Christianity 201

December 26, 2018

Did the Birth of Christ Commence a New Dispensation?

For today’s thoughts, we’re turning to two different articles at a site we’ve visited before, The Christian Courier. Click the individual titles to read each in full. Both articles are by Wayne Jackson.

What is the difference between Bible dispensations and the doctrine of dispensationalism?

What Is a Bible Dispensation?

The Greek word oikonomia is rendered “dispensation” several times in the New Testament (see 1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; 3:2, 9; Col. 1:25).

Sometimes the word suggests the idea of managing a household and is rendered as “stewardship” (Lk. 16:2, 3, 4; 1 Cor. 9:17). On other occasions, the word implies a plan that has been arranged (Eph. 1:10; 3:9). The term may suggest appropriate training in divine instruction (1 Tim. 1:4).

In popular usage, the word dispensation often refers to a period of time. In Bible parlance, it frequently refers to the major epochs of time in which God has operated in implementing the plan of redemption.

The Patriarchal Dispensation

The Patriarchal Dispensation extended from the creation to the commencement of the Mosaic period, at which point God selected the Hebrews as a special people through whom he would send the Christ (Gen. 12:1ff; Dt. 7:6).

In the patriarchal age, God spoke to man through select prophets. Worship was administered by the fathers of each family (cf. Job 1).

The Mosaic Dispensation

The Mosaic Dispensation began at Sinai, when Jehovah gave the law of Moses to the Hebrews. By doing so, he separated them from the other nations of the world as his own special people. They would be a redemptive tool preliminary to the sending of his Son (Gal. 3:24-25; 4:4).

Only Israel was under this code. The balance of humanity remained under the patriarchal system. The Mosaic religion was terminated at the cross (Col. 2:14ff). It ended in a political sense with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

The Christian Dispensation

The Christian Dispensation began on the day of Pentecost and will be terminated at the return of Christ (Isa. 2:2-4; Dan. 2:44; Joel 2:28-30; 1 Cor. 15:24-26). At that point, the eternal order of all things will be set.

Note that the author asserts that The Christian Dispensation is beginning at Pentecost, not at Christ’s Birth.

at this point the article continues to address the issue in its title, concerning the doctrine of Dispensationalism. Since that’s not part of our discussion today, let’s look at the second article.

Are the Gospels a Part of the New Testament?

“The law and the prophets were until John …”

The New Testament is perfectly clear in its teaching that, commencing with the ministry of John the Immerser, a new era of instruction was being progressively implemented by divine authority. This time frame constituted a transitional period. During these days, certain instructions pertaining to the coming kingdom of Christ were taught by the Lord and his apostles. Of course, the formalities of the Mosaic regime were still in force technically, and would remain so until the Law was finally “nailed to the cross” (Col. 2:14; cf. Eph. 2:14-15).

For example, Jesus declared: “The law and the prophets were until John: from that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and every man enters violently into it” (Lk. 16:16)…

The New Birth: Old Testament or New Testament?

To contend that the teaching within the Gospel accounts is not applicable to those of the Christian age would reflect a manifest absurdity. Christ taught, for example, that men must satisfy the conditions of the “born again” operation in order to enter the kingdom (Jn. 3:3-5).

That this process had an after-Pentecost application is obvious from the following facts. The Lord’s kingdom did not arrive until Pentecost (Mk. 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2:4), and the saints of the post-Mosaic period throughout the Middle East had undergone this “birth” procedure in obtaining their salvation (cf. 1 Pet. 1:1-2).

Hence, the “new birth” procedure taught by Christ in the “Gospels” had a post-Gospels application.

“Tell it to the church”

Then consider the following admonition from the Son of God.

“And if your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone: if he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he hears you not, take with you one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church: and if he refuses to hear the church also, let him be unto you as the Gentile and the publican (emphasis added).”

Here is a context that can have no application until the day of Pentecost and the establishment of the church. This fact alone destroys the baseless assertion that nothing in the Gospel narratives is applicable after the advent of the Christian age (unless repeated in Acts through Revelation)…

Again note the terms “progressive” and “transitional.” With the birth of Christ, something new is stirring, but it has yet to be revealed until Jesus begins his earthly ministry, and it comes to fruition at Pentecost, the birth of the Church.

 

 

March 15, 2015

Where Does the Old Testament Law Apply in New Testament Times?

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:25 pm
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We continue with the weekend theme Greg started yesterday; this is from the blog Having Life, written by Robbie in South Africa.  Click the title below to read at source.

Is the Old Testament Law Still Applicable to me as a Christian?

 

I met a Christian the other day on campus and he was speaking about him not needing to keep the law because he’s been saved by grace. “The law is gone right? There’s only the grace of God who saved us.” And didn’t Paul say in Romans 10:4 that “Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Then I thought that there’s the other side where Christians try to keep the law because in Matthew 5:17 the Lord Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” And there’s this urge within us to be really good and to keep a requirement that someone put on us. So that’s why some people try to keep the law given to us.

Then another party may say “well there’s your proof that the bible is fake, the bible contradicts itself clearly in these two verses, the one says the law is over but the other that it needs to be fulfilled”

Just read on. The bible isn’t as black and white as it appears here. This is how I see this situation. So the way God dealt with His people in the Old Testament was according to the law; that was the basis for Him in receiving them. But in the New Testament the principle of how God deals with us is different; it’s by faith. We are believers who have faith in Christ, and that justifies us before God. That’s all He requires from us in the way He deals with us today.

What has ended is the principle of how God deals with people; He does it according to faith, not the law as He used to. Another thing that’s over are the rituals of the law that were meant to be kept, like offering sacrifices at the temple and keeping the Sabbath – so the “ritual law” is over, too. But the commandments of the law haven’t been done away with, in fact they’ve been uplifted to higher standard than they were before. This is seen in Matthew 5 where for example the Lord said not only to not murder someone, but to not even be angry with them in their heart. It’s Impossible right!? So here the Lord definitely didn’t remove the law in the way of “morals”, or the moral law. He actually made it higher and harder to keep. He definitely doesn’t want lawless people in His kingdom.

So when reading Matthew 5 of things like committing adultery not just being the physical act, but actually it being to look at a woman lustfully, what’s your response? Are we going to say “but there’s grace so it’s okay”, or will you say “let me try harder to not do it”? If you have the “it’s impossible, I’m hopeless, I know I’ll fail” response then you’re on the right track.

The Lord knows we aren’t able to keep His very high requirements, so the way we need to read them is not just as requirements but to see them as the capability of His life that is able to meet the demands that He places on us. However high the demand is, that’s how much the Lord can do for us by His divine life in us. Whatever He demands, that’s how much He can do.

Quick recap – Yes God does deal with us by faith through grace. The “ritual law” is over; we don’t need to offer up bulls anymore. But the “moral law” still exists and it’s higher than before, making it impossible for us to keep by trying – so it seems we are in a dilemma.

Okay, so here’s the drum roll verse to put the cherry on top of it all. Romans 8:4that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.” This is God’s thought here, the law can be fulfilled by us, it is possible, but it’s by those who see their own life as hopeless, they realize they can’t make it, and they choose the Lord’s divine life by walking according to the Spirit.

When we flee to Jesus to walk according to the Spirit then His life can do all that is required to live in His kingdom. So yes, the law is still here, we are not exempt from it, and until we stop trying by our natural life to keep it and learn to walk by the spirit in constant fellowship with God then we’ll keep falling short. The point is to walk according to the Spirit. This is quite an aspiration to have. And surely if you love someone you’ll walk by them.