Salvation:- 8 (1 | 2 | 3|4 |5 |6 |7
VIII. SALVATION IN VARIOUS DISPENSATIONS
By Nelson Thomas Mumbai
Since salvation is based on based on the work of Christ, what happened to those who lived prior to Christ? To clear this question we need to consider God’s plan of salvation in various ages.
A dispensation or age is a period of time in which God dealt with man in a particular manner. Generally we classify the time from eternity to eternity in to seven dispensations. Here in connection with salvation we will divide into five dispensations.
1. Age of conscience. Adam to Moses. Rom5:14; 2:12--16
During this period God spoke to man in 4 ways:-
i. Directly to Adam and Eve. Cf. Gen 3:15. Through words and deeds God made it known to Adam that a sacrifice must be offered for salvation. Cf. Gen 3:21; Heb 9:22; 11:4. Adam passed on this truth to generations. That’s how Abel offered a sacrifice.
ii. Spirit spoke to their spirit. Gen 6:3 cf. Rom 8:16.
iii. Through nature. Rom 1:19; Act 17:26, 27.
iv. Through conscience. Rom 2:14—16.
Thus they had revelation of God’s just demands. Those sacrifices by faith pointed to Christ’s sacrifice. God had planned the sacrifice of Christ before the foundation of the world. Cf. 2Tim 1:9, 10; Act 4:27, 28; Rev 13:8. In God’s program, work of Christ began even before He came on earth of fulfill it. Cf. Jn 1:1, 9, 10; 2Cori 5:19. Abraham had seen Christ. Jn 8:56; Job also knew the work of Christ. Cf. Job 19:25—27.
In those days God in His sovereign will led the one who truly desired to be saved. Psa 12:5; 50:5; Heb 4:4; Job 1:5; Gen 11:7 etc. Abel, Noah, Abraham, Job etc were saved during this period.
2. Age of law. Sinai –
(Moses to Christ / Calvary). Cf. Matt 11:12, 13; Lk 16:16.
Law was given to show their need of a saviour. Law and levitical sacrifices were only shadow of Christ’s perfect sacrifice. Cf. Rom 10:5; Lev 18:5; Gal 3:12, 23, 24; 2:16; 3:20.
Law was not intended to save them, but act as a school teacher, till Christ came. Any one who offered a sacrifice as per the law was pointing towards the cross of Christ by faith. Cf. Heb 11:26 – Thus by faith Moses saw Christ. David and many others were also got saved during this period. Cf. Psa 51: 5. 11, 17; 32:1.
3. Age of grace. Present dispensation. Cf. Eph 2:8; Jn 1:16
From the day of Pentecost to rapture when Christ shall appear and take away the Church to His presence. Cf. 1The 4:16, 17. During this period salvation is through faith in the finished work of Christ. Eph 2:8, 9. That is what we emphasize in this study.
4. Age of Great Tribulation. Rapture to the Glorious appearance. Cf. 1The 4:16, 17; Zech 14:4; Mark 13:9; Matt 2421.
Holy spirit will work among people just like before the age of grace. Cf. Gen 6:3; Jn 16:8; Isa 63:11; Hagg 2:5; Neh 9:20. Two witnesses will preach during the last three and a half years. Mal 4:6; Rev 11:1—13. Through their testimony 14400 Jews will be saved. Reve 7:1—8. Through their preaching many more will be saved. Rev 7:9—17.
The gospel is called eternal gospel (Rev 14:6, 7) and Gospel of the Kingdom (Matt 24:14). Today we preach ‘gospel of the grace of God’. Act 20:24.
Today there are many places yet to be reached by the gospel. In those days gospel will reach everywhere. In this period also, the basis for salvation is Christ’s sacrifice. Rev 7:14, 17. As they go through suffering they will have to endure till the end. Rev 14:9—13.
5. Age of Millennium Rev 20:4—6 1000 years reign of Christ. Zech 14:1—5; Rev 19:11—21.
Seven years after rapture the Lord comes in glory with the saints to establish His Kingdom. Isa 32:1; Luk 19:17—19. Whole of Israel will be saved. Rom 11:25, 26. Isa 4:3, 4; 60:21; Dan 12:1. People from many other nations also will see and listen to Christ. Many of them will be saved. Isa 19:21—25; Zeph 3:9; Isa 17:7, 8. During this age people will follow the law, see Messiah and hear Him. Thus many more will be saved.
Thus in all ages / dispensations the way of salvation is only one, that’s Christ and His sacrifice. But do not forget that, the state of those who got saved in all these ages is different. For example, the saved company of God’s people in this present dispensation alone is part of the body of Christ – The Church.
Yes, there are some godly saints who disagree with this aspect of Church. But this writer believes that the position of Church as the bride of Christ is unique. To study this we need to consider the topic on Church in detail.
Next:- IX. Things involved in our salvation
More:- An index for all studies