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Volume 27 - Page 168 of 212 Index | Zoom | |
church, which is "blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ", is
entered as we "hear" and "believe" the testimony of the Lord's prisoner.
The value of the dividing line.
"After it was pointed out to me that Ephesians was written after the Acts closed, then
Eph. 3: 1-11 was ample evidence that Paul had a distinct message. Of course there were
details to add, such as Eph. 1: 3, 17-23, 2: 13-15, Phil. 3:, Col. 1:, with
Acts 28: 23-28 as a definite dispensational line, but with all that, the conviction was
established that the dispensation of the mystery was distinct. The comprehension of the
pre-prison epistles upon Acts ground, and the prison epistles after Acts 28:, did as
much for me at the beginning as any verse in particular, for after that I could place the
Scripture upon a progressive programme."
The testimony given above is splendid. It states quite clearly that, as a result of rightly
dividing the Word of truth and believing that the setting aside of Israel in Acts 28:
was a crisis in the outworking of the purpose of the ages, the full acceptance of the
apostle's claim to have received by revelation the mystery of Eph. 3: was both simple
and necessary. As this reader says, many other scriptures had to be considered and put
into place, but the one great fact of a dividing line at Acts 28: solved all problems.
The realization that, however, much affinity there may be between the doctrinal
teaching of Romans and that of Ephesians, the two epistles rest upon distinctly different
dispensational grounds is most important. There are some who appear to have seen that
there was revealed after Acts 28: a unique dispensation, and yet to them it is but an
evolution of the earlier ministry of the apostle. Such bring over the hope of I Thess. 4:
as the hope of the Church of the Mystery, and fail to distinguish between what was
permanent and what was transitory in the ministry of Paul during the Acts. The writer
whose testimony we are considering raises the question, in a part of his letter which we
have not quoted, as to how far elective grace accounts for the differences between
believers. This we cannot say. We most surely recognize that "what we are, we are by
the grace of God", but, at the same time, we must be careful to avoid any appearance of
minimizing the believer's responsibility to believe all and only what God has said.