Grace Upon Grace: The Dispensation of the Church Age
As we come to the 6th Dispensation, there are a couple things that need to remain in the forefront of our minds.
- We are currently in this Dispensation. It began at Pentecost and continues until the Rapture.
- The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church. (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 Romans 8:23 Titus 2:13 1 Corinthians 15:51,52)
- NO ONE, absolutely no one knows when this Dispensation will end. (Matthew 24:36 Mark 13:32) Therefore it is our duty, as the Church, to proclaim the message of the Gospel unto the ends of the earth until Christ shall come.
Many in the Covenant Theology camp accuse Dispensationalists of teaching a “secret rapture.” This absurd and reflects a lack of taking the Bible text at face value. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 & 17 is the “Rapture Passage” and there is nothing in the text that suggests this event will be a secret. The Lord, Himself, will come with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the Trumpet of God; that does not sound very secretive at all. I will concede that it is possible that those who are about to be consigned to the Tribulation may have no clue as to what is happening since the god of this world will have blinded their eyes (2 Corinthians 4:4) but there will be absolutely no mistaking that something is happening. No mistake at all; Zero, zip, zilch, nada; not one single person will be left to wonder if something terrible has happened, though it is possible that they will be blind to the new definition of terrible that they will be about to learn.
Personally, I do not believe, for a second, that the entire world will be completely blinded to the reality of the Rapture. Instead, I am convinced that there will be people on the earth, who were not really believers, that will realize that they have heard, before, what they are witnessing and will weep, gnash their teeth, and fall prostrate before the Lord in hopes He will have mercy.
Because no man knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36) we refer to End of Days (the final dispensation) as being imminent, that is to say that Christ could return at any moment. If Christ’s return is imminent we must, then, ask what is our obligation as the Church? In the Dispensation of the Church Age we must (Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 28:19, Luke 3:8)
- Make Disciples, teaching them all things that Christ has commanded us
- Bear fruit that is keeping with repentance
- Proclaim Good News to the Poor
- Bind up the brokenhearted
- Set the captives at liberty
- Release the prisoners from the darkness
It is required of stewards that they be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:1) and our stewardship is the Good News of the Gospel, the Christ has come to redeem a people unto Himself and that we shall one day be with Him in the clouds for ever.
It should be noted that the Dispensation of the Church Age is also simply called the Dispensation of Grace. The people at gotquestions.org have some excellent information on this dispensation. It follows here:
Grace is God’s benevolence to the undeserving. Grace is the rule of life for the Church, and through the Church God’s grace is extended to the whole world, as the gospel of Jesus Christ is taken to the ends of the earth. It has been said that grace saved us (Ephesians 2:8-9), it supports us (Romans 5:2), it teaches us (Titus 2:11-12), and it disciplines us (1 Corinthians 11:28-32; Hebrews 12:5-11). With the Holy Spirit indwelling His Church, we are able to walk with the Lord and live as He intends (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:10; 5:17-18; Philippians 1:6; 4:13; Romans 8:14). It is not heaven yet, and it is far short of perfection, but as the Church is being sanctified, it provides a little taste of heaven on earth (Ephesians 2:21-22).
Until that “bright and blessed morning when the dead in Christ shall rise, and the glory of His resurrection share,” let us labor for our King and spread the Good News, Our God Reigns.