Dr. Lawrence Butler
The Bridge Church, Pembroke
In the opening pages of the New Testament we find God working His plan of salvation.
The Mosaic Law was simply a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, our Savior. Paul explains this vividly in Galatians 3 where we come to understand there needed to be a restraint upon people, a punishment for wrong-doing and a fear of the Lord on their hearts. This did not deliver men from their sinful nature, but it did hold them accountable. Then, with the promise of a coming Savior, man could have a measure of faith that God’s deliverer would one day arrive. Thus we find an angel appearing to a young virgin girl with a message that God’s time had finally come. A Savior would be born who would “save his people from their sins” (Matt.1:21). We are familiar with the story of Jesus, or at least I hope you are. For some 3½ years He travelled and taught in Israel before being crucified as a blasphemer. His death was a substitutionary one, dying for our sins so we could live by faith. The Law completely ended in the judgment of sin on the cross of Calvary.
The Dispensation of Grace began when Christ died for us.
He became the sacrifice of death required by God for sin, therefore taking our place in death so we can live. This promise of abundant life begins on this earth but will continue into the next phase – that of eternity. This happens because of grace – that undeserved blessing and favor of God.
It is extended to us if we recognize our sin, repent of it (which means confessing and turning away from it), and surrender our lives to serve the Lord.
The New Testament church was born on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). This is when Peter made a bold statement to all who would listen that Jesus Christ was not only the crucified Savior, but the resurrected Savior. He proclaimed Jesus was alive, had proven Himself the victor over death by many infallible proofs, had returned to the Father and would one day come back for the believers.
The new church also learned of Christ’s teaching that the Holy Spirit would come and reveal to the church more about God the Father. The Holy Spirit arrived on the Day of Pentecost with great power. People were “speaking in tongues,” staggering around like drunk men, and yet more happy and blessed than at any time in their lives. The Dispensation of Grace had arrived and the world has never been the same!