Sunday, October 24, 2010

Two Dispensations: Kingdom and Grace (Mystery) #4

In this article, we wish to examine the Dispensation of the Grace of God (Eph 3:2), also known as the Dispensation of the Mystery (Eph 3:9). Just as a nation was called out from among the nations by God's call to Abram when Abram dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees and this "peculiar" nation came to be called Israel, a group of God's creatures were called out from among all creatures to become members of a Church known as ".....the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all".(Eph 1:22,23) . Paul tells us some very specific things about this church in his prison epistles such as when it was called, membership requirements, the makeup of its members, its ultimate purpose and position in God's plan for the ages. With each dispensation, God has a strategic plan and included in these plans are the agents that will be used to accomplish the goals and objectives God has seen fit to achieve.

The objective that God has purposed in Israel is to be His agents in the redemption of the earth. The objective of the the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (CHURCH), as purposed by God in His Strategic Plan, is to make known unto Principalities and Powers the manifold (multi-faceted) wisdom of God (Eph 3:10)--two Dispensations each with a distinctive purpose, yet all in harmony with God's Purpose for the Ages. Simply said, God's overall objective is to deal with and eliminate the element of sin from His creatures lives in order that they may live with Him in the Age of Ages free from the devastating effects of sin.

So when did Paul begin to share God's revelation to him regarding the purpose of the CHURCH? During the first part of Paul's ministry as detailed by Luke in the book of Acts, Paul wrote seven epistles(letters)to various groups of believers. Luke specifically records Paul's objectives of the ministry as Paul was ALWAYS preaching and teaching to the "Jew first, and then the Gentile". These seven books(I and II Corinthians, I and II Thessalonians, Galatians, Romans, and Hebrews)continue the message brought to Israel by the Lord Jesus regarding the Kingdom of Heaven and the events precedent to its commencement. Israel was the primary agent of God's redemptive plan for the nations and He was now speaking to the Jew primarily through the 12 disciples, but now Paul has been specifically charged with offering this Gospel message to the Gentile. In Romans, Paul uses the example of a "wild olive branch" to describe God's purpose in expanding this Kingdom gospel to the Gentiles. And again, this ministry given to Paul by God at this time concerns only the redemption process God has for the Earth--nowhere will be found in these seven epistles any hint of God's purpose in dealing with His redemptive purpose for the Heavens. It was only after the Acts period ABRUPTLY ended (Acts 28), did Paul begin to lay forth this Heavenly Plan to another called group--the CHURCH described in Ephesians Chapter One. In fact, one can search all of scripture exclusive of the Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, I and II Timothy, Titus, and Philemon), that is the 59 other Books of Scripture, and find no hint of God's Heavenly Plan. Why? It was a SECRET! Why was it a SECRET? We look in the Book of Job and find that:...the Stars are not pure in His sight (Job 25:5)and this impurity in the Heavens had to be dealt with!

But now in examining this new message of Paul, totally distinct from his Act's Ministry message, we begin to find the Strategic Plan of God regarding the Heavens unveiled. First we find that these believers to whom Paul was writing had been blessed, in Christ, with all Spiritual Blessings in heavenly places. They had been chosen in Christ "before the foundation of the world". This phrase will be examined in detail in our next article, but suffice it to say the the Greek words for foundation and world are katabole and kosmos and this choosing by Divine Purpose had been BEFORE the event known as the "foundation of the world". We will discuss the translation of these two Greek words into English in our next article. This group was chosen "holy and without blame before Him in love" and adopted as "sons" because this group was "highly favoured" by God (Eph 1:4-6). This group of believers were to play a most important role in the completion of God's overall plan for the ages (Eph 1:10). Keep in mind that God had given NO hint of this part of His Strategic Plan until this time when he revealed to Paul its content that is NOW shared. It was a SECRET. This Dispensation called both the Grace of God and The Mystery(secret), (Eph 3:2 and 3:9) was a paradigm shift of such dynamic and stunning proportions that all beings, human and spiritual, must stand in awe at its revelation! As one grasps its full content, all doubts as to what God has purposed from the beginning vanish. All doubts as to the veracity of His Word must vanish. All doubts as to whether God is a God of Love vanish. The key to understanding all that God will accomplish during these age times has been revealed and the believer who accepts this great Strategic Plan of God receives comfort and peace of mind when considering his relationship to our Great God.

Obviously, more to come!

Blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord and the Head of the Church which is His Body!