If you were to ask the Antinomian or Arminian if there was a change in the nature of God progressing from the Old Testament to the New Testament, they would not have an answer that is grounded in sound thinking. People such as these question God’s Sovereignty in the election of His people in the New Testament and the election which is right in their face in the Old Testament is excused with view leaning towards the Dispensationalist.
Reading through the Old Testament, one can see that the prophets warned His people about the punitive justice of God that would come upon them for their apostasy. God used the heathen nations to strike strong reproof on this Nation He chose. The thing is today people who claim to believe in Jesus resort to the dialoguing tool of free will that ‘man chooses Christ’. The question that arises from this is that if man can truly choose Christ then it will seem that free will came into existence only with the New Testament revelation and human volition was nonexistent with the Old Testament saints. Yes, man does have free will but like everything else free will exist and has its meaning only under the Sovereign will of God. For all things that exist work to glorify His attributes of justice, mercy, love, wrath etc. equally. So as the Bible says that God does all things to meet His own purpose, free will was given to man to make man morally accountable to God and it so happens that what God decrees, man freely chooses, where it is the intentions that rival God that are judged for such is shown in Isaiah 10.
The Bible says that God reproves the people whom He loves and we see even in the New Testament that a rebellious believer is given over to Satan that he may be saved from eternal fire (1 Cor 5:5). Taking a run through history, it is seen that when the Church carelessly dealt with rampant corruption of sound Biblical doctrine that was the very time She was smitten. I will agree that ‘the blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church’ but how would you define a Martyr? If you care to notice: the Martyrs were the seeming minority against the seeming majority of the people of God. As the Bible says, it is the people who take the life of believers, who are under the notion that it is a good thing they are doing for God (John 16:2). We see that so much even today that the Church is attacked not only by pseudo religious extremist but also by those who claim to be the Church.
When God smote his people in the Old Testament, the prophets would cry out calling the people to repentance and those foreordained repented wearing ashes and sack cloth. Today when God smites nations, who earlier had a good foundational relationship with Him through His Son Jesus, there is never a call of repentance unto Christ but there is a call to action supposedly. The reprobate think, they never offended the aggressor to the extent of deserving such an onslaught and so unbelief rules where God becomes non-existent and the people never acknowledge their sin against God but play the blame game instead. Unbelief fails to see the aggressors as God’s punitive justice; this is the same unbelief of the people who failed to respond in repentance to the cries of the prophets in the Old Testament. However the aggressors are as much in God’s control (Gen 15:16) as are natural catastrophes, which will exist only until His full purpose with them is accomplished.
When we think of Jesus’ words on the cross: Father forgive them for they know not what they do! One feels the need to discern on whose behalf is He making this intercessory prayer? Considering that Christ died for the sins of His people, one can conclude that He as the only mediator between God and man is making this prayer for the Church that the elect among the Jews and Gentiles may receive the Spirit of Repentance and no longer continue in their apostate rebellion.
6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.
What makes a person believe in Jesus and come to repentance is receiving the Holy Spirit, Whom God sends to His foreordained elect. The believer is known when he is transformed each day into Christ likeness, which is the work of the Holy Spirit. However many apostate denomination relate the work of the Spirit largely with un-interpretable gibberish. Had the gift of tongues existed today as it did with the early Church, it would testify of that Spiritual body as being from God, which today observing the Charismatics seems to speak otherwise.
As Isaiah 53 credits even the salvation of the Old Testament Saints to Christ’ work on the cross, we can say that the Church has existed since Adam and even before that in the mind of God. As everything works for the good of those whom He has called according to His purpose, even the harshest of admonishing and considered but birth pains (Romans 8:22), for the world is heading for its renewal and restoration in Christ.