Theology of Grace - Dispensations

Article Index

Dispensations

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

Ephesians 3:2

Dispensational teaching is the dividing of the Bible into divisions of time or ages. The usual divisions are:

  1. Innocence—Adam and Eve before they sinned

  2. Conscience—First sin to the flood

  3. Civil Government—After the flood, government

  4. Promise—Abraham to Moses, the Law is given

  5. Law—Moses to the cross

  6. Church or Grace—Cross to the millennial kingdom

  7. Millennial Kingdom—The rule of Christ on earth

Dispensational charts are formed in several ways with different numbered divisions. The above list would be considered a common chart and manner of explaining dispensations. Regardless of what religious belief system sets forth their idea of dispensations, there is one very grave mistake associated with many including ones use by Grace Theology. That error is assigning salvation by grace as existed in just one dispensation. The one called the Church dispensation is also known by some as the dispensation of grace with the specific meaning that it is only in this dispensation that men are saved by grace through faith and not of works. The rest have an element of works which we have seen in the previous chapter is not consistent with the Scriptures.

Salvation at any time is by the grace of God. Being so means that it is by faith to the exclusion of any and all works and never by any other way.

Romans 11:5-6 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6And 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.

All dispensations, however differently God was dealing with men, are all a dispensation of God’s grace: Grace = faith without works.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;...

Part of Grace Theology’s mistake is going by this mistaken belief that the grace of God is covered by just one dispensation. Grace Theology is also known as Hyper-Dispensationalism due to their teaching that Paul was given the dispensation of grace with a different gospel to go with it.

This too is derived by taking things out of context and not diligently comparing Scripture with Scripture. Paul was not given THE dispensation, he was given A dispensation.

1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

Paul was given A dispensation of the gospel” which according to him was a dispensation of the grace of God.

Ephesians 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

If I give you A pencil then you have THE pencil I gave you and you can say, see THE pencil which was given to me. But, it is still A pencil, one of many.

So here is one gospel separated into several dispensations, “a dispensation of the gospel.” The dispensation Paul was given was one dispensation of the same gospel as other dispensations. All the dispensations are dispensations of God.

Colossians 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

The dispensation he was given was A dispensation of the gospel.” Paul was given a ministry, a dispensation of the gospel of the grace of God to the Gentiles. It was not a different gospel but a different ministry, the ministry of the grace of God to the heathen, those that had not the law.

Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law,…

Why would it be that Paul was given the ministry to the Gentiles and not Peter? Could it be that the Gentiles “which have not the law” would not benefit from the law as a schoolmaster to bring them unto Christ?

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Possibly the ministry needed someone to explain the law and its purpose to them, a doctor of the law: Dr. Saul of Tarsus, PhD., graduate of the school of Gamaliel, taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers.

1 Corinthians 9:8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?

It could be the Gentiles were in need of a little tutelage so that they would not be deceived by another or perverted gospel.

Galatians 3:12 And the law is not of faith:…

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

In order to kick start the Gentiles, they needed instruction in the law for several reasons. It was necessary to know from what they needed to be saved, how they were supposed to live, and the knowledge of the prophecies contained within the law to strengthen their faith. Hence, a dispensation of the gospel was given to Dr. Paul Attorney at Law. It was not a different gospel but a special ministry.