Part 1 of 25

 “A New Way of Living”



This series is written as a continuation of a recent series I wrote and titled “How to Approach the Bible.” I trust that by that series it became abundantly clear that believers today live under the new paradigm of a new gospel.

The new gospel was first revealed by the ascended or celestial Christ to the Apostle Paul (Gal 1:12) beginning with his unusual conversion in Acts chapter 9. Paul says this gospel was for the Gentiles (Eph 3:1), making it clear that the children of Israel  now stand as Gentiles before God (Romans 3:10-12, 19-20, 23; Galatians 3:28). Paul proclaimed this new dispensational relationship, which he called “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2) and “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24b) throughout the known world of his time.

Ephesians 3:1-4 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 (Paul) TO YOU-WARD: 3 How that by revelation he (Christ) made known unto me (Paul) THE MYSTERY; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in THE MYSTERY of Christ) (emphasis added)

Paul called this new gospel message “my gospel,” and also “the mystery (Gk., musterion, secret)” since it had been a secret God-planned relationship for man. This new gospel was in God’s heart and “kept secret since before the world began.”

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

This “mystery” gospel of the “dispensation of the grace of God” was first given to the Apostle Paul “to fulfill the word of God (KJV)” ( Col 1:25), meaning “to complete the word of God.” Paul delivered this gospel for to the new-creation…“body of Christ” (2Cor 5:17). By it Paul proclaimed liberty for captive mankind – freedom from the burden and power of Sin, and also freedom from “the Law,” from which Sin derives its power (1Cor 15:56b). Paul’s good news gospel included this proclamation.

“For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy].” (Romans 6:14)

Much of what Paul wrote in his thirteen epistles, which pertain to ““the body of Christ” under the terms of “the dispensation of the grace of God,” is at odds with what is commonly taught today by the so-called “church at large.” The church at large yet clings to many of the precepts that pertain to the former law dispensation. The church at large fails to distinguish between the Scripture that pertains to “the body of Christ” and that for Israel . They do not realize those precepts and laws that were delivered by Moses to the children of Israel were specifically directed to and intended for the nation Israel . One reason for those laws was to “put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel (Exodus 11:7) and make Israel “a peculiar people” (Deut 14:2, 1Peter 2:9).

In my recent series, “How to Approach the Bible,” I discussed many of the changes that occurred in God’s relationship with believers by the introduction of the Pauline “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). There I listed many, many points of comparison between the conditions of “the dispensation of the grace of God” and the terms of the former “law dispensation” that was for Israel .

Sadly, the Apostle Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” has been marginalized by the church at large. Paul’s gospel has either been abandoned by, or is unknown to, most of the Christian church organizations and sects today, including the neo-evangelicals and neo-fundamentalists of today.

The pure grace of God in this day stands in stark contrast to the traditional view of the church at large, which most often holds to the view that the believer is still under the external laws and precepts that were given to Moses and then heightened by Jesus of Nazareth (Matt 5:28)… for the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 15:24).

Sadly, the church at large often teaches that believers today are subject to the external blessings and curses that were conditionally promised to Israel based upon their performance under the “if thou” laws of works and performance (Deut 28:1, 15; et al). The church at large today has added even more manmade laws such as those imposed upon me by the Hydewood Park Baptist Church of North Plainfield, NJ, where Linda and I were saved; they required us to sign a statement that we would not eat in restaurants that serve liquor or attend movies, and more. Paul says neither God’s laws nor man’s laws can add anything to justify us or make us holy. Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Actually, today under Paul’s grace gospel, God’s love, justification, and care are unconditionally offered to us. The gospel of pure grace is offered to all and enjoyed by all those who simply receive it “by grace through faith…not of works” of the law (Eph 2:8-9).

Paul also makes it clear that we are also kept righteous before God by grace through faith ( Col 2:6). The believer, as Abraham, stands eternally justified before God by faith alone, without having done any works. Romans 4:5 But to him (Abraham) that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his (Abraham’s) faith is counted for righteousness. Obviously, we will work unto the Lord as we learn of His love, receive His love, and grow in our desire to love Him back. We are then constrained by His bands of love toward us.

Having established the aforementioned as our background of understanding, this series is intended to explain how the practical daily life of a believer is distinctly changed under the Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). My primary intention in this series is to look at the new way of living for believers as they endure “suffering” the difficult situations of life, while they live under the “dispensation of the grace of God.”

“Suffering” is a major issue in the lives of believers, just as it is in the lives of every person. Suffering needs to be seen, understood, and embraced, under the terms of the grace gospel for today. This series will answer the old question, “Why do Christians suffer?” and “What possible benefit may there be in suffering?”

As we proceed, I trust the matter of suffering will be seen as it is intended to be under the grace gospel. Suffering is the lot of all men, but to the grace gospel believer it is God’s tool for blessing, which “worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17) As Joseph, Son of Israel, said to his brothers “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”

Let’s now proceed with Part 2 of this series in an effort to understand “suffering” in the grace believer’s life.

Arthur J Licursi