Part 2 of 2: The Dispensation of Grace
The dictionary definition of dispensation is a divinely ordained order prevailing at a particular period of time. For the purpose of our study that pretty well sums up what we’re trying to define; what is the period of time we’re currently in and what are the instructions for that dispensation?
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward
The simplest way to understand the current dispensation is to look at how Scripture is broken down in Ephesians chapter 2; “times past”, “but now”, and “things to come”. It’s been a long time, but we’re still in the “but now” timeframe, that is, the dispensation of the grace of God. This current dispensation of grace started with the Apostle Paul being the “chief sinner”, as in the first, to be become a member of the church, the Body of Christ (1 Timothy 1:15; Acts 9). The dispensation will end with the church being caught up together with the Lord in the clouds.
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Jesus Himself made it clear that his earthly ministry was for the nation of Israel.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And His instructions to the 12 Apostles:
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
The idea that there is a set of instructions for all believers today that is different than those given to Israel is not something new. The very first Christian churches were dispensational. Paul urges the early Christian churches not to put themselves back under the law of Moses. He explains that grace much more abounds.
Galatians 2:16, 20-21
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Romans 5:12, 19-21
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
If you rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15), you’ll find there are no contradictions in the Bible and you don’t have to settle that some things are hard to be understood. Before you look to Scripture next ask yourself these questions:
1. Who was this written to?
2. When was it written?
3. And what does it say to do?
When you study the Bible with those questions in mind there is a richness and clarity to the Bible that truly is a beautiful thing.
Join us for our weekly Bible study to learn more about the local church and your role in it.
Wednesdays - 5:30pm in the Rhinelander Goodwill Community Room