Last week here at Grace Bible Study we started a series of lessons on the gospel. More specifically the gospel of the grace of God as revealed to the Apostle Paul by direct revelation of Jesus Christ. How and when Jesus gave this new information to Paul is clearly described in Galatians chapters 1 and 2. Paul describes this revelation as a mystery that was “hid in God”. Why would we need to start a series on a subject Christians have heard hundreds of times? Ask 10 of your mature Christian friends to tell you what the gospel is, and you will quickly see why. If you can’t describe the gospel by which you are saved now, in the dispensation of the grace of God in less than 3 minutes then you don’t know the gospel. I’ll give you an example of how the gospel is easily confused today in churches everywhere. Let’s begin by looking at several verses that describe when you get salvation.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Mark 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
1Pe 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
From these verses we see that salvation is a future event that you must endure to the end, and hope for the times of refreshing at the revelation of Jesus Christ before you get it. You should note that some denominations teach these verses regularly and some avoid reading or teaching them. And today many will attempt to explain them away if they don’t teach their agenda. Let’s compare these verses to another group of verses.
Rom 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Tit 1:3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
From this group of verses it seems clear salvation is something we can receive NOW. So depending on the agenda you are following you can teach from the Bible that salvation is something you have to wait for and get later or salvation is something you can have now. I hope you can see how clearly these verses teach something different. Yes these verses do contradict each other. Are these verses a mistake? Absolutely not. As a right divider of scripture I believe all these verses literally as they are written. I do not need to avoid some or try to emphasize others to follow a denominational agenda. The Apostle Paul did not teach the good news that Israel’s earthly kingdom promised to them was “at hand” like Jesus and Peter did. Nor did Paul teach that salvation would come at Christ’s second coming to the earth at the end of the tribulation. Why? Because Jesus Christ revealed to Paul that he was doing something different. Israel had been set aside in blindness and unbelief. Paul was given a NEW message and a NEW ministry, that salvation is available to everyone regardless of your heritage. We are living in the dispensation of the grace of God where God is dealing with everyone in grace. Salvation is available freely by believing the good news Jesus revealed to Paul. You do not find this message in Matthew through Acts chapter 8. You find the gospel of the grace of God in Paul’s epistles because this message was revealed through the Apostle Paul. Rightly dividing the Bible clears up confusion and makes the gospel by which we are saved today crystal clear and easily understandable.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul