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The Ultimate Purpose of God

4) God’s called ones through the ages.

In order to explain this I need to take a page from those who are dispensationalists. Most of us will agree that there are various breaks or “dispensations” in the bible that represent time periods and various works of God. For example the New Testament period is called the “dispensation of grace” which was new and different then the period of the law. Let’s take a look at the main dispensations and how they relate to this study.

A) First dispensation (Innocence)

The first dispensation is that of innocence. This time period is from Adam until the receiving of the law. Paul declares: “ROM 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. ROM 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses....” This period of history was filled with men doing as they saw fit to do. God chose to not burden them with the law, yet they could not escape the reality of death nor sin. When man was created and placed in the garden the only “rule” was do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There were no other boundaries by which man had to abide by. The spiritual life of man no doubt helped him in decision making until he ate the fruit and died. Man now finds himself in a quandary. He has no spiritual life to direct him in his decision making as well as no law to tell him what is right and wrong. Man in his infancy is not burdened with law but allowed to live life not having sin imputed, yet subject to sin and death. This period of time is human infancy. Just as our children come into the world not having law or knowledge of sin they are allowed to grow for a time not under law but free from those constraints. We cannot hold an infant guilty for soiling himself or for not obeying our commands to stop throwing their food on the floor. They know neither right nor wrong and yet right and wrong exist. Even Cain’s behavior of killing Able his brother was not imputed to him yet there were consequences for his actions. Life as God created it is intended to mature, growing in knowledge, wisdom and spiritual strength over a period of time. After hundreds of years God sees man moving out of this infancy into a place where man needs a pedagogue (teacher) to teach and train him what is right and wrong. This brings us to the second dispensation.

B) Second dispensation (Law)

The second dispensation is that of law. The apostle Paul tells us: “ROM 7:7 ...I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’” Without the law man would not know what God required from those who sought to follow His leading. The law would establish rule of worship and life. Man would know exactly what God intended them to do. When our children reach a certain age we also begin to train them in what is acceptable behavior and what is not. When our children disobey we punish them for there are always consequences for disobedience. Paul also says: “GAL 3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator....” Paul seems to be stating that God saw that transgressions were increasing so the remedy for that was to send the law. Why not just skip this step and send His son Jesus? God certainly could have bypassed this step, couldn’t he? No! Humanity was not mature enough to go from infancy to self rule without learning law during this time of little self control. We would never allow our children to go from infancy to doing what they wanted (self rule). Instead as soon as our children can understand (most of the time even before they can understand) we teach and train what is right and wrong. Self rule is only appropriate for those who are trained in the law to know what is right and wrong.

Even as rules are a safeguard for our children to protect them from the illegal and the harmful, so the law is for the follower of God. If we as parents fail to teach and train right living to our children we fail to produce responsible adults. Ultimately irresponsible adults redefine what is considered right and wrong and lead a generation into error. God being a responsible parent sends the law into the world for a dual purpose. On one hand God wants those who choose  to be responsible to know what is good and bad and on the other to hold those who don’t want to be responsible guilty for their behavior. “ROM 3:19 ¶ Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God;” Paul further tells Timothy the purpose of the law, “1TI 1:9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers.” Paul realizes that the law is more applicable to those who transgress right living than to those who live right.

If we can see this development starting to evolve from infancy to childhood we can also see adulthood approaching. In the physical world a child learns and grows as time goes by and is given a specific age in which they are considered adults. This age varies from one society to the next and yet true adulthood is usually defined in all of them.

We have seen above how God looks at a city or nation and responds to it in accordance with what it does corporately. A nation or city will experience God’s favor and anger based on the actions of those that belong to Him. While God will also take into consideration the general actions of all humans in the city/nation He is most moved by those who worship Him. So God looks at a nation/city as a living entity that moves, breaths and possesses it’s very own life. In the same way God looks at all the world as two separate beings. He sees those who are His and those who are not. I believe that much of God’s timing is based on where these two beings are at with relation to their maturity and knowledge. God looking down at the corporate spiritual beings (both the good and bad one) determines when to launch them into adulthood. “GAL 3:23 ¶ ... we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. GAL 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor {to lead us} to Christ....” Paul in this verse in Galatians informs us that “we were kept in custody under the law.” The law was expected to watch over and guard us even as a parent will do with those under their care. Now this guardian (the law) was over us and if we listened to it we lived safely. The time would come when the law is no longer necessary even as there is a time when parents are no longer required to rule over their children with total authority. The Apostle Paul knowing this states quite profoundly:

GAL 4:1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons

Paul is saying you may be an heir but you are no different then a slave if you are a child because you are under guardians and managers. This spiritual person God saw when He viewed the world as one corporate being was a child who needed a tutor and guardian. God sends the law to fill the need as that guardian. Paul goes on to say that the heir is under this guardian until the date set by the father. God in his vast wisdom knows that the transition from childhood to adulthood is not arbitrary and awaits the right time. GAL 4:4 But when the fulness of the time came.... God was attentive to what was happening in the world and waited for all things to come together to launch His spiritual child into the next phase of growth. That next phase is what is known as the dispensation of grace.

C) Third dispensation (Grace)

Even as God chose a certain point in history to transition humanity from innocence to law so there was an appointed time for humanity to go from law into grace. As we have already seen, Paul called this point the “fullness of time.” This transition period was a time set by the father according to Paul. Once the world arrived at the “fullness of time” God sent Jesus to earth in order to fulfill the law and the prophets. MAT 5:17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” The reason God wanted the law and the prophets fulfilled were so that GAL 4:5... He might redeem those who were under the Law, that  we might receive the adoption as sons. God constantly works on various levels at the same time. God is causing humanity as a whole to transition into maturity (self rule) and the individual into the adoption as a son. In this dispensation the people of God are no longer seen as infants. We know right from wrong and are no longer under tutors and guardians (the law). It is under this law of grace that we have received statements like first John 2:27 and others. 

1JO 2:27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him

ROM 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.

GAL 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law

ROM 4:15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation

We can clearly see that our dependence under this dispensation is not based on the law or the limitations of others’ understanding, but on the Spirit of the living God (grace and anointing are included in the Spirit). We should also understand that while we know the law we are not subject to the law, provided we are led by the Spirit. This dispensation applies the law to the ungodly and the sinner as well as those who have yet to grow to the point of being led by the Spirit. Those who are not fully released into self rule are to some degree subject to law until the revelation of their position in God is reached and they begin to walk in it. Paul said in the  book of Romans; “ROM 5:20 And the Law came in that the transgression might increase..”God intended it to be impossible to live according to the law so He caused the law to come and increase transgression instead of decreasing it. Paul said he would not have known what coveting was if the law had not said that he should not covet (ROM 7:7). The law brought the knowledge of right and wrong. With the knowledge of right and wrong comes the idea of transgression. Seeing that man is not capable of obeying the law, this leads to the increase of transgression. With the increase of transgressions looming over us, this should motivate us to the fact we need a Savior. The fact that we need a Savior brings us to Gal 3:24: “Therefore the Law has become our tutor {to lead us} to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.” The more we transgressed the law the more we should realize that we will never be able to keep the law in our own power.

In this dispensation Jesus makes atonement for the entire world’s sin which removes the increasing sense of transgression created by the law. Not only does Jesus remove this impending sense of judgment from sin but provides us with His Spirit which enables us to live more in agreement with how God wants us to live. Through this Spirit we are able to learn independent from others as well as allowing God to move through us in supernatural experiences. Jesus during a confrontation with the Jewish leaders tells them that if they don’t believe Him that they should believe the supernatural feats that God performed through Him. We should likewise understand that these supernatural feats are evidence of our connection to God. While they do speak to our connection with God, we should never rely upon these supernatural feats as evidence of our maturity nor as evidence of a good relationship with God for “ROM 11:29 the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

We have already stated that God waited until man as a collective was ready for Jesus to come and fulfill all that He was intended to fulfill. We must not think the concept is odd that God looks at people as a whole. Before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah He intended to give Abraham a chance to intercede for them. God would have spared the whole area if ten righteous people lived there. God was looking at the whole area as one entity and would have spared the whole but because there wasn’t ten righteous people, God had to destroy it. God not only looks at an area as a whole but even recognizes the individual. Lot being righteous gives God the right to remove him and his family. We must understand that God looks at each one of us as an individual, as a part of a family, as part of a community, as part of a country and ultimately as part of the world. We may fail to understand this concept but God doesn’t. Our city, town, or even country survive and prosper because we live there (if we are righteous). We can also expect God to deliver us from the area He decides to destroy if there is a deficiency of the righteous. This principle really is no different than the principle of the body of Christ. If we move from one area to another area we will know if the area is more spiritual or less spiritual than the place we have come from. When we move to a place under oppression and with deficient churches we will be pulled on in order to supply what is lacking in the area. Conversely, if we move to an area doing well spiritually we will experience a lift in our spiritual life because we are pulling from the area’s life. We must understand that we are connected to the world wide believers as the largest group of life (one cell of the world’s whole) as well as the smallest (being an individual) and those that are in between.

We should be thoroughly acquainted with what Jesus provided us on the cross. If you do not fully understand Jesus’ sacrifice get The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee. It is one of the best books that cover this fact and others. This brings us to the next dispensation which is the millennial reign.

D) Fourth dispensation (Millennial Reign)

The book of Revelation speaks about the thousand year reign that will happen after the tribulation. During this time those who are part of the first resurrection will rule with Jesus in Jerusalem. This is not on the new earth but will occur here on this planet (Rev. 20:4-10). At the end of these thousand years satan is again released to deceive the nations and then is thrown into the lake of fire. It will be through this millennial reign that all of the purposes of God will be completed with respect to this earth and time. This period occurs before the new heavens and earth and the unveiling of the bride.

The two things that we need to realize is that Jesus will reign on earth and that there are nations present. The people living on earth will be influenced by Jesus and not by satan. Satan at this point is bound for the thousand years. It would appear by the two scriptures quoted just below that mankind is spiritually mature, having the knowledge and understanding of God and spiritual things instilled within. It would seem that there needs to be no teaching and declaring about God because they have this knowledge within which seems to indicate the Spirit’s ascendancy. This would bring man full circle from the Garden of Eden. From the dispensation of grace where we need to learn to be lead by the Spirit to the millennial reign where the knowledge is resident within them, mankind has finally fully matured. The fact that the judgment at the end of this time is final and complete also points to it being the very last of God’s purposes on this earth.

HEB 8:8 ... He says, "Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, When I will effect a new covenant With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers On the day when I took them by the hand To lead them out of the land of Egypt; For they did not continue in My covenant, And I did not care for them, says the Lord. 10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people. 11 "And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' For all shall know Me, From the least to the greatest of them. 12 "For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more."  13 When He said, "A new {covenant}," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

JER 31:31 "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, "declares the Lord. 33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."  

These two scriptures (the original in Jeremiah and the quote in Hebrews) are talking about a time that is not part of our current history. This time is unique in that there will be no need to preach Jesus or teach truth. It is stated that they all will know God because it is written on their minds and in their hearts. This knowledge is for all ages and social standings. Paul speaking about our dispensation (the dispensation of grace) makes these statements; “ROM 10:13 for ‘Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’ ROM 10:14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? ROM 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?..." Paul realizes that there is a need for preachers and teachers to inform the people of who Jesus is and what He accomplished for them. Yet these verses in Hebrews and Jeremiah talk about a time we have yet to see. It is obvious that our dispensation and the time that is referred to by these scriptures are two separate times. When could this period be initiated and operate if not during the millennial reign? I believe it best fits in the millennial reign.

In this the fourth and last dispensation we have what should be seen as a mature spiritual man. No longer is humanity an infant nor under law. Neither is he struggling with the knowledge and reality of God but knows this instinctively. This instinctive knowing really is the full restoration of the spirit back to it’s rightful place of importance within the human frame. Man as it would seem is now operating as Adam did before the fall yet with full knowledge of good and evil. Even as the author of the book of Hebrews declares, “HEB 11:39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, HEB 11:40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” We also will not attain that which we are hoping in without this group of future believers. Those who gained approval in past dispensations had to wait for us. Like those from past dispensations, we have to wait for those who come after us.


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