Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "ESCHATOLOGY 1"
SECTION 2F - Acts 2 - Revelation 3
THE CHURCH AGE and
THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE

 

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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1970

Edited by Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.


  1. 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.
     
    1. The key personage is the Lord Jesus Christ.
    2. The extent of the period is from His death until His coming for His Church.
    3. The general Scripture portion is Acts 2-Revelation 3 (Rev. 4-5 are heavenly scenes) together with numerous transitional passages in the Gospels.
    4. 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:
      1. Sin is imputed to him in that he sinned in Adam. Rom. 5:12
      2. Sin has been transmitted to him in that he has received a fallen nature.
        Gen. 2:17; Rom. 7:17-18, 21, 23
      3. His estate is that of being constituted "under sin" by divine fiat or decree.
        Rom. 3:9; 11:32; Gal. 3:22
      4. He is a sinner by the practice or commission of sinful acts.
        Rom. 3:10,12,19, etc. (Dr. L. S. Chafer)
    5. 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

      TEST:
      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."
       
    6. The failure of man under the test. (Man has miserably failed on both counts.)
      1. The natural man consistently refuses salvation, though it is offered to him so full and free.
      2. 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.
      3. 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
    7. The resultant judgment.
      1. The world of Christ rejecters will go into the tribulation.
      2. Professors of religion will go into the tribulation with all its attendant suffering.
      3. Many believers will be saved so as by fire, their works being burned up.
    8. The gracious intervention of God.
      1. 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 up."

        (If G, 2 (next section) is accepted:
      2. The race will not be blotted out because the days of tribulation are shortened, and
      3. Many will be saved even in the tribulation. Rev. 7)

 

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