Monday, November 19, 2018

Dispensational Salvation

One of the most important things about right division is that it enables us to understand and clearly present the only gospel by which sinners are saved in this present age (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Yet, one of the biggest problems that people have with right division concerns the issue of salvation in different ages because the common and traditional view is that salvation is the same for all people in all ages. Most professing Christians believe there is only one gospel in the Bible, not because they personally studied the matter, but because that is what they have always heard.

The common cliché is that "People in the Old Testament were saved by looking toward the cross and people in the New Testament are saved by looking back to the cross." How can that be true when the twelve apostles weren't even looking toward the cross! The fact that they had been preaching the gospel (Lk. 9:1-6) for three years BEFORE Christ began to speak to them about His death, burial, and resurrection, and that they did not understand or believe it (Lk. 18:31-34), PROVES that there are different gospels in the Bible.

There is much confusion on this issue, and I have to say that some of the blame is to be laid at the feet of dispensational teachers who make it sound like salvation is by works in other dispensations. God has never and will never accept the works of sinful flesh (Jn. 6:63; Rom. 7:18; 8:8).

I am going to give you five points that I hope will help you to better understand the dispensational truth of the word of God concerning salvation.

1. The basis of salvation in every age is the blood of Christ.
The death and resurrection of Christ is the only basis upon which God can save a sinner in any age. It was planned before the world began and prophesied in the OT. However, it was not understood or preached as good news until after it was accomplished (1 Cor. 2:8). Its full meaning was a mystery revealed through Paul’s gospel (Gal. 1:11-12). The cross-work of Christ is the secret to God’s dealings with sinners in every age, but it was not fully revealed until this present age. By faith, the OT saints obeyed the commandments of the law and brought the required sacrifices for their sins. Through forbearance God allowed the blood of bulls and of goats (that cannot take away sins, Heb. 10:4) to cover sins because He knew the blood of Christ would be shed for the remission of sins (Rom. 3:25).

2. The condition for salvation in every age is essentially faith.
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). The eleventh chapter of Hebrews demonstrates that men before the law and under the law obtained a good report from God by faith. Why did God accept the sacrifice of Abel? He brought it by faith (Heb. 11:4).

3. The object of faith in every age is the word of God.
Faith is not just believing. Everybody believes in something, but not everybody has faith (2 Thess. 3:2). Faith is believing the word of God (Rom. 4:3-5; 10:17).

4. The content of faith is not the same in every age because God has not given man the same message in every age.
God has not always told men not to do any works but to simply trust the finished work of Christ alone for salvation as He does in this age (Rom. 4:5). In time past, He required works of men to prove their faith, and He will do so again after this age. If God requires works, real faith will seek to do those works (Jam. 2:14-26), but the works in and of themselves have never and will never save a sinner. A man’s faith must be proven. Why doesn’t God require us to do works to prove our faith in this age? We are justified by "the faith of Christ" (Gal. 2:16; 3:22-23) and His faith is perfect and proven!

The word “gospel” means good news from God. As good as God is, do you really think that he has only had one message of good news throughout the ages? For example, here are four gospel messages in the Bible that are not the same gospel we are to preach in this age:
1.) Preached to Abraham (Gal. 3:8)
2.) Preached to Israel in the wilderness (Heb. 3:7-4:2)
3.) Kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 24:14)
4.) Everlasting (Rev. 14:6-7)

5. The results of faith are not the same in every age because God has not given believers in every age the same position, blessings, and destiny. There is doctrine revealed in Paul’s epistles concerning the position, blessings, and destiny of the Body of Christ that we do not find in the OT, Gospels, or Hebrews through Revelation and we must not try to force things that are different to be the same. This information is only found in Paul’s epistles because he is the one to whom the glorified Christ from Heaven revealed it. Christ committed these truths to Paul to make it known. Our position as members of the Body of Christ means that nothing can separate us from the love of God (compare Rom. 8:35-39 with John 15:10 and Jude 21). We are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13) and therefore would never have to pray, "take not thy holy spirit from me" as David did (Ps. 51:11). The Spirit of the Lord will never depart from us as He did from King Saul (compare 1 Sam. 16:14 with Eph. 4:30). We are never told to endure unto the end (Matt. 24:13), but rather that Christ will confirm us unto the end (1 Cor. 1:8). Our blessings are spiritual and in heavenly places (Eph. 1:3), not material blessings on earth (Deut. 28). We did not obtain our blessings by keeping the commandments of the law but by being in Christ. The Body of Christ is destined to reign with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6-7). It is Israel that is destined to reign on the earth (Ex. 19:5-6; Rev. 5:10).



Monday, November 12, 2018

Eph. 1:13 vs. Jam.1:18

One of the most important things about right division is that it enables us to understand and clearly present the only gospel by which sinners are saved in this present age of grace. The "word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15) can refer to the scripture in general (Ps. 119:43; 2 Cor. 6:7), or to the gospel in particular.

The gospel of the grace of God is "the word of truth" by which we are saved today (Eph. 1:13), but the gospel of the kingdom is "the word of truth" by which Israel will be saved in the future (Jam. 1:18). Failure to rightly divide these messages leads to confusion and false doctrine.

Let's compare the word of truth in Ephesians with the word of truth in James.

1. Paul wrote to those who were uncircumcised Gentiles (Eph. 2:11-12), but James wrote to the twelve tribes of Israel (Jam. 1:1).

2. The gospel that Paul preached had to do with a mystery hid from the prophets (Eph. 3:1-6; 6:19-20), but the gospel Peter, James, and John preached was a prophesied message (1 Pet. 1:9-13; 23-25).

3. Paul taught that salvation is by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9, justification by the faith OF Christ), but James taught that a man is not justified until he proves his faith by his works (Jam. 1:21-27; 2:14-26).

4. Paul taught that believers are sealed with the Spirit the moment they believe the gospel (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30 = eternal security), but James taught that believers must endure faithfully to the end (Jam. 1:12; 5:7-11).

Things that are different are not the same!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Things that Differ

In spite of the fact that the word of God plainly tells believers in this present age to follow the apostle Paul (e.g. 1 Cor. 11:1), many professing Christians resent that idea when presented with it and claim to follow the whole Bible instead. That is not even possible because God’s word has different things to say to different people living under different dispensations. Even a casual reading of the Bible reveals that there are different instructions given concerning the same issues! For example, concerning the simple matter of what we are to eat, are you going to follow the instructions God gave Adam, Noah, Moses, or Paul?

All of the Bible is the word of God and is therefore profitable FOR us (2 Tim. 3:16), but it is not all written TO us (2 Tim. 2:15). We need to read and study the whole Bible. When we come across something that does not line up with what the apostle Paul taught in his epistles, we are to follow what CHRIST said through Paul directly to us in this present age (1 Tim. 6:3; 2 Tim. 1:13).


All of the truth in the Bible is good, but there are things that are more excellent for us in this present age of grace (Phil. 1:9-11). The law revealed through Moses for Israel was more excellent than what all of the other nations lived by (Rom. 2:17-20). However, under grace we have something more excellent than the law (Phil. 3:1-10)!

Here is a list of 23 examples that prove you cannot follow everything the Bible says, and that it must be rightly divided to be understood. 

COMPARE (1 Cor. 2:13)

1) Gospel - Matt. 4:23; 17:22-23; 24:14 with Acts 20:24; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Col. 1:5-6

2) Audience – Matt. 10:5-7; Lk. 24:47; Acts 11:19 with Acts 26:17; 1 Tim. 2:4

3) Salvation - Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38 with Acts 16:30-31; Eph. 2:8-9

4) Justification - Jam. 2:24 with Rom. 3:28; 4:5

5) Righteousness - Deut. 6:24-25; Lk. 1:6; Rev. 19:8 with Phil. 3:4-10

6) Forgiveness - Matt. 6:14-15 with Eph. 4:32

7) Acceptance - Acts 10:35 with Titus 3:5; Eph. 1:6

8) Love of God - Jn. 15:10; Jude 21 with Rom. 8:38-39

9) Security - Matt. 24:13 with 1 Cor. 1:8

10) Sealed with Spirit - 1 Sam. 16:14; Ps. 51:11 with Eph. 4:30

11) Blessings - Deut. 28:1-5 with Eph. 1:3

12) Coming of the Lord - Matt.24:15 (signs) with Phil. 3:20 (no signs)

13) Law - Matt. 23:1-3 with Rom. 6:14

14) Diet - Lev. 11:46-47 with 1 Tim. 4:1-6

15) Circumcision - Gen. 17:9-14 with Gal. 5:2

16) Holy days - Lev. 23:1-3 with Gal. 4:8-11; Col. 2:16

17) Water Baptism - Matt. 28:19 with 1 Cor. 1:17

18) Signs - Mk. 16:17-18 with 1 Cor. 13:8-13

19) Teachers - 1 Jn. 2:27 with Eph. 4:11

20) Prayer - Matt. 21:22 with 2 Cor. 12:8-9

21) Provision - Acts 4:34-35 with 1 Thess. 4:11-12

22) Riches - Matt. 19:21-24; Jam. 5:1 with 1 Tim. 6:17-19

23) Giving - Mal. 3:6-10 with 2 Cor. 9:7

Monday, October 29, 2018

Following the Apostle Paul

"Brethren, be followers together of me..."

In His earthly ministry, Christ said to His disciples, “Follow me.” The only other man in the Bible who exhorts people to follow his example and teaching is the apostle Paul.

One of the most important truths that believers need to learn is that Paul is the divinely appointed pattern and spokesman and for the Body of Christ to follow in this present age of grace (1 Cor. 4:16-17; 11:1; Phil. 3:17-21; 4:9). Sadly, very few churches today recognize Paul’s authority (2 Tim. 1:15).

When I say that we are to follow Paul, I am simply quoting scripture. I am not exalting a man or making more out of Paul than the scripture does. I am certainly not putting Christ and Paul on the same level. We know that Paul was the “chief of sinners” saved by grace, while Christ is the sinless Son of God and the Savior of sinners. We know that Paul was nothing in himself while Christ is everything for “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” But it was to Paul that the glorified Lord committed the revelation of His message and program for this present dispensation.

It is not the person but the office of Paul that we magnify (Rom. 11:15). We are not to follow Paul as a man (1 Cor. 1:10-17). We are to follow the doctrine that Christ revealed through Paul (1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:10-14).

Many resent the idea that we are to follow Paul. They boast that they follow the whole Bible. That is not even possible because God’s word has different things to say to different people living under different dispensations. There are different instructions in the Bible concerning the same issues! All of the Bible is for us, but it is not all written to us. 

We should read and study the whole Bible. When we come across something that does not line up with what Christ said to us through the apostle Paul in this present age of grace, we must consider what Paul said first (2 Tim. 2:7). Of course, there are things that never change throughout the Bible. 

We are not pitting the words of Moses, Jesus Christ, or Peter against Paul. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is therefore the word of God (2 Tim. 3:16). But the word of God must be rightly divided if it is going to be understood (2 Tim. 2:15).


Monday, October 22, 2018

Mysteries in the Bible

The word of God was given by progressive revelation over a period of about 1,500 years. God did not reveal and dispense everything at once. New revelation that brought about changes in God’s dealings with man is dispensational truth.

Moses, who wrote the five books of the Law, knew that God had secret things that He had yet to reveal (Deut. 29:29). God knows how to keep a secret! Nobody, not even the devil himself (Ezek. 28:3), can know the secrets of the Lord until He reveals them (Prov. 25:2-3; Rom. 11:33). 

Proverbs 25:
2 It is the glory of God to CONCEAL a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
3 The HEAVEN for height, and the EARTH for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.

Those who think they can find out God’s secrets before He reveals them rob Him of glory. The secrets of the Lord concern both His purpose for heaven and earth. 

One of the main reasons God has kept secrets is because of the adversary (1 Cor. 2:6-10). God’s mysteries are revealed after apparent failure. God never fails, but man always does.

The words “mystery” and “mysteries” are found 27 times in the Bible (3 in the Gospels, 20 Paul's epistles, and 4 in Revelation). A mystery is not something we can never know, but a secret we cannot know until God reveals it in His word, and then to us personally by His Spirit. God reveals mysteries because He wants us to know them.

I. There are mysteries that concern the prophetic kingdom program of Israel that Christ revealed to His disciples ON EARTH (Matt. 13:10-11, 34-35; Rev. 10:7).

II. Satan has a mystery that works in opposition to what God is doing (2 Thess. 2:7; Rev. 2:18-29; 17:1-7).

III. There are mysteries concerning this present age that were revealed through the apostle Paul FROM HEAVEN (1 Cor. 4:1-2).

1) Body of Christ (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-12) – What this age is about
2) Israel’s blindness (Rom. 11:25) – How this age began
3) Rapture (1 Cor. 15:51-52) – How this age will end
4) God’s will (Eph. 1:8-12) – Our role in the eternal state
5) Gospel (Eph. 6:19-20) – How to get in the Body of Christ
6) Godliness (1 Tim. 3:16) – How to live as a member of Body of Christ
7) Iniquity (2 Thess. 2:7) – How Satan opposes the mystery of godliness

Monday, October 15, 2018

Magnifying Paul's Office

The apostle Paul had something to say about the importance of his message and ministry in basically every epistle that he wrote. He was not an egomaniac because he wrote by inspiration of God. Paul gave all glory to God and knew that he was nothing as a man (Rom. 7:18):
  • I am the least of the apostles (1 Cor. 15:9-10)
  • I am less than the least of all saints (Eph. 3:8)
  • I am the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15)
Yet, he knew that God, by His exceeding abundant grace, had given him a special ministry.

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
(Rom. 11:13)

Why do so many preachers try to minimize what God has magnified (Ps. 138:2)? What good is God’s name if He cannot keep His word? How many preachers in the world today believe that God inspired and perfectly preserved His words? Among those that believe that, how many recognize Paul as the pattern and spokesman for the Body of Christ to follow in this present age of grace?

Do we make too much out of Paul? I have been accused of that for simply pointing out what GOD said about him! Let’s consider what the word of God says about his ministry. 

1) Apostle (Gal. 1:1)
That God inspired Paul to write much scripture in defense of his apostleship proves the importance of it. His apostleship was under constant attack largely because of the distinctiveness of his message and ministry. Apostles were men chosen by the Lord and personally SENT OUT by Him with a message and signs to confirm it (2 Cor. 12:12). While on earth Christ sent twelve apostles to the twelve tribes of Israel. From heaven, He sent Paul (and other apostles) to the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:7-12). With the completion of the word of God there is no longer a need for apostles. Paul was the last one to see the Lord (1 Cor. 15:8).

Christ sent him as the apostle to the Gentiles and the Body of Christ (Acts 26:16-18). Paul went to the Jew first during the transition period because God used him to get a remnant out of Israel before He set the action aside in judicial blindness. There are some who say that will not follow Paul because they follow the Lord. You can’t follow the Lord if you don’t follow the apostle that He sent to you (Jn. 13:20).

2) Preacher (1 Tim. 2:3-7)
As a preacher, Paul faithfully heralded the gospel that Christ revealed to him and committed to his trust (2 Tim. 4:16-17; Titus 1:1-3). Christ sent Paul to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 1:17), and His unsearchable riches (Eph. 3:8). He was the greatest evangelist the world has ever known (Col. 1:6, 23).

3) Teacher (2 Tim. 1:11)
As a teacher, Paul faithfully taught the doctrines that Christ revealed through him for the Body of Christ in this present age and trained faithful men to teach others also (1 Cor. 4:15-17; 2 Tim. 2:2).

4) Minister (Col. 1:21-29)
He was minister to every creature with the gospel, and to the church with the mystery. Paul was not a Christian celebrity, but a humble servant of the Lord (1 Thess. 2:6)! He did not abuse his great authority (2 Cor. 1:24).

5) Ambassador (Eph. 6:19-20)
Ambassadors are sent to a foreign land (our conversation is in heaven) in a time of peace (today is the day of salvation) to represent their king. Ambassadors are messengers (Prov. 13:17). Christ revealed the mystery of the gospel to Paul (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Gal. 1:11-12), and he became a prisoner (of the Lord) by faithfully fulfilling his ministry. We too are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).

6) Pattern (1 Tim. 1:12-16)
This present age began when Christ saved the chief of sinner by exceeding abundant grace (not in experience but in longsuffering and grace). He is also our example in how to walk and serve the Lord (Phil. 3:17; 4:9).

7) Masterbuilder (1 Cor. 3:10-11)
Paul laid the foundation for this present age by preaching Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Rom. 16:25). Christ is the foundation (both programs).

8) Steward (1 Cor. 4:1-2)
Christ revealed the great mystery (i.e. secret) of the Body of Christ as well as other corresponding mysteries to Paul and he was a faithful steward of those mysteries. 

9) Spokesman (1 Cor. 14:37)
Paul did not actually use the word "spokesman," but it is a Bible word for someone who speaks for another (Ex. 4:16). Paul was God's mouthpiece to the Gentiles and the Body of Christ. God took Moses up on a mount and revealed the Law through him for Israel. After his conversion, Paul went out into the wilderness (likely on the same mount) for three years to receive revelations for this present age for the Body of Christ (Gal. 1:15-20). Paul's thirteen epistles are the word of God.

Paul was careful to give God all the glory for what HE did in and through him. We are not magnifying a man, but the office that God gave him. 



Monday, October 8, 2018

Paul was not one of the Twelve Apostles


Some Bible teachers claim that Paul was God’s choice to replace Judas Iscariot, and that Peter was out of God's will when he led in appointing Matthias as the replacement (Acts 1:15-26). The Bible says NO such thing! The following points prove that Matthias was the divinely appointed replacement for Judas.

1)     It was prophesied that another would take the place of Judas (Ps. 109:8), but Paul's special ministry had to do with a mystery hid from the prophets (Col. 1:24-27).
2)     There had to be twelve apostles in order for the kingdom to be offered to Israel in the early Acts period (Matt. 19:28).
3)     Peter and the other apostles had the authority to act in the stead of Christ (Matt. 16:19; 18:18-19).
4)     They prayed about it, and Christ promised to give them whatsoever they asked (Matt. 21:22).
5)     Some think that they cast lots was a wrong thing to do (Acts 1:26), but that was a scriptural way for the Jews to discern God's will (Prov. 16:33).
6)     Paul did not even meet the qualifications to be one of the twelve (Acts 1:21-22).
7)     The apostles were “filled with the Holy Ghost” just a few days later (Acts 2:4).
8)     Matthias was “numbered with the eleven apostles”, and the Holy Spirit stated that Peter stood up “with the eleven” (Acts 2:14).
9)     Paul was not appointed through men, but by God Himself (Gal. 1:1).

There are clear differences between the ministries of Paul and the twelve apostles. Paul plainly and purposely distinguished himself from them (Gal. 1-2). While there were other apostles to the Body of Christ (such as Barnabas, Acts 14:14), Paul was "THE apostle of the Gentiles" (Rom. 11:13).

1)     The twelve were chosen by Christ on earth. Israel is God’s earthly people (Deut. 7:6). Paul was chosen by Christ from heaven. The Body of Christ is God’s heavenly people (Eph. 2:6).
2)     The twelve were appointed to lead Israel (Matt. 19:28). Paul was appointed to lead the Body of Christ (Col. 1:24-27).
3)     The twelve represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Paul represents the one Body of Christ. He was a "Hebrew of the Hebrews", and yet he was also a Roman citizen (Phil. 3:5; Acts 22:27-28). So, in a sense, we could say that he was a Jew and Gentile in one body! 
4)     The twelve only knew Christ on earth. Even when Christ ascended back to heaven, a cloud received Him out of their sight (Acts 1:9). Paul only knew Christ from heaven (Acts 26:16). 
5)     The twelve were sent to proclaim and offer the kingdom of heaven to Israel (Matt. 10:5-7; Acts 3:19-21). Paul was sent to preach the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). 
6)     The ministry of the twelve was based on covenants and prophecy (Acts 3:24-25). After Israel is blessed, the Gentiles receive blessings through them. The ministry of Paul was based on a mystery. The Gentiles are blessed through the fall of Israel (Rom. 11:11) and there is neither Jew nor Gentile in the body (Gal. 3:27-28). 
7)     Under the kingdom commission water baptism was required and signs were the evidence of salvation (Mk. 16:15-18). Under Paul’s commission he was not sent to baptize, and he said early in his ministry that signs would cease (1 Cor. 1:17; 13:8-10).




Dispensational Salvation

One of the most important things about right division is that it enables us to understand and clearly present the only gospel by which sinn...