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Berean Bible Studies.
The Purpose of the Ages.
Course 100: Paper #5.
pp. 30, 31
We have noted the various dispensations which have been or will yet be in operation;
we now draw attention not so much to the surface distinctions (such as the presence or
absence of miraculous gifts), but to those things which are at the very basis of all God's
dealings. First we must notice that from dispensation 2 to dispensation 11 (see
Volume X, page 127) we have the presence and effects of SIN. Coupled with sin we
find DEATH. Both are said to REIGN.
In the fifth dispensation (commencing with the exodus), God introduced the principle
of LAW, and from Moses to Christ law was in force. The law never saved a man, never
justified, never freed, it only condemned, and showed what sin and the creature were.
GRACE is the exact opposite to law. It is free unmerited favour bestowed upon the
vilest. Grace is said to REIGN; where grace is in operation the reign of sin comes to an
end, and law has no place.
There is, however, another principle which must be distinguished from grace, and that
is MERCY. This does not hold such blessings as does grace; it operates in different
ways, and has other ends in view. There is yet one further principle whereby God deals
with sin, and that is JUDGMENT.
It will be found that grace absolutely, and mercy largely, have reference to the elect
and the present. Judgment, however, covers all men and relates mostly to the future. By
thinking of Judgment merely as the act of condemnation, we have completely missed its
scriptural meaning, and failed to give it its place in the Purpose of the Ages.
After judgment nothing is left but the second death, beyond which Scripture gives no
word to teach that there is anything.
Questions on Course 100: Paper No. 5.
1. How, and by whom, did sin enter into the world? What do you understand by the
word sin? Give the various names for sin as used in the Scriptures (e.g., trespass),
and show their distinctive meanings. Collect the references to sin, and sins, also
point out their differences.
2. Examine Rom. 5: 12-21, show its structure, set out its teaching under two
columns: (1) Adam, (2) Christ. Examine in the same way I Cor. 15: 21-28,
42-49, and Rom. 8: 19-21. How do these passages bear upon the purpose of the