Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "ESCHATOLOGY
SECTION 2F - Acts 2 - Revelation
THE CHURCH AGE and
THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE
BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
Edited by Dr. Clarence
E. Mason, Jr.
- Acts 2-Revelation 3 THE
CHURCH AGE and 1 THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE
Two covenants should be considered in indirect connection with this dispensation:
(1) The Abrahamic Covenant, and (2) The New Covenant
NOTE: However, it should be remembered that, in the strict sense,
no covenant is said to be made with the Church, and, too, we are specifically
told that the Gentiles are "strangers from the covenants of promise"
(Eph. 2:12). On the other hand, Rom. 9:4 tells us that "the covenants"
pertain to Israel. Hence, we share in the Abrahamic Covenant simply by virtue
of our position with Christ, the Seed (of Abraham), and we anticipatively
enter into the blessings of the New Covenant through the efficacy of the
blood of Christ. See New Scofield note on the Church, Acts 2:1.
- The key personage is
the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The extent of the period
is from His death until His coming for His Church.
- The general Scripture
portion is Acts 2-Revelation 3 (Rev. 4-5 are heavenly scenes) together
with numerous transitional passages in the Gospels.
- The characteristic or
state of man during its course is that he is constituted a helpless
sinner. This is set forth in Scripture under four aspects:
- Sin is imputed to him
in that he sinned in Adam. Rom. 5:12
- Sin has been transmitted
to him in that he has received a fallen nature.
Gen. 2:17; Rom. 7:17-18, 21, 23
- His estate is that
of being constituted "under sin" by divine fiat or decree.
Rom. 3:9; 11:32; Gal. 3:22
- He is a sinner by the
practice or commission of sinful acts.
Rom. 3:10,12,19, etc. (Dr. L. S. Chafer)
- The special responsibility
instituted by God is to recognize himself as a lost sinner and to "believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 16:30-31
Dr. Thiessen sets forth the specific test for this age as follows: "Man
is tested as to whether he will accept the gift of righteousness, Rom.
5:15-18; 1 Cor. 1:30; of life, Rom. 6:23; of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:38-39;
Gal. 4:1-7; and so become a member of His body (Eph, 1:23; 1 Cor. 12:12-13).
And, as a believer, he is tested as to whether he will live for God
(Rom. 6:1-6; 7:4-6; 12:1-2; 2 Cot. 5:9; 1 Cor. 3:l-3)and cooperate with
God in the evangelization of the world, Mt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Lk.
24:46-49; Acts 26:16-18."
- The failure of man under
the test. (Man has miserably failed on both counts.)
- The natural man consistently
refuses salvation, though it is offered to him so full and free.
- Two-thirds of the earth's
population know not His name. Of the other one-third, how many are
real believers? Where are the crowds? Where is there a converted
city? After more than 175 years of missions, there are now more
heathen than when the present-day missionary effort started.
- And the professing
church has gone into apostasy and will so go on till the end of
the age. Luke 18:8; 17:26-30; 2 Tim. 3:1-5
- The resultant judgment.
- The world of Christ
rejecters will go into the tribulation.
- Professors of religion
will go into the tribulation with all its attendant suffering.
- Many believers will
be saved so as by fire, their works being burned up.
- The gracious intervention
- He saves His own from
the hour of temptation, i.e., the tribulation period.
1 Thes. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10. His true Church will be "caught
(If G, 2 (next section) is accepted:
- The race will not be
blotted out because the days of tribulation are shortened, and
- Many will be saved
even in the tribulation. Rev. 7)
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