination and personal beliefs. Some Christians, such as Evangelical Christians, read the Bible more literally. In contrast, members of the Church of England often feel that certain laws are no longer relevant and need not be followed, or that the laws may need to be adjusted for modern life.

Other sources of authority

Many Christians believe that by following the Bible’s teachings, they set themselves on the path of salvation. As well as the Bible, there are other sources of wisdom and authority that Christians use as guidance to follow God’s law. For example:

  • Some Christians think of a person’s conscience as an inner sense of right and wrong, which they believe to be God’s voice.
  • Many Christians follow religious leaders. For example, Catholic Christians believe that God has chosen the Pope to be his representative on Earth.
  • Each local church usually has its own interpretations of biblical teaching. Its leaders will advise members of the congregation about how to live a good Christian life.
  • Prayer is seen by some Christians as a dialogue with God. By asking God for guidance, they believe he can show them the right path towards salvation.

Why is the Bible important to Christians in terms of salvation?

The Bible is important for salvation as it is a guidebook that Christians can use to follow God’s law. The Bible contains the revealed word of God and shows Christians the way to live to receive the reward of eternal life with God in Heaven after death.