Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dispensation of the grace of God

I have long believed and taught that the current dispensation of grace began in Acts 9.  I have been looking at this in depth lately and, while I do believe that Paul was the first member of the Body of Christ, I'm thinking that the dispensation didn't start until Acts 13, when Paul and Barnabas were first sent out by God to the Gentiles. 

What do you think?"

The present dispensation of God's Grace began in Acts 9 with the salvation of Saul of Tarsus/our Apostle Paul. I have studied out the Acts 13 viewpoint many years ago and I had to dismiss it for the following reasons.

First, Paul, in his own words says that it began the moment of his salvation.

1 Timothy 1:15-16
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

So, if you look at this verse closely, our Apostle makes it crystal clear that what our Lord Jesus did when he saved Paul on the road to Damascus, He was doing was something new. Paul was the chief or first in the line of sinners saved in this present dispensation of God's Grace. Paul was the first one saved in this dispensation, and Paul was the pattern for every subsequent sinner who puts their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore to me, the dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ began in Acts 9.

Next, because Saul committed the "Unpardonable Sin," and therefore could not be saved either under the dispensation that he lived under before his salvation, nor the dispensation of the earthly kingdom of our Lord that was coming, God had to begin a new dispensation, the Mystery dispensation of God's grace that we currently live under!

Matthew 12:31-32
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Again, because Paul himself says in 1 Timothy that he was a blasphemer, and he was right there leading the persecution and the opposition in Acts 7 when the religious leaders stoned Stephen, a man filled with the Holy Ghost. The Lord says that Paul could not be saved under that dispensation, nor the one future from us!

Finally, Paul did not begin his preaching ministry in Acts 13, he began it in Acts 9. What took place in chapter 13 was that he was separated from all the other Jewish believers in Antioch, and began to go out far hence to the other different gentile lands!

Acts 9:20
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Paul was not only to preach to gentiles, but he was to preach to all the lost, both Jew and Gentile, aka the heathen!

That is what the Lord Himself says when he saved and commissioned him.

Acts 9:15
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

So Paul was to preach to all  the lost world, both gentile and Jews living in the gentile lands.

Romans 11:13-14
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

1 Corinthians 9:19-20
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

So for all the above reasons, I believe that the present dispensation of God's Grace and the church, the Body of Christ began in Acts 9 with the salvation and commissioning of our Apostle Paul and not in Acts 13.  But…

Romans 14:5b
…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Hopefully this helps!

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