The Berean Expositor
Volume 7 - Page 91 of 133
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The Hope and the Prize.
The Three Spheres Considered.
(Concluded from page 191, Volume 6:).
pp. 5-10
Acts 26: 16 states that after the Lord had said, "I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest,"
He added:--
"But arise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to
appoint thee a minister and a witness (note the word "both"; it must indicate more than
one, and they are distinguished) both
(1). Of what thou didst see,
(2). What I shall appear to thee in."
Here it is evident that after Acts 9: Paul was given to expect another commission to
be given by the risen Christ at some subsequent date. Acts 20: 24 supplies that date, for
Paul is found there looking back on a past ministry, and forward to another of a different
character. The word "now" in Acts 26: 17 must be omitted. The statement of verse 18
should be compared with Acts 20: 21 on the one hand, and with the parallel passages in
Ephesians and Colossians on the other.
One other passage will suffice for the present purpose, that is Eph. 3: 1-11. Again
we are met with the designation, "the prisoner of Jesus Christ," but now this prison
ministry is more clearly defined, it was "for you Gentiles" (3: 1). It is immediately
connected with a special dispensation, that of the grace of God, which was given to the
Apostle with regard to the Gentiles (3: 2), and it was further connected with "the
mystery" which was made known to the Apostle Paul by revelation (3: 3). This special
message is directly connected with a special blessing to the Gentiles, and is exclusively
linked to the gospel whereunto Paul was made a minister (3: 6, 7). Unto Paul was this
grace given that he should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
and to enlighten all as to the dispensation (R.V.) of the mystery which has been hidden
from the ages by (or in) God Who created all things (3: 8, 9).
Attached to this new dispensation is a new calling, a new sphere of blessing, and a
new hope. We shall be able, with this introduction, to take up the theme of the hope and
the calling in our next installment.
The Hope of the Calling.
Hope as used in the Scriptural sense is very far from being a vague desire entertained
with doubts and fears. Hope is the realization, the fruition, the tangible actuality of all
that God has addressed now to our faith, and all that Christ has been made to us. The
Hope will bring nothing radically new. It will of course transcend all our fondest
imaginings, for in every dispensation it will hold true that "eye hath not see, nor ear
heard, neither have entered the heart of man the things that God hath prepared for them