ARE THERE DISPENSATIONS?

BY:  CHARLES W. WELLER

LAW OR GRACE?

FREEDOM FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH

WHEN WAS THE MYSTERY OF GRACE ESTABLISHED?

GALATIANS 2:20

TURN NOT AGAIN TO THE ELEMENTAL THINGS

THE ALPHA AND OMEGA

THE WISDOM OF GOD IN A MYSTERY

THE BRAZEN ALTAR OR THE THRONE OF GRACE?

THE MINISTRY OF GRACE IS A LIFESTYLE…NOT A ONE-TIME WORK

CAN GRACE BE EXTENDED TO ALL?

MERCY EXTENDED, GRACE VICTORIOUS, LOVE UNFAILIN

Before the Law was given to Moses, man lived by faith. Either he was justified by his faithfulness, or he was condemned. But the way of faith ended when the Law was given. For the Law determined whether a person measured up to its very own standard or not. The Law covered every possibility and how man was to act accordingly. The Law lasted as the only standard for many centuries.

But with the coming of Jesus Christ, we find that where the Law was concerned with the outward regulation of the inward corruption, Jesus was concerned with the law of Life after the inward man. He was not concerned with outward holiness if the vessel was dirty on the inside. Jesus sought to change the inside so that person could live in harmony with the holiness of the outer Man. If a change occurs in the “heart” of a person, the outer life with education will reveal a holy nature. Where the Law was a hard task master, Jesus came offering grace that unmerited favor.

For the last 2,000 years man has been offered a walk by grace which was never offered before. The Law brought condemnation and with it no solution to the failure of measuring up to its standard. But Jesus offered grace – forgiveness, that if we fail to live a holy life we can seek His grace and He will again allow us to try.

Not everyone lives in the dispensation of grace. There are the Jews who rejected Jesus as their Messiah, and still live under the Law of Moses. They are not aware of grace or what it offers. Then there are many Christians who having accepted the grace of Christ, go back to living by regulations of do’s and don’ts (living by the law).

On the day of Pentecost many Jews came to Christ as their personal Savior, but they also brought with them the rudiments, the offal elements of their previous existence. They tried to inculcate their previous faith of the Law into the faith of Jesus.

LAW OR GRACE?

So, in the very beginning of the church we had a split over whether the dispensation of Law would continue with Jesus’ truths added on to it or whether Grace would be sufficient. It was a battle then and it is so today. It is a fundamental statement of the faith that Grace is the foundation of our faith. All will agree to that fact, but there are others who believe that Grace is directly related to and part of works.

The Jewish people carried over their feast days and other holy days which were scriptural according to the Law. But the non-Jews having been saved from paganism left their previous religion and brought no beggarly elements with them. James, the head elder of the Jerusalem church, believed in these traditions and went to the Jewish temple every day. (Acts 5:42 )

Peter followed the lead of James and finally was confronted by Paul and realized the error of mixing the two different religions – and they are two different religions. (Gal. 2:11, Acts 11) In fact, Peter later in life finally left Jerusalem and begat a group in the very harlot city of Babylon.

The gospel of grace given to Paul (Eph. 3:3) was also a dispensation. Very few men in the Bible were given a dispensation. Moses was another that was given such. Where the disciples picked by lot to replace Judas with Matthias, God’s re- placement was to have been Paul.

The confrontation between the elders of Jerusalem and Paul was a very strong statement by both. The elders did not have the gospel Paul had even though they had known Jesus. They knew Jesus after the “flesh” and not after the “spirit.” Paul’s entry into Christianity was seeing Jesus on a resurrected and ascended plane. He never knew Him after the “flesh.”

Paul complained that the Judaizers preached another gospel (Gal.1:7) and further stated in Thessalonians that when he, Paul, was removed that the falling away would be complete. His words rang true in that by 320 AD through Constantine, who some think was a great man of the faith, the church was nationalized and given rights which allowed the inclusion of pagan customs into the church.

The Law is evident in churches today. Let me explain. Many in the de-nominations fail to realize the leaven that is working in them which causes: condemnation, guilt, compounding of guilt etc. They listen to the preacher and follow his instructions and results don’t always seem to follow. Then, the saint is condemned by the preacher for a lack of faith, when in reality the preacher has given a false word to the believer.

The faith of the believer is directly dependent on the minister and the words of that man. But Jesus did away with a ministry that intercedes for the people. He opened a direct line of communication for the saint. This open line is called grace! But the Law states that a priest (if you’re a deceived Catholic) or a minister (if you’re a deceived Protestant ) must intercede for you.

The older more established Protestant churches, like their Catholic counterparts, offer rituals and traditions in place of life. The evangelical churches offer door-to-door canvassing and mass evangelism in place of life. Again this is because of their Law nature of doing things rather than living in Him which Paul taught.

So, the quest for the gospel of grace to be preached is still a message of a few crying in the wilderness to be heard. For the nature of man is such that he has a tendency to feel secure in familiar surroundings and traditions assist in that matter. As an example, Full Gospel Business Men’s Organization has helped many in the past to receive the Holy Spirit, but the organization tells many to remain in their church when God’s Word tells them to come out (Rev. 18:4, 2 Cor.6:17) of the traditions and rituals. But again, the nature of man is against grace. Free Pentecost builds its own structure. Shepherding and discipleship have become false in their control of people.

The gospel of grace is where one is espoused ONLY to the Lord and to no other. (2 Cor. 11:2-3) Yet, many wolves have crept in and made the gospel of grace to be of no effect. How so? By setting in order rules and regulations to control people. Are you ruled by Law or by Grace ? Grace has come, not to allow sin to abound, but rather that righteousness might grow freely in those to whom it was given. Grace has come not to give license to the flesh but to give deliverance from the desires of the flesh.

FREEDOM FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH

God is revealing to those who can hear a message of restoration. It is grace that allows us to come boldly to the throne, that Holiest of Holies, and RESIDE in His presence. A liberating word is coming forth that sets people free from the lower level existence of do’s and don’ts of man’s religion. We can become His sons by the grace of THE Son and stand NOT condemned by fleshly man because we didn’t measure up to the commandments of men.

There is no condemnation (Romans 8:1) to those that are IN Christ Jesus. Church order tries to keep the people in control and subjection but the order of the Kingdom (Melchizedec) seeks to liberate and fashion people in the image of Jesus. It is those who yield to the Potter`s hand that will become sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

The gospel of grace that has been brought to us by Paul was “not of men, neither by man. (Gal.1:1) Paul didn’t receive his message by studying under the 11 disciples or any other men – that is what is meant by “not of men.” The word “of” could be interpreted as to mean created ideas of men. The word “by” could be interpreted to mean created out of the mind (that carnal mind) of man.

His gospel came by revelation of Jesus Christ himself. (Gal. 1:12) In fact, he went into Arabia for three years and learned directly at the hand of the Lord. (Gal. 1:17-18) The true understanding of the Christian faith comes by the grace of God unto you. It is nothing that you can do, thank the Lord! Paul had a revelation of the ascended Christ. The other disciples did not know the Lord in such a relationship. They knew Him after the flesh, after his three year ministry. They had eaten with Him and slept with Him and knew the natural habits of the Lord. Since they did know such, all their theology was based upon their past experiences with Jesus after the natural order of things.

Paul was free from the law of sin and death. Jesus had ministered and lived thirty-three years under the law of sin and death, but He overcame it and conquered through death and resurrection. NO OTHER MAN has ever done such. He broke the law of sin and death and established a better covenant.

All the other disciples knew Jesus before He broke the covenant of sin and death and their theology was greatly influenced by that understanding. Paul NEVER knew the Lord before. Paul only knew Him after the new covenant. Paul only knew the ascended Christ. Thus, he could preach grace, where the others preached a mixture.

The Jewish Christians, saved by grace, were not separated from the law of sin and death. They proclaimed the victory in Christ, but used laws and traditions to bind the people’s victory. They kept alive the old man instead of reckoning him dead. (Romans 6:6-14) As long as sin reigns, there is no freedom from the law (vs. 14) and we find the disciples enforcing the law.

Non-Christians live under the law. The law was given for the lawless and since they do not know Christ, they are under the law. But for the one who knows the Lord the law is not in effect IN THAT we live within the circle of the law and try not to break it because the LIFE OF CHRIST in us enables us to keep and supersede the law with-out any conscious effort.

Paul admonishes us to know no man after the flesh. (2 Cor. 5:16) So, neither should we be able to know Jesus as Lord and then mentally try to keep the Ten Commandments. Trying to do such mentally, is being after the flesh. We cannot know Christ and do that for that crucifies Him again. Rather we are to let Jesus in us control us so that we keep His commandments effortlessly – because He does it for us and not we ourselves. This is true grace in action.

WHEN WAS THE MYSTERY OF GRACE ESTABLISHED?

Romans 16:25 states: “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel {What was his gospel? Gospel of grace} and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began.” NKJV

Our loving Father established grace before time was! For all things that were created were created through Jesus (John 1:3) who was even before He appeared on the earth. In fact, God’s grace was so large that Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8) Thus, enabling Jesus to include ALL things in His grace.

Yet, He laid aside that heavenly realm and lowered Himself, and took upon Himself an earthly form. (John 10:17) He then conquered this lower order of sin and death and raised Himself up never to be humbled again. Now, we have the privilege to ascend unto His throne.

Although grace was from the beginning, the mystery of grace was not revealed until Jesus Christ was manifested on the earth. He was grace incarnate. Grace is not a “thing” but a person. He was, is, and shall be. Therefore grace will abound. His mercy endures forever but death and hell are swallowed up even by grace. Death began with Adam and ends with Adam. Christ begat grace in the beginning before Adam and swallows up death – “Oh death, where is your sting ? O Hades, where is your victory ? The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:55-58)

Jesus was slain BEFORE there was death. He was slain BEFORE Adam ever fell. That is why there is victory over death and hell. That is why death and hell cannot last forever but for a season. For our Lord is Lord of ALL. ALL death, ALL hell will be swallowed up by His LIFE. Life turns death into life.

GALATIANS 2:20

The above verse is important to all that see the truth of living by THE faith of the Son of God. We are not concerned about OUR faith as it cannot move a gnat off our own arm. Neither are we concerned about A faith – such as the Christian faith or Moslem faith. But we are seriously concerned about THE faith, and I might add there is only one faith.

Here again THE faith is a person. It is Jesus Christ resident king in the temple of God (our bodies). If we live and move and have our being in Him, then THE faith is evident in us. But most live and move in the outer man after a carnal commandment and rarely seem to penetrate the inward man who is Jesus Christ.

Many are the saints who have Christ in them but have never been IN Christ who is in them. They are taught the traditions of men to look outward for a manifestation of Christ which is exactly what Jesus warned against when He said: “`Look here is Christ.’ or ‘There.’ Do not believe it.” (Matt. 24:23)

The dealing of grace in one’s life is to allow the manifestation of Jesus Christ in you. God grants grace through His Son so that both of them might make their abode in us. (John 14:23) Christ in you is the hope of the world. When the world see Christ formed in you they have their hope fulfilled in that they know they will be delivered from the bondage of creation. (Romans 8:21)

If you have been crucified (the you being your carnal nature) with Christ, then you are raised with His new nature. Truly, it is no longer you that lives (that is to say you have no carnal desires ) but Christ that lives and has preeminence. God has given us the gift of salvation, and the gifts of the Spirit. He didn’t give these gifts so that we might use them ON our fleshly desires but so that the gifts might REMOVE the things of the flesh. He gave these things so that we might arise from the realm of sin and death and come out unto a higher plane of existence.

It is unfortunate that most saints live in the order of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The non-Christian lives in the “evil” part and the Christian lives in the “good” part. There is NOTHING that dwells in us that is good. (Romans 7:18) Even the doing of good things as the church order teaches is death! We can only do good things when we have eaten of the tree of Life. It is then and only then that He has preeminence and gets the glory as He should. Only life can produce good. Good from the tree of knowledge can only produce death.

Those that live in THE faith have no condemnation as they walk and neither do they try to do good works. But rather they are at rest knowing that He who works in them will perform all things according to the counsel of His own will. By not trying to do anything themselves, it allows God to bring to pass what He wants in order to establish the work.

Guilt is imputed only where there is the Law. Guilt comes from a transgression of the Law. Those under grace are led by “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Ro. 8:2)

This law of the “Spirit” is a higher law and far exceeds the carnal commandments of the Old Testament. For we have left the dead letter and no longer interpret it as we did but see the spiritual life behind it. Grace has made us free!

TURN NOT AGAIN TO THE ELEMENTAL THINGS

Paul warned the Galatians not to turn themselves again to the base things that they had worshipped before. (Gal. 4:9-10) These people had been set free from the pagan holidays, and rituals as well as all the traditions.

Grace allows tremendous freedom in developing our walk in Christ, but it also requires constant vigilance lest we fall as the Galatians did. For this vile Adamic nature has within it the very tendency to sink to the lowest common denominator. Once having tasted of the heavenly calling as the elect, we must guard against the desire for fleshly things.

The 11 disciples fell to the traditions and rituals of the Jews as a snare. It was the downfall of the Jerusalem church. Their outreach failed because they no longer preached grace. We see the same failing in the church system today because the do not preach free grace. Free grace is not only forgiveness of sins, but it is also deliverance from the flesh. The church system preaches forgiveness of sin but does not deliver from the flesh. The system then causes the saint to be conformed to its image which doesn’t measure up to THE image of the stature and fullness of Christ.

Grace constrains us to be conformed to His Image and none other. If grace is really working in the saint, we see daily the change in his life as the flesh falls away and the man Christ Jesus is revealed even more. Rather than a gradual backsliding we see a press onto the higher calling.  Mercy extended by God is to allow a change from the old. Mercy has not been extended so that upon a justification of faith we can then remain in the pig mire of the flesh nature. Mercy is extended so that we might leave the pigpen.

Now, we are not talking about just the forgiveness of sins. You could be a good Baptist if that is just what you believe. But we are talking about leaving the very BASIC or elemental things of the faith. May we list the BASIC PRINCIPLES of the faith ? We find them in Hebrews 6 listed as:

Foundation of repentance

Faith towards God

Laying on of hands

Doctrine of baptisms

Resurrection of the dead

Eternal judgment

We are to leave these things, HAVING FULLY UNDERSTOOD them. How many can say that they grasp fully the BASICS of the faith? It is a true statement that few grasp the full implications of the faith that we believe. It is not ours to go into each one of the six listed above, but suffice it to say that there are many baptisms and the church system fails in its teaching of resurrection and eternal judgment. Few are the saints that fully comprehend the truth of the working of Grace in eternal judgment.

Yet, these six things are considered the ELEMENTAL, BASIC, things of the faith and most saints can’t even teach these to others. Paul states the reason why in Hebrews 5:12-14. The saints have stayed in the immature ways. Having experienced the Lord as their Savior, they then think they can keep on living on the earthly plane while thinking they are spiritual.

It is only when we understand the fundamentals of our faith that we can BEGIN to become spiritual. Not only must we put away elemental things of the flesh ways (traditions, rituals, holy days, etc.) but we must also put away elemental things of the faith. Then and only then can we begin to KNOW HIM rather than know about Him and His ways.

2 Peter 3:18 in the Amplified Version states: But grow in grace (un-deserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ. As one notes we are to GROW in GRACE. To grow in grace is to know Jesus on a daily, intimate, fellowship that only comes by quiet cultivation of the way of meditation. We speak not of oriental mysticism, but of scriptural meditation which is far different from the pagan ways of Hinduistic meditation.

One can’t grow in grace until the elemental things are set aside. Grace is the forgiveness of sin initially but the coastline of an ocean doesn’t reveal its depth either. Grace is coming into Him and Jesus manifesting himself as you grow into His nature.

THE ALPHA AND OMEGA

Earlier we quoted some verses that showed Jesus was the Alpha of all things. In other words, all things that were created came thru Jesus Christ. There was nothing that was created that was created outside of His being. It is obvious when we speak we speak not of the man Jesus but the pre-existent Christ who was before all things. Col. 1:15-17 states that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, in Him all was created whether invisible or visible.

He is the first born of all creation. Obviously, it cannot mean the man Jesus for He appeared thousands of years after Adam and creation. Rather it does mean that Jesus, (or can we just say the pre-existent Christ for ease of under-standing), was before all things. He is the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8) and His place of birth is from heaven where ours is from the earth realm. (1 Cor. 15:45-48) The grace that He brought with Him to be manifested on the earth was out of the heavenlies and is governed by the laws of the Spirit and not the laws of man.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) which means He never lost that spiritual estate and relationship. The grace that He was before He was manifested on the earth, the grace He revealed on the earth, and the grace that He resides in now, is still the same grace. It never changed.

The purpose of the grace of God is to lift mankind out of the realm of mortality and death into immortality. This was the eternal purpose of Jesus Christ. (Eph.3:11) We have become partakers of that grace and have experienced it! “These things says the AMEN, the Faithful and True Witness, the BEGINNING of the creation of God. (Revelation 3:14) Jesus was the original, of ALL things. He also is the last of all things and as the last He is the AMEN. The work of grace will be completed.

John 17:5 Jesus asks His Father to glorify Him with the glory He had before He came to earth. Did He not say “Before Abraham was I Am? How we do hope that these few scriptures are sufficient to establish the pre-existent Christ and the ascended Christ. All things which have been begotten out of Him will eventually have their summation also in Him. For the Omega is the end. He is the end of all things. Not only was He the beginning of all and all things that were created came out of Him (John 1:9) but so all things will be summed up in Him. (1 Cor. 15:24-28)

THE WISDOM OF GOD IN A MYSTERY

1 Corinthians 2:7 NKJV states: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.” This mystery is the formation of Christ within. It is a simple thing that even the theologians of Paul’s day couldn’t understand, as they can’t today.

Not only is it a secret work, this work of grace, but it is also a confounding work to the world. The purpose of the grace of God is to allow Him who is the grace of God to be made manifest in a people who will deliver creation, ALL of creation, from death and give them life. (Romans 8:19-21)

The last days, which we reside in, will be like the time of Noah as Matthew tells us. Noah was the first man to find grace in the eyes of the Lord! (Gen. 6:8) It is grace that will have a full work in a people. When these people are made manifest, the world will be judged because they failed to seek after the same grace. Now, we do not talk about a “salvational grace” but rather we are speaking of grace as a way of life. For we are to abound in this grace and to be strong in it (2 Timothy 2:1)

How does one grow in grace? Well, before we were “saved” we did not know anything of the grace of God but we were the beneficiaries of it, as He allowed us to live in our sin. After we were “saved,” we felt we knew that grace was the salvational experience. But then we realized we needed more grace to work in our lives because the “once cleansing work” didn’t fully deliver.

This realization brought an understanding of the need for daily grace for cleansing. But it doesn’t stop there either. For another depth of grace surfaces. Grace that allows us to not only remove the old BUT grace that allows us to ascend into the heavenlies and possess Him. Coming boldly to throne of grace is not just for forgiveness but also for fellowship. For it is only as we behold Him we are changed and we can only behold Him if we are in the Holiest of Holies and in communication and fellowship. This fellowship and communication will change and does change this vile body as we live in the sanctuary.

THE BRAZEN ALTAR OR THE THRONE OF GRACE?

Many of the saints confuse the work of the brazen altar with the throne of Grace. The brazen altar has nothing in common with the throne of Grace except that both are related to our experience of the faith.

The brazen altar in the Old Testament was a symbol to the people of Israel of the feast of Passover. There was a slaying of the Lamb which was a symbol of God’s Son, Jesus. Exodus chapter 12 gives the clearest picture of the feast of Passover.

The Lamb was spotless, which means it was a perfect lamb in that it had no blemish on it. It was a firstfruits of the flock which means it was the best of all the firstborn given to God. 1 Cor. 5:7 shows that Christ was our Passover Lamb slain for us. Because saints recognize the atoning work of Christ on the cross as the fulfillment of the feast of Passover, they feel that this is the work of grace in their lives. In other words, they feel that the forgiveness of their sins is grace.

Technically, according to scripture, this is merely justification. We aren’t even saved yet, but are in the process of being saved as scripture points out. In fact, the man born of God can’t sin. (1 John 3:9) The revelation of that is far deeper than a salvation experience.

So, when we come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), we are not coming to the place of sacrifice but to the very place where He sits with the Father. In the Old Testament the Father dwelt in the tabernacle and in particular in the Holiest of All as a pillar of smoke (glory cloud) above the mercy seat.

This then is the throne of grace. The Holiest of All is where we can boldly enter into because Jesus sacrificed himself at the altar in the outer court. We can come right into the tent of meeting, even as David did and stand before the Lord. (2 Sam. 6)

Acts 2:30 shows that God did place Jesus on His throne. Hebrews 8:1 states that Jesus is the High Priest and sits on the throne. A High Priest such as Christ sits on the mercy seat. Now tradition tells us, although I personally cannot find scripture to support it that the High Priest in the Old Testament sat upon the mercy seat too.

As Jesus is our elder brother and the firstfruits of many sons, we can also rest assured that we shall sit on thrones (Rev. 20:4) even with Him. When the sons are birthed they are caught up to the throne of His Father. (Rev. 12:5) But the throne of grace is the mercy seat. It is not a realm of judgment because judgment has already occurred before the person can enter that place. The altar of incense in the Holy Place is the last vessel before the door of the Holiest of All. That altar is for the total removal of all flesh (as a type).

Before one can rule and reign with Jesus there has to be a 100% total death to self. From that point on whatever is ministered whether it be judgment (a form of mercy) or mercy, it is done by grace and no other motivation. Thereby, it is righteous and true.

The brazen altar is a place of sacrifice and death but the throne of grace is a mercy seat that is available to those who have died and can come before their Father. Many saints have the right to come before Him but few be the saints that can act as a kingdom of priests.

It is the sons of God that will become an order of priests before the Lord. (2 Peter 2:9, Rev. 1:6, 5:9, 20:6) The overcomer who has died to self, has been beheaded (Rev. 20:4) of the self nature and the head of Christ has been placed on him. (Matt. 8:20)

The beginning of the kingdom then is an administration that comes from the throne of grace. The light of the glory cloud when it is ministered to people will cause some to shrink away and others to come forward. For light is life to some and death to others. Some will always complain and say “you have no right to judge me.” That cry is made to bring condemnation to the one bearing the light of the throne. The unrighteousness or unholiness of that person is trying to hide under a rock so that it might live.

But the throne of grace is sufficiently able to bring about the restoration of these that even cry out to be left alone. God’s grace is so full of life and light that death and darkness will be swallowed up into Him and done away with.

The brazen altar and the throne of grace are two different places of ministry. The church order ministers from the brazen altar. It is always given to ministry to man and on man’s level to atone or to deliver man from his sins or diseases.

As one understands that the brazen altar is OUTSIDE of the tabernacle, it is easily grasped that the ministry of the church order is visibly seen by the world. Religion of regulation and rituals is very visible to the world. But the work of justification is also seen easily, as the altar suggests such.

The problem of church order religion is that it is man to man and denies the power of grace. As soon as the work of grace is done to an individual (he experiences salvation), immediately thrust upon him are customs and orders of the church, doctrinal or otherwise.

The ministry of the throne of grace, the holiest of Holies, resides IN the tabernacle. It is a secret work within the life of the individual. It is never controlled by rules or regulations, but is the very leading of the Spirit of God. It causes a person to be prostrate before the Lord.

Where the brazen altar allows one to be seen and heard, the ministry of the throne of grace never seeks preeminence. The brazen altar ministry is well received of the world and the church, but the life and ministry of the throne of grace is an offense to all except the Father and Son.

THE MINISTRY OF GRACE IS A LIFESTYLE…NOT A ONE-TIME WORK

Jesus was the epitome of grace. Grace is not a thing or an act but a person. He was the incarnation of grace. Jesus was the revelation of grace that the world never had seen, but will see again through a many-numbered group called the sons of God. (Romans 8:19) Grace can be said to be embodied in a human form.

Now then, He, who was grace unto us in that He atoned for our sins and removed the stumbling block of Adam’s nature from us, has also provided the way that we might become like Him. Where we did not deserve to receive unmerited favor, nor forgiveness of sins, He did such for us so that we could do the same for others. (Matt. 6:14)

It is only as we are merciful, as our Father is merciful, that we can reveal the message of grace. (Luke 6:36) Another verse that is the same as Luke’s but is stated in Matthew 5:48 reads: “be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Some translate that word “perfect” to mean mature. By all means, we shall have his maturity if we possess the realm of the throne!

Perfection, maturity, mercy, each is part of the sum of Him. At the well, Jesus spoke judgment to the woman but He also offered life to her. “Go, and sin no more.” The word sin means: “missing the mark.” Christ recognized her failure and judged her for it, but also offered a way of escape. Perfect grace COMBINES judgment with mercy.

The church order accepts the truth of grace as far as it relates to the forgiveness of sin but then qualifies it as “limited grace” for only those who believe. The church order deems judgment, which they mean as the lake of fire to be of unending duration. The picture of grace then for them is limited and very confined. But the grace of God is far different than carnal minds can even fathom. For the grace of God is extended to the salvation of all, whether it will be in this age or the next. We shall deal with this shortly, but our next point is that the working of the fullness of grace can only be done as it is worked out in a people who have been “conformed” to the image of the Son of God. So, there will be a people like Jesus Christ, the very epitome of grace.

CAN GRACE BE EXTENDED TO ALL?

The question is a serious one that needs answering with the utmost care lest there be confusion. First, we must understand that the King James Version has errors in it, as does every translation since the original Greek and Hebrew texts. The truly only inspired version is found in the Hebrew and Greek. It is numerically sound and true as well.

Let us consider the word “forever” (also translated in the KJV as eternal and everlasting). Jonah 2:6 states: I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me FOREVER.” But we know from the Lord, himself that Jonah was in the fish but only for 3 days.

When a servant wanted to serve his master all his life, he was bored with an awl and an earring put thru the hole in his ear “forever” and this is found in Exodus 21:6. Yet, that time of “FOREVER” couldn’t be any longer than his life span.

The same word is translated “everlasting” when it talks about the priesthood of Aaron in Exodus 40:15. Yet, we find in Hebrews that the priesthood of Aaron was cut off. (Hebrews 7:11-12)  Yet, it gets even more confusing.

We find Luke 1:33 states in the King James:” And He (Jesus) shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Yet we find also in the KJV 1 Corinthians 15:24 translated as: Then cometh the end when He(Jesus) shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father.” There seems to be a contradiction. By KJV standards there is but there is NO contradiction in the original text. If the word “forever” is translated “age” or “ages” there is an understanding that an end must come.

Perhaps, the simplest way to express the truth is this: Anything related to time has an end. If it is begotten (has a beginning) it has an end. All things were created through Jesus, the ONLY pre-existent One. (John 1) Therefore, anything of the earth will have an end, but the length of time before its end cannot be determined.

It is the very truth of the word “forever” that is expressed in the original that cannot be clearly expressed in English. Old Testament it is “olam” and in the New Testament it is “aion.” Both mean a time of unknown duration, but with an end.

As we leave this thought, of “forever” meaning a certain time of un- known duration, we must keep in mind how it relates to the theology of the church order. For church order teaches that the lake of fire is “forever.” Church order teaches that hell is “forever.” Both are correct, if they mean: a certain time with an end. But alas, we know that the church system doesn’t teach it this way. To them “forever” means a never-ending, always going-on time.

Yet, this cannot be true either. For we find that death and hell give up their dead. (Rev 20:13) There is an end to them. The lake of fire burns only as long as there is a fuel. The number thrown into the lake of fire is finite. Only so many people are thrown in. When the fire has used its fuel (that carnal nature), there is no need for it to continue. (See our message on the Lake of Fire – it tells who it is).

In fact, we find that 1 Corinthians 15:52-58 is the real end of the Bible in one sense. For Revelation 22 still shows death outside of the New Jerusalem, but 1 Corinthians 15 shows death defeated and death has an END. Life overcomes ALL death. Remember 1 Cor. 15:25 states: “He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet.” This verse clearly shows that even death will have an end. For death is the enemy that the Lord Jesus did conquer. All death will end and all will be restored (1 Cor. 15:22) to the life before the fall.

Some would say this is a “second chance” doctrine and that is not so at all. Salvation is by GRACE and not by chance. In fact, if most people would be honest, they would admit they were offered salvation many times before they accepted. Death will have no victory. It is the Lord who subjected creation to vanity (Romans 8:20) so that He might be glorified in revealing His Son. It is the graciousness of Jesus, everything begotten out of Him so that all things are covered by His grace before the world began, that we might receive mercy.

It is the Love of God, beyond the comprehension of mankind that has planned so great a salvation for us who have experienced it and those who shall. For as in Adam ALL die, so in Christ ALL shall live the scripture declares (1 Cor. 15:22) He is the Savior of ALL men, especially those that believe. (1 Tim. 4:10)

MERCY EXTENDED, GRACE VICTORIOUS, LOVE UNFAILING

The death on the cross was accomplished before the world came forth but manifested in these last days. (Rev. 13:8, Ro. 16:25-26) It was the cross and the shedding of blood that was needed for mankind. Only one could fulfill such a high calling. The Son of God, manifested as the man Jesus, conquered death by the laying down of His life willingly for us. (John 10:17)

There is no need for another sacrifice, for His was sufficient once and for all. Psalm 22, the psalm of the cross in verses 27 and 29 states the following: “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you…All those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive.” NKJV

We note that it says “ALL the ends of the earth” and “ALL those who go down to the dust.” Every person is given to die, once. None can keep alive their own soul. But He shall, for the death of the cross and His resurrection guarantee that all shall live. How we cry out at the corruption of the world and all the pain we see. But He allows it that mercy might be extended. His hand is extended even now to us. Oh, that we might partake of the fullness of His mercy and allow His mercy to cleanse us from ALL self.

How I look forward to the full revelation of His mercy, when all creation is restored to its former holiness. It will be joyous to see everyone and everything fully using His mercy to deliver themselves of their corrupt understanding and small vision of the plan and purposes of God. The heavens rejoice and those that dwell therein. For it is those who have their life hid in Christ in the heavenlies that will see and understand the hidden things written in the Book. (Daniel 12:8-11) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARE THERE DISPENSATIONS? [Charles W. Weller]          1

 

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