Part 8 of 17 – 

Considering Dispensational Contrast


Under the Mosaic Law, if one broke the Sabbath he should be stoned to death. Exodus 31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death Though keeping the Sabbath Holy is one of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses for Israel, Paul says the grace church members should not be particularly concerned the opinions of others concerning our relationship to the Sabbath or any other of The Law’s external requirements. Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Paul here is actually saying we today, under grace, need not keep one of The Ten Commandments given by God Himself to Israel, through Moses. By this example we see a major change in dispensation, from Law to Grace.

Most believers are denied the facts they can learn by seeing that God has dealt with humanity via several different dispensational “God/man” relationships or economies. Thus, most read their Bibles while not properly discerning just who God is talking to, at what time, why, and concerning what and who. Paying attention to such simple hermeneutic rules quickly eliminates all the seeming conflicts and confusion in the Bible.

God has but one overarching great “eternal purpose that was purposed in Christ Jesus” (Eph 3:11), and its revelation is seen progressively throughout the Bible in types and shadows. A proper study of the dispensations reveals the fact that God has had a different message in each dispensation. Seeing the previous dispensations heightens our appreciation for the “dispensation of the grace of God.” When we ignorantly mix the messages of the dispensations, counting them all as valid for today, we will only come to confusion and contradiction.

Each past dispensation has had differing requirements or tests and expectations in man’s relationship with God. Until today’s “dispensation of the grace of God,” man has failed each and every dispensational test – only “pure grace” cannot fail for “him that believeth” (Mk 9:23).

·       “Innocence” failed by the rebellion of Adam’s disobedience, choosing to become wise “as God.”

·       “Conscience” failed by man becoming “continually evil” (Gen 6:5).

·       “Human Government” failed by man refusing to spread and cover the earth, as God had told Noah, preferring to build and congregate in cities - Babel.

·       “Promise” failed when Abraham went down to Egypt.

·       “The Law” was continually broken by Israel, who also rejected God by rejecting His prophets.

God knew before the world began that man would fail all the time and need the grace of the Lamb slain from the foundationof the world. It’s not until the dispensation of the grace that of God that we have a “way” in which man can’t fail, since we may simply receive the free gift of the grace of God that comes to us in Christ. Man can only fail by refusing to receive, by faith, the free gift of God’s grace. That grace is afforded to us by Christ’s cross-work; that is His blood was shed for our sins, His death was as the old us, and His resurrection is as the new us.

When you properly see the dispensations it becomes simple to see that God has a different message and relationship with Gentile believers today than He has had with Israel. In fact, it is by noting the contrasts among dispensations, particularly the contrast between “The Law” and “Grace,” that heightens our appreciation for the sufficiency of the grace of our being “in Christ” in this day of “the dispensation of the grace of God.”

Compare Paul’s word with James’ to see the riches of our salvation “by grace through faith, not of works.”

Romans 6:14b … for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Ephesians 2:8-9  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.

James writes these words to “the twelve tribes...scattered abroad,” still under the Law.

    James 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:26 … faith without works is dead.