(Read Part 5)
The Implementation of the Unifying Principle: The Dispensations (Continued)
6A. The Dispensation of Grace: From Pentecost to the Second Coming of Christ
1b. The New Revelation From God
The new revelation from God was the grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Jesus of Nazareth was Emmanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14). He was God in the flesh (John 1:14)—a one-for-one revelation of the Father (John 14:9), the very embodiment of the Godhead (Col. 2:9). The new revelation that came at this juncture entailed all the accomplishments, commands, injunctions and mandates that came with the life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, present session and future return of Jesus Christ. Included in this is the broad area of truth concerning the New Testament church both in its universal and local aspects.
2b. The Goal of the Dispensation
1c. Fellowship With God
To walk with the sovereign God in loving fellowship in this economy is predicated on personal faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). Saving faith now comprehends Jesus of Nazareth as the only way to the Father and salvation (Acts 4:12), i.e., it comprehends His cross work and its Divine validation by His resurrection from the dead (Rom. 10:9). Christ is the “new and living way” to the Father (Heb. 10:20); there is no other way. He is the personified Seed of the woman who crushed the serpent’s head and made full and final provision for God and man to be in fellowship (John 12:31; 16:11; Heb. 2:14).
2c. The Rule of God
The rule of God over the earth in the present dispensation of grace is being mediated principally through the institution of the New Testament church. The era of the gospels, the closing years of the dispensation of law, saw the coming of Jesus Christ, the messianic king on whose shoulders the government of the world would eventually rest (Isa. 9:6). He offered Himself to Israel as her promised king and, in so doing, offered the nation the prophesied messianic kingdom (Matt. 12:28; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 17:21). His kingdom was rejected and postponed/delayed to the end times (Matt. 21:43; John 19:15). The chief instrumentality of God’s work and witness in the ensuing dispensation of grace, i.e., during the interregnum of the king’s absence, is the New Testament church (1 Tim. 3:15).
The church is composed of both Jews and Gentiles called out by God as a people for His name (Acts 15:14). The church is a unique organism in which Jew and Gentile are on a plane of equality before God, i.e., there are no ethnic, social or gender preferences before God in the composition of the body of Christ in its universal and local aspects (Gal. 3:28; Eph. 2:6). The church is the bride and wife-to-be of the messianic king Himself, destined as such to be co-regent with Him on David’s throne in the messianic reign (Rev. 3:21). Meanwhile, the church mediates the will and rule of God on earth principally in its proclamation of the truth of God, and in the salt and light of its individual people in civil society (Matt. 5:13-16; 28:18-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). As a member of both church and state, i.e., in a spiritual and civil capacity, man is to fulfill the dominion mandate in exercising lordship over the creation to the glory of God. Every thought is to be captivated to obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). From the Melchizidekian right hand rule on the Father’s throne, Jesus dispenses spiritual blessings and enablings to His people (Ps. 110:4; Acts 2:33-35; Heb. 6:20; 7:1ff; 8:1ff). These are to be translated into good works which “glorify your Father” (Matt. 5:16) and become “the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14).
Human government still has the obligation to restrain sin, punish evildoers and cause righteousness to prevail in an orderly society (Rom. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).
As far as God visibly or symbolically dwelling among men in this economy is concerned, there is none, and there will be none until the consummation when Christ raptures His church and later comes to earth to dwell among mankind for 1,000 years. In this present dispensation of grace, the Holy Spirit—through a personal indwelling of Christians—mediates the things of Christ (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7; Col. 1:27), but there are no theophanies, Christophanies or any other visible manifestations and symbols of God’s presence on earth.
(To be continued)
Dr. Rolland D. McCune served at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary from 1981 to 2009 as professor of systematic theology, dean of the faculty and president. He previously taught at Central Baptist Seminary for 14 years. He is the author of A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity, 3 vols. (Allen Park, MI: DBTS, 2008-2010) as well as other books and many journal articles. It is a truly a blessing to include him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.
Copyright © 2016 by Dr. Rolland D. McCune. Used by permission of the author.
Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995
by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
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