Biola Broadcaster - 1963-09

by Dr. Ralph L. Keiper , Editorial Research Director, Evangelical Foundation, Philadelphia

rift 1 of II holy plan

T he interesting prophetic wor d “dispensation” has an important time element connected with it. This is important for our study and under­ standing. As an example, Colossians 1:25-26 states, “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensa­ tion of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.” The time aspect suggested here is generations and ages. The word dispensation does not have any time of its own. Many of our words have to do with time but do not have time of their own. For instance, “life” has no time of its own. Time is given by the context in which it is used. So we have here in Colos­ sians “ages” from which Greek word we get “eon” or “era.” On the other hand, the word “generations” has to do with people who live within a spe­ cific period of time. So God has dealt in periods of time known as ages, through generations of people. God has administered things differ­ ently in various periods of time. This dispensation of grace is the time of the Gospel when God has opened the glo­ rious story of redemption to the entire world. This was announced by John the Baptist when he uttered those won­ derful words, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” In God’s management of af­ fairs it is further evidenced in Peter’s declaration, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them

did signify, when it testified before­ hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto them­ selves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (I Peter 1:10-12). The prophets of old, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others had a hint of something new which was coming. A new administration was coming, although God’s servants didn’t know the fullness of what they wrote. So we see that God administers things in various ways to show forth His matchless grace. This is borne out in Ephesians chapter 3:5 and 6, “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now re­ vealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gen­ tiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” Be­ fore the cross, anyone who wanted any­ thing from God, if he were a Gentile, had to become a Jew first of all. God had only made His promises’ with this His ancient people Israel. Now, how­ ever, with the Coming of Christ there is no longer this barrier. Jew or Gen­ tile, through the Saviour has direct access to the Father. The importance of the word dispen­ sation is not only for doctrine but also for practice. One of the '-most outstand­ ing aspects of this new administration or management is that we have bold­ ness to approach the throne, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 31

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