Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:6, HCSB
The question is sometimes asked, “Before Jesus died on the cross, how were people saved in the Old Testament?” Sometimes we hear it said that the Jews were saved by keeping the law, but Galatians 3:11 tells us, “it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law.” Many in the era before Christ tried to be righteous by keeping the law, but they never could.
The Bible teaches that even in the Old Testament, God rewarded a person’s faith and viewed them as righteous because of it. Abram could not possibly have been saved by the law, since he lived 400 years before it was even given! The righteousness of any individual has always depended upon the grace of God as it is received and appropriated through the faith of man.