Dispensationalism Made Easy


Note # 2: “The Dispensation of the Word and Spirit”

I am not aware of any study that shows any dispensation between the dispensations of “law” and the “gospel of grace”. However, the following verse shows that something in regard to “the law” changed with the beginning of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ:


The Law…was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made…which is Jesus Christ” (Gal. 3: 16, 19).


Since the “Mosaic Covenant” remain in effect even after the ministry of the Lord Jesus had started, these words cannot refer to an ending of that covenant. Therefore, I believe that this verse is showing that something new dispensationally had begun at the time. The following verse also supports that idea:


The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached” (Lk. 16: 16).


Before the coming of the Baptist and the ministry of the Lord Jesus it was the Scriptures which held the prominent position in the ministry of God to the Jews. But with the coming of the Baptist and the Lord Jesus a new message superceded the Scriptures, and that message was centered upon the fact the their promised Messiah was in their midst and He would be made known through His Word and the Holy Spirit.


At the beginning of this dispensation it was the Lord Jesus Who had the stewardship of the Word and the Spirit, but as time went along this stewardship was expanded. First the Lord sent out His Apostles with the Word and the Spirit (Mt. 10: 5-8) and then later the Seventy (Lk. 10:9). After His resurrection the whole nation was supposed to receive the Spirit of God (Acts 2: 17) and thus fulfill their destiny of being “the light of the world” (Mt. 5: 14).


But when the nation “received Him not” (Jn.1:11) a new dispensation was put into place sometime after Paul was converted and made the Apostle to the Gentiles.


The Scriptual evidence shows that with the ministry of both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus a new dispensation began. Sir Robert Anderson writes:


Every one recognises that the advent of Christ marked a signal ‘change of dispensation’, as it is termed: that is, a change in God’s dealing with man” (Ibid, p. 177).


Unfortunately, today there are few dispensationalists who see this change of dispensation with the beginning of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.



Note # 3: Acts 2 Dispensationalism

The Acts 2 dispensationalists make a fundamental error in defining the exact meaning of the words “the dispensation of grace”. As already pointed out, the specific “stewardship” during the present dispensation is to preach the gospel of grace (see “Dispensation of the Gospel of Grace”):


“…the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20: 24).


Acts 2 dispensationalist Charles C. Ryrie says that “under Grace the responsibility on man is to accept the gift of righteousness that God freely offers to all (Rom. 5: 15-18). There are two aspects of the grace of God in this economy: (1) the blessing is entirely of grace and (2) that grace is for all” (Ryrie, Dispensationalism, Moody Press, 1995, p. 56).


In a chart labeled “THE DISPENSATIONS” Ryrie lists the “Responsibilities” for the Dispensation of Grace as being “Believe on Christ” and “Walk with Christ” (Ibid., p. 54).


Ryrie does say that “all believers (1 Peter 4:10) are also stewards of that grace…we have a lead role in witnessing to and displaying the grace of God under this stewardship” (Ibid., p. 57).


He is right that Christians are to witness the grace of God during this stewardship, but there is absolutely no Scriptual basis for his assertion that the “responsibility” under the present dispensation is “believe on Christ”.


The apostle Paul did not receive the “dispensation of grace” until he was saved. Also, it is only saved individuals who are given the stewardship or dispensation of grace:


As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet. 4: 10).


Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4: 1).


The “gospel of grace” was not preached until Paul was converted and he was the first person to reveal that a sinner is declared righteous in the sight of God by faith apart from works and that this is all made possible by the “redemption that is in Christ Jesus”:


But now the righteousness of God without law is revealed…Even the righteousness of God which is by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Ro. 3: 21-24).