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Dispensational Theology:  What should everyone know about it? 

Gary Googe Dec 28

One of the best books in my library is A Dispensational Theology by Charles F. Baker.  I first discovered it in 1981 and have cherished it ever since.  But exactly what is a dispensation? The word itself is not even found in many translations of the Bible, but it is correct as it stands in the King James Version (the KJV).  This word dispensation and its correct meaning should be understood by every believer.  This is one place of many where the King James Version of the Bible should be accepted as is without reservations.

Ephesians 3:1-3

1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [Emphasis added]

The Greek word that’s been translated dispensation is OIKONOMIA.  This is a compound noun that literally means household law.  OIKOS means house and NOMIA comes from the word NOMOS which means law.  In the Bible the combination of these words represents the rules and regulations that apply in a particular time frame.  Some mistakenly think a dispensation is a period of time.  Instead, it is more to do with God’s policies in a particular time frame.  In this case, we’re talking about God’s rules and regulations for His people in our time today which is spoken of in the above Scripture passage—the Dispensation of the Grace of God. The reason for it being called a dispensation of grace is to do with the fact that God, instead of “dispensing” judgment upon mankind because of his unbelief and rejection of God’s provision, dispensed grace.  So far this dispensation of grace has been going on for roughly two thousand years. How long it will last is a part of what is said to be a “mystery” [MUSTERION = mystery or secret] known only to God.  

Again, Ephesians 3:3

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me [Paul] the mystery [MUSTERION = secret]; (as I wrote afore in few words, [Emphasis added]

God’s gracious provisions in this period of history were totally unknown to the prophets of old.  This includes things like the universal indwelling of the Holy Spirit for all believers, being made a member of the “Body of Christ” with Christ as our Head, and more. The prophets of old knew nothing about all this and, therefore, they wrote nothing about it.  For more information about this, please see my articles about it on this website.

Paul:  Do we make too much of him?

Paul:  What’s so special about his teaching?

This “secret” was first revealed to the one called the apostle Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles.

Romans 11:13

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify [MEGALUNO = make great or emphasize] mine office: [Emphasis added]

With the revelation given to Paul, the Mosaic Law was completely set aside as the means for expressing one’s faith for salvation and one’s spirituality.

Romans 6:14-15

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

This doesn’t provide us with a license to sin, but good reason to serve our gracious God and Savior.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [ME GENOITO = may it not be]. [Emphasis added]

For salvation today, man must accept the message given to Paul about the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is only by faith in this work He did for us that everlasting salvation can be gained.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel [EUAGGEALION = good news] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

In this chapter Paul is addressing the false claim that there is no resurrection. Here he’s telling them that if that was true, their faith in Christ for salvation was “in vain.”

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

The fact that our gospel, the means to our salvation today, is nowhere to be found in the so-called gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John] usually comes as a great surprise to people.  The history of the cross and resurrection occurring is clearly there, but not the explanation of what was being accomplished in these events.  To find a full explanation of that one must go to the writings of the apostle Paul.  It is there that we find that it was on the cross that Jesus Christ bore our sins and the sins of all mankind, completely satisfying the payment God’s justice demanded for them.  Furthermore, it is only there that we find that He was raised for our justification.

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 For he [God the Father] hath made him [Jesus Christ]  to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

For more information about all this, please see my article that’s devoted to this subject.

Jesus Christ: For whom did He die?

Even the apostle John touches on what Christ accomplished on the cross.

1 John 2:1-2

1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

2 And he is the propitiation [the One who satisfied the just demands of God] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [Emphasis added]

Yes, His payment on the cross of Calvary satisfied the justice of God for all man’s sins, for even those who will never accept Him as their Savior.  But Jesus bearing the sins of the entire world does not mean everyone is saved; it just means everyone is savable.  Any time anyone is receptive of what He did for them, they are immediately saved forever.  Man’s own works of righteousness can’t provide this.  We could never do anything that would make us worthy of such a wonderful gift.  Salvation is solely a matter of God’s gracious provision.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]

When anyone responds with faith to this provision of God they are then completely reconciled to God and saved forever from eternal condemnation.

2 Corinthians 5:19-20

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them [all our sins were instead held against Christ, not us]; and hath committed unto us [speaking of what is truly our commission] the word [or message] of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors [personal representatives] for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [Emphasis added]

It is this message that we’ve been commissioned to pass on to others so that they might be saved.  When someone believes it, they are reconciled to God and saved forever. In Heaven we’ll be generously rewarded for having shared this message with them.

1 Corinthians 9:17

17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. [Emphasis added]

It is in this sense that all believers have been made ministers, not just some.

Colossians 1:25-26

25 Whereof I am made a minister [DIAKONOS = minister or servant], according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [Emphasis added]

This Dispensation of Grace began with the salvation of the man spoken of as the apostle Paul.  He was the first one of many.

1 Timothy 1:15-16

15 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.

16 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. [Emphasis added]

Again, our present dispensation began with the salvation of the apostle Paul.  It will end with what is called the Rapture.  For more information about this very important event, you can read my articles about it on this website.

Rapture: What is the meaning of this term?

Rapture: How is it different from the Second Coming?

Before our time and after our time there are other dispensations. You’ll find articles about all this on this website.

Dispensation: What does this term mean?

Dispensation: How is this defined in the Bible?

Bible: What is the Dispensation of Grace?

Dispensation: When did ours begin?

Dispensations: Why do so few churches teach about this?

There are eight dispensations taught in the Bible.  They all have their own characteristics. Each of them can be broken down into sub-sections.  Historically people have given different titles for them, but this is the way I list them.

The Dispensation of Innocence

The Dispensation of Conscience

The Dispensation of Human Government

The Dispensation of Promise

The Dispensation of Law

The Dispensation of Grace

The Dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom

The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times

All of these have their own time frame and their own distinct features.  There’s some overlap in policies, but they are all different.  In each one we see God’s demands upon His people for salvation and concerning their manner of life.  It is because there have been differences of beliefs concerning all this that we have denominationalism today.  It is important that we sort all this out to have a clear understanding of the means to our salvation and information about the manner of life God desires us to live.  We are currently in the time frame of the sixth dispensation, the Dispensation of the Grace of God. Through the writings of the apostle Paul in his thirteen epistles [Romans to Philemon] much has been provided for us to know and believe about our time, even the fact that there will be a final time called the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.

Ephesians 1:9-11

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [Emphasis added]

All God’s people of any one of these times have much to look forward to enjoying forever.  Please be sure you’re not one who will miss out on it.

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