I have to admit that growing up I thought of the Old and New Testaments as being very different parts of the bible. The Old Testament was dark and gloomy and the New Testament was sunny and pleasant. This is a very common perspective and I believe it is only perpetuated by ignorance. This ignorance is fed by an unwillingness to read the Scriptures.
Galatians 3:7-8 reads:
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
This chapter really changed my perspective on the gospel by showing that it preceded the old covenant, the Law. It shows that all men have only been saved by grace through faith, in every epoch of time. We also see that the “new” covenant really came before the old one, in a sense.
This promise came before the law and was not annulled by the law. As Paul writes in verse 17 of the same chapter, “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” That means that from Abraham until Jesus faith was credited as righteousness. Faith was necessary even after Moses gave the law. The law was not given in order to bring us to righteousness. Verse 21 reads: “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
Paul writes that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” It convicts us as transgressors before the judge. By the law we see that we hopelessly fall short and that we must pay the penalty of death. But condemnation comes before the pardon which we receive because of our redemption by Jesus’ blood.
From Abraham until the present we see that there is only one gospel and one Savior. The faith that Abraham put in God is the same faith which we have in the Lord Jesus Christ, only made manifest. This makes us the spiritual descendants of Abraham and the fulfillment of God’s promise to make him the blessing of many nations. Man fell and became cursed through his lack of faith and God’s plan is to redeem him through faith.