Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
Yesterday was a special day. My daughter visited me. My son 'popped in' on Skype! and I overheard a conversation that blessed my soul – a chat brimming with truth. My precious twins talked for the best part of an hour on God’s unfailing love... and that nothing we say or do or think can ever alter God’s depth of love for us.
What blessed me was that their conversation was all about God’s boundless Love. It showed a clear understanding of the need to rightly divide the Word of God. It demonstrated an uncomplicated understanding of dispensations. For without dispensational understanding – all other areas of scripture get skewed, but with dispensational understanding – a clarity in Scripture is quickly unleashed.
For example - without an understanding of dispensations... Salvation of the spirit and the soul becomes intermingled leading to confusion. God’s dealings with Israel and His working with the Church become muddled. Law and grace is inevitably distorted, without dispensational understanding. Eschatology or the study of end-times can become muddied and misused.
Indeed, all areas of bible study can become clouded without a grasp of dispensations. Initial salvation; ongoing maturity and glorification becomes cloudy. Soteriology – the Holy Spirit’s work in different groups of people is distorted. Pneumatology – unless rightly-divided, the Scriptures can be accused of distortions. Bibliology – God’s work in the church is mixed up with His plan for Israel. Ecclesiology – our position in Christ, and spiritual inheritance is confused. Christology and basic Theology can all be skewed. Typology can be misconceived…. – the Trinity is misunderstood and erroneous doctrines multiply.
We all need a correct dispensational understanding – to rightly divide the Word. We need to recognise God’s ways of dealing with different groups of people - if not….. confusion reigns in the area of eternal security and spiritual warfare is distorted. Uncertainties arise about Christ’s return for the Church and His dealings with Israel.
Doctrinal breaches explode into estrangements in the body of Christ. Legalistic thinking is adopted, which causes a gross distortion of the grace of God, but worst of all God’s character is distorted and twisted perceptions of Him abound – even the word 'dispensation' has itself fragmented into various conflicting meanings.
But when God’s Word is rightly divided, a clarity in Scripture is quickly unleashed. The panorama of God’s purposes becomes clearer when the Word is rightly divided. It gives great insight into the panoramic unfolding of God’s grace towards humanity. It paints an astonishing contrast between mans' selfishness and God’s great love.
So often it seems haziness of this truth leads to brotherly contempt, not Christian love. Increasingly misunderstandings in this area can even cause believers to blame God! WHERE was GOD, they say, in 9/11 or in the Indian Tsunami? How could God allow such famine and pestilence to ravage the earth? Why does God not intervene in this world’s circumstances? Why doesn’t God act..? He just doesn’t seem to care…! If God really cared He would do something.
Without dispensational understanding, everything about God is distorted. I guess I have to admit today this grieves me deeply. The Church IS in a mess and God’s character disgraced for lack of knowledge. Never let us forget the truth of Scripture – Jesus has already gained the victory.
Jesus has already gained the victory. He came as the Passover Lamb and – our sacrifice… And He is returning as the Lion of Judah to reign – Israel’s King. He came as the Saviour of the world… and He is returning as the Bridegroom of the Church - His Bride.
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