"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works or righteousness we had done but according to his mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Titus 3:4-6).
If it can be demonstrated that Old Testament believers were not regenerate/born again, the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity falls flat on its face. The fact that Old Testament people were not born again absolutely annhilates the doctrine of Total Depravity. There were many Old Testament people who walked in faith and obedience to God which is something which the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity asserts is only possible if these Old Testament people were also born again. Calvinists do not believe that one can have faith in God and obey him without first being born again. However, the undeniable fact is that Old Testament peoples were not born again but were indeed faithfully obedient to God, and therefore the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity is completely exposed as a false doctrine.
Now we must be clear when we say that the Bible proves the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity to be false because we are discussing the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity and not a doctrine of Total Depravity that might be held by non-Calvinists. We are not saying anyone can be saved apart from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Indeed, we will show that Jesus came to save these Old Testament peoples who had believed in the promise from afar off but had not received salvation until Christ died and rose again. Rather, what we will decisively demonstrate here is the false Calvinist notion that no one can believe and obey God unless he is first born again. The Old Testament believers did indeed walk in faith and obey God. They were not, however, born again. Hence, if the Old Testament believers were not regenerate/born again, then the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity cannot be sustained and crumbles into rubble. And this we shall decisively prove.
There is a huge mountain of evidence in the Holy Bible to prove that Old Testament peoples were not born again. They were not regenerated, born again, new creations in Christ. Of course, reasonable people do not need to think about this for very long to realize it is an undeniable fact. Instead of serving the law through the temple sacrifices for sins, born again Jews who lived just after Christ's resurrection, became themselves temples of the Holy Spirit offering up their own bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. As such, it was unthinkable to return to the circumcisions and animal sacrifices for sins after having been washed in the blood of Christ and been born anew. When Christ died and rose again he made it possible for Jews under the Law to die with him in their conversion events and be born anew, new creations into the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. The old had gone, the new had come. As Paul says, "although we once knew Christ after the flesh we now no him no longer." Now rather serving under the old way of the Law which held them in bondage to sin and death, these post resurrection Jews could serve in the new way of the life and freedom in the Holy Spirit. They had once served under a ministry of death for a good purpose - to bring the Christ who would die for them under this ministry of death, but now being born again into the risen life of Christ, they were now serving under a ministry of life in the Spirit having been born anew, new creations in Christ Jesus. Hence, it would be unthinkable for a born again person washed in Christ's blood to offer up animal sacrifices for those same sins. If Old Testament people were born again and if God had commanded them to offer up animal sacrifices it would have been most dishonoring to his Son. Moreover, it is quite impossible to be a new creation in the risen Christ without also having died with Christ and shared in his blood redemption.
We do not need to think about this very hard. Just think about it. Born again believers by definition are those Christians who are themselves, temples of God, temples of the Holy Spirit, washed in the blood of Christ, born anew into Kingdom life, and who offering their own bodies as living sacrifices to God offering up spiritual sacrifices to him. Now, take this same born again temple of the Holy Spirit and living sacrificed washed in the blood of Christ and now have him go to the Jewish temple of stone and offer up animal sacrifices for his sins. Does it make any sense? Of course not. There is neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ Jesus. Judaism does not exist in Christ. You are not under law but grace and if you are led by the Spirit you are not under law (Rom 6:14; Gal 3:28; 5:18).
Although this is all rather obvious to most, we will now proceed to illustrate the ample proof from the Scriptures which show that men were not born again until Jesus rose from the dead. Let us now review the massive testimony of the Holy Scriptures which serve as a damning indictment against this heinous false doctrine of the Calvinists.
Let us begin with a few passages from Scripture which show Old Testament believers under the law were not born again because the new birth was something which did not come until Christ was sent to die and rise again:
Now we can already see some powerful testimony from the inspired Holy Scriptures which indicate the new birth into Christ Jesus was not something which was possible until Jesus died and rose from the dead, when he caused the ripping of the veil of the temple in two by the sacrifice of his body so that entrance into the Holy of Holies might be available for all. In the book of John, we find much testimony that the Spirit was not given to the disciples until Christ rose again, although the disciples were previously believing in Christ. And when Jesus rose from the dead he breathed new life into them (Jn 20:22; cf. John 3:3-8) and it is only here we see their new birth, something which Calvinist maintain must precede faith in Christ. Yet these disciples believed his message long before this new birth contradicting the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity. And we see Paul tell us in many and various ways that the "faith of Christ" was not something which was enjoyed by those under the law and in bondage. Rather, those Jews who were under law found new life in Christ when he came and died and rose again so that these Jews, who lived at the time, could die to the law and serve in the new way of the Holy Spirit. As John tells us, the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ when he tabernacled in the flesh. And Peter tells us that the prophets continually explored the time and place where the grace of Christ might be given and Peter tells us that it was given not to these prophets but to those who lived after the death and resurrection of Jesus. And finally, Paul tells us very plainly when the grace of God appeared, Jesus Christ, he saved us by new birth. It can be no plainer.
- "But Christ once having offered a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected once for those who are being sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more." Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he opened for us through the veil, that is, that is his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts having been sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:12-22).
- "On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, "Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'" Now he said this about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:37-39).
- "But NOW a righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested which was testified by the Law and Prophets, and a righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ to all and upon all those who believe." (Romans 3:21-22).
- "My brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.... But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit." (Romans 7:4,6).
- There is therefore, NOW, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:1-4).
- You show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.... our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in the written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor?.... Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:3-17).
- "Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made.... But before faith came, we were confined under the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.... So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But faith having come we are no longer under a tutor for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus....there is neither Jew nor Greek.... So also with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elements of the world. But WHEN the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons... So you are no longer a slave but a son.... for freedom Christ has made us free." (Galatians 3:19-4:7; 5:1).
- "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.... and from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:14-17).
- "Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For if the word spoken by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will" (Hebrews 2:1-4).
- "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.... concerning which salvation the prophets searched and inquired, who prophesied of this grace for you, searching for what or what manner of time.... it was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you.... He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake....You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God... That word is the good news which was preached to you. " (1 Peter 1:3-23).
- "But WHEN the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works or righteousness we had done but according to his mercy, by the washing of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Titus 3:4-6)."
The Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity cannot stand. However, we know the unfortunate ways of many Calvinists very well and we know that instead of inquiring further and seeking the truth which is in Scripture, many of them will perceive this truth as an assault on their beloved belief system which they themselves have for themselves labelled as "truth" and do cherish and want to protect, and thus they will lay awake long at night to devise means and ways to distort the truth for the sake of their traditions. Therefore, although the truth of the matter is already abundantly plain to those who are willing to accept the messae of Scripture, we will not rest here but go on in every detail to prove that the new birth was not possible until Christ came and therefore clearly, decisively and undeniably prove that the doctrine of Total Depravity is completely unsustainable and heinously false. We will clearly examine every Scripture in every detail and we will take down all their vain imaginations and distortions of Scripture which they contrive to suit their tradition of Calvinism. And thus we hope, by the grace of God, they will turn from their destructive ways.
What is the new birth?
The new birth is when we are born anew into the resurrection life of Jesus Christ who communicates to us the Kingdom of God. No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born again. In order to be born anew we must first die with Christ and if we die with him we are raised up new creations into his resurrection life. Such a thing was not possible until the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is foolish to think anyone was raised up into the resurrection life of Jesus Christ when Christ himself was not raised up into resurrection life. Because he is mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ shared our humanity and died and in that humanity he rose again and asended into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of God. And because he is a man in heaven with God he mediates to us the life of the Kingdom of God because he exists in that life. We could not be born anew until a man rose into heaven. The new birth is what happens when we die with Christ and are raised up again into a new life, new creations in Christ Jesus.
1. "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
John the Baptist came preaching, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Now immediately we should realize that the Kingdom of God was in the process of coming to the Jews of Israel which means it was not there before. The fact that John came baptizing (a new thing) should be further witness to this fact. Jesus tells us his Kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18:36). The Greek word "Kingdom" really means "reign" or "Kingship" and does not connotate a geograhical location. Indeed, he tells them, the Kingdom is not a place you look for but is something among them (Lk 17:21). Now Jesus tells us plainly that the Pharisees can know the Kingdom has come upon them because he drives out demons by the Spirit of God (Mt 12:28; cf. Lk 11:17). What he is telling us here is that the Kingdom of God is here in the Spirit and God's reign upon the earth is here in the form of the power of the Holy Spirit, not in the form of an earthly government. As Paul tells us, "the Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power" and "the Kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). Jesus indicates that people have been entering hte Kingdom since the days of John the Baptist. Indeed, he tells us that many sinners were entering the Kingdom ahead of the Pharisees (Mt 21:32). These were the people who were servants of Jesus and acknowledging his as Lord and Savior. The Spirit was in Jesus and testified to these people in this way. But when he went away to heaven, they would need the Holy Spirit in themselves to share in the Kingdom which is why Jesus tells us disciples, "[the Spirit] dwells with you and shall be in you. Many people were heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit in Jesus and repenting and sharing in the blessings of the Kingdom by his presence. It is for the same reason John was filled with the Holy Spirit - to call people to repentance and again the same reason Jesus told his apostles not to do anything until they had received the power of the Holy Spirit from on high (Lk 24:49; Acts 1:8). But to share in the presence of Jesus now and his Kingdom we must receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in new birth because Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. In short, none of this can be said about Old Testament Jews before the advent of Christ.
Many times the Bible speaks as if the Kingdom is something we Christians enter only on the last day when Jesus comes in glory. This is true in the sense that we humans in our bodies will not enter the Kingdom until that day. However, it is also true that we may enter into the Kingdom in a spiritual way now and that is why the Holy Spirit is sent to us. Paul tells us that we have been made partakers in the Kingdom of Light (Col 1:13) and we have been seated at the right hand of God with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph 2:6). So we share the reality and blessings of God's Kingdom in the Holy Spirit right now.
Jesus teaches us that no one can see/enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born again from above (John 3:3-7). And he tells us that it is the Spirit which gives us this new life (3:8). This is the way we humans can enter into his Kingdom of God. The disciples received the Spirit after he rose from the dead when Jesus breathed into them the breath of life and they were born again (Jn 20:22). They had already believed in him, but were not born again until they received the Spirit into their hearts giving them new birth.
Now Jesus also teaches us something very important. He tells us, "Among those born of women, there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist, yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he" (Mt 11:11). But how can this be? Quite simply, John the Baptist was not born again into the Kingdom of God. The least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than the greatest person on earth. As John tells us in his gospel, "The Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified" (Jn 7:39) and we see that when he did rise from the dead the disciples received the Spirit (20:22) which Jesus said could not come unless he first went away (Jn 16:7). The disciples could not share in the heavenly Kingdom unless they first received the Holy Spirit and were born again.
Now of course this will bewilder a Calvinist to no end because he will note that John the Baptist was born full of the Holy Spirit, and indeed he was born full of the Holy Spirit. In fact, we see in the Scriptures many people were full of the Spirit before Christ was glorified such as David (Psalm 51:11), Elizabeth (Lk 1:41), Zechariah (Lk 1:67), and Simeon (Lk 2:27). So shall we now nullify the words of John the Apostle who said the Spirit was not yet given and could not be given until Jesus first went away? Shall we fudge a doctrine which says "Oh, John must have meant the Holy Spirit would be given in a more fuller way than before." No we shall certainly not. Jesus, in the Gospel of John, made it clear that the disciples did not have the Holy Spirit and would not have the Holy Spirit until Jesus died and rose to heaven. We find a similar account in Luke's message (Lk 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 33,38-39; 11:17). We shall not, like so many, nullify God's word for the sake of our traditions.
The Spirit was not given to anyone prior to the resurrection of Christ. This is why we find so many Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit (ex. Ezek 36:25-27; Joel 2:28-32). Many people prior to the cross had the Holy Spirit come down upon them. However, the Spirit was not given to them as a gift as the Holy Spirit is now given to us as a gift. The Holy Spirit came down upon covenant Jews for a purpose and function such as prophecy, priesthood or kingship (i.e. David) but the Spirit did not remain with them as the Spirit did remain in Christ (Jn 1:33). This is why Luke says concerning Jesus, "having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you now see and hear" (Acts 2:33). In the New Covenant of Christ, the Holy Spirit is given as a gift to us and a pledge of our eternal inheritance. As Paul says, "you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit" (Eph 1:11; cf. 4:30). Here he means that the Holy Spirit is a covenant seal between us and God. If we have the Holy Spirit and do not quench his fire, we are in covenant with God through the blood of Christ. Or as Paul says elsewhere, we have been made partakers of the Kingdom of Light (Col 1:12-13). It is by the gift of the Holy Spirit that we partake in the blessings and reality of the Kingdom of God. As such, no one was born again into the Kingdom before Christ rose from the dead because the Spirit which communicates the Kingdom of God to us was not yet given.
Prior to Christ, no one could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in this way because Christ had not risen into heaven. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and man if flesh (Jn 3:6). Because Christ is now bodily raised into a glorified body of "life-giving Spirit" (1 Cor 15:45) he can mediate for us between God and man and he does this by giving us the Holy Spirit to testify to our spirit (Rom 8:15). Christ' glorified body which died on the cross is now risen in glory and characterized by the Spirit (1 Cor 15:42-45). This is why Paul says we are baptized in one Spirit into the body of Christ and all drink of the Spirit(1 Cor 12:13) and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is the freedom of God's Kingdom (2 Cor 3:17). The body of Christ is the temple of the Holy Spirit and when we are baptized in the Spirit we are baptized into his body. And because Jesus has risen from the dead, Peter tells the people on Pentecost they may now receive the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:28-39). Without Jesus rising from the dead, the Holy Spirit prophesied to come by the prophets could not be given to us as a gift of eternal inheritance. This gift of the Holy Spirit is the means by which we are born again into the Kingdom of God. Until the Spirit of promise was given as a gift of the eternal life of the Kingdom, no man could be born again. And the Spirit could not be given until Jesus was glorified, as John so plainly tells us.
It was only when Christ was bodily raised into heaven that the Jews could receive the Holy Spirit unto new birth and become partakers of the Kingdom. This is why there was so much excitement among the Jews at Pentecost. To be found "in Christ" means to be united to the risen Christ of glory through the Holy Spirit. It is when we have the Holy Spirit that we are said to be seated with Christ in the heavenlies. We are then with him and one with him in the unity of the Holy Spirit and in this way we are born again. Before Christ came to share our flesh and rise again in his humanity we could not receive the Spirit as a gift of God because we needed his mediation in this way to have that happen. And this is why Christ sent his Son to the Jews. As the Hebrew writer says,"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:14-18).There is no new birth without the incarnated and risen Christ who lives in bodily glory and his mediation between God and man. He became a man for this very purpose. In his sacrificial body is the atonement for our sins and the glory of the Spirit. For in his bodily glory all the fullness of God who is Spirit is pleased to dwell (Col 2:9). Because of this we may be born anew by the gift of the Holy Spirit he pours out upon us who have redemption in his blood.
"Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb 10:19-22).
If we need to see anything it is that the Kingdom only came when John the Baptist came and to enter the Kingdom one must be born again So how can one be born again into the Kingdom before the Kingdom arrives! There would not have been much point in John's preaching of the coming Kingdom if it had already been there. Thus, no one could be born again into the Kingdom until John the Baptist and Jesus came preaching "The Kingdom of God is at hand." The Kingdom was not in this world until Jesus came in the power of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom is only here in us and among us when we are born again by that same gift of the Holy Spirit because he is now risen in glory and is not present among us. Until the Kingdom came no one was born again and this is why the least in the Kingdom is greater than John. Yet many Old Testament Jews walked in faith and obeyed God proving the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity is totally false.
2. Repentance granted to Israel
When John came preaching the Kingdom he called all the Jews to repentance. Jesus taught that he only came for the lost house of Israel (Mt 15:24) and instructed his disciples not to go anywhere except to to the lost house of Israel to preach the good news of the Kingdom (Mt 10:5-6). This is also what the angel meant when he told Joseph to call the child of promise, "Jesus", because he would save his people from their sins (Mt 1:21). "Jesus" means "YaHWeH saves." He was sent to the Jews first to turn them from their ways (Acts 3:26) and to and to die for the nation of Israel (Jn 11:49-52) as a ransom for many (Mt 20:28) in order to confirm the promises made to their fathers (Rom 15:6) so that the Gentiles could come in and also share in these promises first made to Abraham (Gal 3:7-14; cf. Gen 12:1-4; 17:1-5). The law stood as a wall between Jews and the Gentiles because the Gentiles were outside the Law and therefore apart from the covenant God made with the Jews. When Jesus died and rose again the covenant of the Mosaic Law was abolished and nothing stood between the Jew and Gentile and Christ became their peace (Eph 2:14-16). So Christ had to come and die for the sins of Israel made under the covenant of the Mosaic Law and establish that covenant so that the Gentiles could then share in promises of God after he rose again apart from the Law.
Now, Peter tells us that God granted "repentance to Israel" through the resurrection of Christ(Acts 5:31). This in itself destroys the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity since it demonstrates that such repentance did not occur before in Israel although men walked in faith and obeyed God. Of course, seeking to nullify the passage some will say that repentance was indeed in Israel long before Christ came. For example, Ezekiel 18 describes how a man should repent and return to keeping the Mosaic Law. So the Calvinist might conclude that there were always those "regenerate" Jews who always had this repentance. But did they? The answer is absolutely, "No." This is why God granted it to them at this time. The illumination to this passage is found at Acts 11."As I [Peter] began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, "John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?" When they heard this they were silenced. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life."John the Baptist came preaching repentance to Israel. He came preaching a "baptism of repentance in water for the remission of sins" (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3; Acts 13:24; 19:4 cf. Acts 2:38). He was calling Israel to repentance. And when he baptized them in water for the remission of sins, he told them that after him would come someone who would baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire (Mt 3:11; Luke 3:16). This was Israel's repentance unto life. John called Israel to repentance in water so that after Jesus had died and rose again he would baptize them with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). The repentance to which John is referring was granted to Israel as it was also later granted to the Gentiles. He is not talking about an ability to stop sinning and turn from their former ways. Israel did that before. There were many Israelites who walked in repentance before Christ came but this was something new. The Greek word for "repentance" is metanoia which lieterally means a change of mindset. John was talking about a new mindset and turning from death to life which is why this repentance is referred to as "repentance unto life." That new life was in the Holy Spirit and John was talking about the repentance for remission of sins so that upon Jesus' death for those sins he might pour out the Holy Spirit upon them in his risen glory. This was something new and as such Israel was "granted repentance" through Christ. So John was calling them to this new mindset of the Spirit and the Kingdom of God. Christ came as a sacrifice of atonement for the sins they had committed under the law (Heb 9:15) and also confirm the promises God made to Abraham."And you shall call his name 'Jesus' for he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). "He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful, just as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed.... "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and made redemption for his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, just as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; to make mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant, the oath which he swore to our father Abraham" (Luke 1:68-73).
In the following topic (No. 3)this Biblical concept will become much clearer. For now, we can see that Israel was granted something Israel did not have before - repentance unto life through Christ's death and resurrection. And again we see that the doctrine of Total Depravity falls apart. Old Testament believers walked in faith and repentance long before Christ apart from this new repentance unto life in the Holy Spirit. This repentance unto life is obviously the new birth where one can now enjoy through the Spirit, the Kingdom life which John came preaching. And again, the Kingdom life was present in Jesus while he walked the earth in the power of the Holy Spirit. But not until he rose again would anyone receive the Spirit to new birth to now enjoy his Kingdom blessings.
3. From the ministry of death under the Law to Life in the Spirit in Christ.
Now, we move on to another powerful proof that the new birth and new life in the Spirit did not come until the advent of Christ. Paul makes numerous references to the Jews being under the old covenant of the Mosaic Law, as opposed to the New Covenant in Jesus' blood. And he also repeatedly tells us the life in the Spirit which comes with the new covenant of Christ was something which was only made available to the Jews after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This again decisively disproves the Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity. Many Jews were faithful to God before Christ was even born.
Here more understanding to the "repentance unto life" which was granted to the Jews. Through Christ they could now turn from their old ways under the Law and its fleshly ordinances, and die to the Mosaic Law and the reign of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and live in the new way of the Holy Spirit (Rom 7:6).
[Under Construction. Much much more coming soon........]