Understanding the Concept of Dispensation
The term dispensation refers to a specific way in which God interacts with mankind during a particular period. Throughout history, God’s interactions have changed based on His divine plan and humanity’s spiritual condition.
Definition of Dispensation
In the realm of theology, “dispensation” is derived from the concept to “dispense” or distribute. It signifies a distinct and ordered way of God dealing with humanity. These periods aren’t merely about time but are defined by a commandment or set of guidelines God sets for human conduct. The dispensation of grace, for instance, is a time when God dispenses His grace, primarily through faith in Jesus Christ, as opposed to strict adherence to laws.
|Age of Law
|Guided by Mosaic law and commandments
|Dispensation of Grace
|Salvation through faith and grace of God
|God’s wrath and judgment
The Dispensation of Grace
The Significance of the Dispensation of Grace
The age of grace, as it’s often termed, stands out as a testament to God’s benevolence. Unlike previous eras where salvation was predominantly through adherence to the law, this dispensation heralds the acceptance of grace as the means of salvation. Key scriptures in Ephesians and Romans elucidate this transformation, underscoring the importance of faith in Jesus Christ.
- Key Aspects:
- Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
- The Holy Spirit indwelling believers as a seal of their salvation.
- Forgiveness of sin without the stringent need for sacrifices.
The Role of Sin in the Dispensation of Grace
Sin has always been a barrier between man and God. However, during the dispensation of grace, Jesus Christ bridged this gap. Believers now have direct access to the Father, not because of their deeds, but due to the sacrifice of Jesus. The book of Romans particularly sheds light on how sinners are justified by faith, emphasizing God’s grace rather than human works.
The Message of Grace in the Book of Romans
The epistle to the Romans, penned by Paul, offers profound insights into this dispensation. Paul’s ministry was pivotal in explaining the transition from the law to grace. He elucidated:
- Romans 3:23-24: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
- Romans 6:14: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
|“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
|Details the Day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, marking the inception of the church age.
The Ministry of Grace
The ministry of grace is not just a theological concept but a transformative experience for believers. Rooted in the teachings of the apostles, especially Paul, this ministry underscores the essence of God’s benevolence and longsuffering towards humanity.
Understanding the Ministry of Grace
The ministry of grace is God’s initiative to reach out to sinners through the gospel of Jesus Christ. This divine outreach goes beyond mere doctrine; it encapsulates God’s dealings with humanity, emphasizing His unmerited favor.
- Core Elements:
- What is Grace?: Unearned favor, underscoring the Lord’s magnanimity.
- Holy Spirit Indwelling: A testimony of God’s presence in believers.
- Gospel: The good news of Christ Jesus that brings salvation.
The Importance of the Dispensation of Grace in Guiding Our Actions
This dispensation, as highlighted in 1 Corinthians and Titus, plays a pivotal role in guiding believers’ actions. It’s not about adhering to rituals but embracing a life led by the Spirit. Romans illuminates this, stating that believers are no longer under the law but grace, emphasizing a life of faith and love over ritualistic legalism.
- Forgiveness: Recognizing our flaws and seeking mercy.
- Longsuffering: Emulating God’s patience in our interactions.
- Benevolence: Demonstrating God’s love in our actions and attitudes.
Living Under the Dispensation of Grace
Living under this dispensation is not about complacency but active faith. Galatians reminds us that we’ve been set free, not to indulge in sin, but to serve one another in love. This era beckons believers to a life of fellowship, service, and spiritual growth, underpinned by the teachings of the apostles and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
|Ephesians (Eph) 4:7
|“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”
|Paul’s exhortation to prayer and intercession, highlighting the role of believers in this dispensation.
Embracing the Dispensation of Grace
Embracing the dispensation of grace is more than mere acknowledgment; it is a transformative journey of faith, hope, and love. As believers step into this era of unparalleled favor, they are beckoned to navigate their paths in sync with God’s revealed truth.
Revelation of God’s Grace
The dispensation of grace was not a clandestine move by the Creator. Scriptures, especially in Ephesians and Romans, make it evident that God intended this period as a profound revelation of His love. This era is distinct, not because of its departure from the law but due to its embodiment of God’s grace and kindness.
- Key Revelations:
- Jesus Christ: The cornerstone of this dispensation of grace, offering salvation to all.
- Holy Spirit: A seal and guide, ensuring believers remain on the righteous path.
- Gospel: A testament to God’s redemptive plan for mankind.
Rejecting Rebellion in Favor of Grace
The history of humanity is marred with rebellion against divine commandments. However, this dispensation offers a chance to renounce rebellion and embrace the benevolence of the Lord. Acts 2, detailing the Day of Pentecost, is a pivotal moment, marking the onset of this age where grace triumphs over judgment.
Applying the Dispensation of Grace in Our Lives
The call is clear: believers are not merely to comprehend this grace but to embody it. It’s not about passive acceptance but active application. The letters to Timothy and Titus emphasize righteous living, urging believers to showcase God’s grace in every facet of their lives.
- Guidelines for Believers:
- Confess and forsake sins, understanding that forgiveness is a gift.
- Engage in fellowship, understanding the body of Christ as a unified entity.
- Continuously seek spiritual growth, drawing from scriptures and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
|“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
|1 Corinthians 15:10
|“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the Dispensation of Grace different from previous dispensations?
The Dispensation of Grace is unique because it is primarily focused on the Gentiles, whereas previous dispensations were primarily focused on the nation of Israel. In this dispensation, God is building His church composed of both Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
When did the Dispensation of Grace begin?
The Dispensation of Grace began after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was made known to the Apostle Paul, who was chosen by God to reveal the mystery of God’s plan for the Gentiles.
What is the significance of the Dispensation of Grace?
The Dispensation of Grace is significant because it reveals God’s undeserving grace and His plan to save all people, both Jews and Gentiles, through faith in Jesus Christ. It is a time of incredible mercy and forgiveness for all who believe.
Does the Dispensation of Grace negate the Law given to Moses?
No, the Dispensation of Grace does not negate the Law given to Moses. Rather, it fulfills the Law by offering salvation and sanctification through faith in Jesus Christ. The Law serves as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but we are justified by grace through faith.
How does the Dispensation of Grace impact believers today?
The Dispensation of Grace offers hope and assurance to believers today. It assures us that we are saved by God’s grace apart from our own works and that we are secure in our salvation. It also empowers us to live a life of holiness and service to God.
What does the Dispensation of Grace teach us about the future?
The Dispensation of Grace teaches us that there is a coming time of judgment and tribulation called the “last days” or the “end times.” It also teaches us that Jesus Christ will return to rapture the Church and establish His kingdom on earth, fulfilling all the prophecies given in the Old Testament.
How should believers respond to the Dispensation of Grace?
Believers should respond to the Dispensation of Grace with gratitude, awe, and a deep desire to live in a manner that is pleasing to God. We should share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and strive to grow in our relationship with Him.