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For truly I say to you, Till the Heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled. Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Matthew 5:18-19 MKJV)
Another way some express this diabolical doctrine: “We don’t have to worry about keeping God’s Law. That was for the Jews before Christ’s day. They were under the dispensation of Law, but we’re now in the age of Grace.”
This doctrine subtly encourages lawlessness.
It is error to teach that when we first become Christians, we are under grace. Spiritual pilgrims must come to know the Law of God and its requirements upon us by experience. We must be subjected to the essence of the Old Testament (though not the ritualism) before we can enter into the rest of the grace of God in full. This can only come by our Lawmaker, Who is the Law, Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul wrote some of the Book of Romans as a type of roadmap of our spiritual journey. For example, the sixth chapter speaks of our coming into Christ by being baptized into His death and receiving His Spirit. Preceding chapters speak of the preparation for being baptized into His Body.
Chapter seven then speaks of great trials that ensue upon entrance of the Lord into one’s life. It is a battle between the carnal and the spiritual (which doesn’t exist before one comes to Christ) and between keeping the Law and experiencing the fulfillment of it by the power of the Resurrection Life. By the end of chapter seven, the victory of Christ within comes to fruition and the soul enters chapter eight, exulting in his Savior.
The point is that no spiritual sojourner skips the step of coming to personal knowledge of the requirement of the Law of God. All must understand by experience that the Law must be fulfilled, and that the Law is impossible to be honored in the flesh. So it is error to teach a historical dispensation of grace that nullifies a personal session of God’s Law at work within the believer.
Paul confirmed this truth in his letter to the Galatians:
Galatians 3:21-24 MKJV
(21) Is the Law then against the promises of God? Let it not be said! For if a law had been given which could have given life, indeed righteousness would have been out of Law.
(22) But the Scripture shut up all under sin, so that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
(23) But before faith came, we were kept under Law, having been shut up to the faith about to be revealed.
(24) So that the Law has become a trainer of us until Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
So we see that believers exercise faith before Christ comes to manifest victory in their souls. The seed of saving faith, which is planted within, causes the soul to recognize the primacy of God’s Law and come under it as teacher. This in turn brings the soul to Christ for the Law’s fulfillment, which is His appearing and our salvation:
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him [by faith] shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28 KJV).
That is not to say there was no historical dispensation of Law with all its external requirements. Who did the Law apply to in the outward practice? It only applied to the theocratic nation of Israel. The rest of the world had nothing to do with it. It is true that we live in the nations, the rest of the world, and have never been under the historical “dispensation of Law.”
Now what about Israel, as a nation in this world, presently without elements of the Law – the Temple, the Levitical priesthood, solemn feasts, and sacrifices? Those elements were all destroyed by Rome nearly 2,000 years ago, along with the nation and its capital, Jerusalem. Are the Jews therefore now under grace? If so, why are they still in unbelief after 2,000 years? Because the Scriptures say God would harden the Jews to bring the Gentiles to the faith of Abraham, which would then provoke the Jews to jealousy. The Jews would then be restored to God.
Try to tell the Jews they have been under grace for the last two millennia, if you wish to speak of grace in terms of unmerited favor and blessings, not in terms of persecutions, homelessness, pogroms, and in our day, the horrific Holocaust. Even now, with part of their nation restored to them, they suffer multifarious troubles – worldwide hatred, censure, persecution, economic hardship, and conflict, within and without.
It is taught by some that Israel as a nation was forever cast away and what was denied the Jews was granted to the Gentiles, who form the Body of Christ. In essence, this false doctrine says Israel was subjected to the dispensation of Law, while the Gentiles entered the promised dispensation of grace by the Jewish Messiah, Whom Israel rejected and slew. By God’s grace and enlightenment, a reading of Romans chapters nine through eleven, along with the prophets of old, as well as the consideration of the return of the Jews to their land, in our own generation, will conclusively dispel such error for any reasonable heart and mind.
So, then, to whom do these so-called dispensations apply – how and when? We have the historical record of the Law of God introduced by Moses 3,500 years ago and ending 2,000 years ago with Israel’s destruction. We also have the Christian congregation, the Body of Christ in the world since that time. However, we must understand that, as believers, we each have that same “Old Testament” history to experience for ourselves, a period of Law followed by a coming of spiritual maturity in Christ known as “the rest” or “sanctification.” Not one sojourner in Christ is immediately exempt of a period of struggle with the demand of the Law of God.
Jesus Christ didn’t take our place on the cross; He made the way for us to join Him on the cross. The Law slays us, we die, and with Christ, we are raised up from the dead.
Ask yourself one simple question, you who have received Christ: Of what stage in his spiritual life was Paul speaking when he said?:
Romans 7:9-23 MKJV
(9) For I was alive without the Law once. But when the Commandment came, sin revived and I died.
(10) And the Commandment, which was to life, was found to be death to me.
(11) For sin, taking occasion by the Commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
(12) So indeed the Law is holy, and the Commandment is holy and just and good.
(13) Then has that which is good become death to me? Let it not be! But sin, that it might appear to be sin, working death in me by that which is good; in order that sin might become exceedingly sinful by the Commandment.
(14) For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
(15) For that which I do, I know not. For what I desire, that I do not do; but what I hate, that I do.
(16) If then I do that which I do not desire, I consent to the Law that it is good.
(17) But now it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
(18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I do not find.
(19) For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do.
(20) But if I do what I do not desire, it is no more I working it out, but sin dwelling in me.
(21) I find then a law: when I will to do the right, evil is present with me.
(22) For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man;
(23) but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin being in my members.
Don’t verses 22 and 23 answer that question? Paul speaks of a delight in the Law of God according to his inward man. There exists no such delight in anyone without Christ first having done a work of grace. As Paul said in chapter three, describing man before he comes to Christ, there exists nothing good in anyone – “Their feet are swift to shed blood; the venom of asps is under their lips….”
So in Christ, we must each live in the dispensation of the Law for a time until we overcome. Grace always comes with Law in the spiritual life, and then, by grace, the Law is fulfilled within. Those who think to live in grace without having experienced the Law have been deceived by a false gospel. They worship “another Jesus,” be assured. Their grace is nothing more or less than iniquity (lawlessness). And these all hate the Law, notwithstanding their claims and professions of faith in Christ. The true saints of God, however, love and establish His Law:
“Do we then make the Law void through faith? Let it not be! But we establish the Law” (Romans 3:31 MKJV).
While the entire world experiences a measure of grace, has any of the world experienced the reign of grace, as Israel experienced the reign of Law? How so, if we have no true Christian or Messianic nation? So where is this “dispensation”? If not with nations, then where and with whom? Is it true that true Christians are without Law, it being done away, as many erroneously suppose? Is it true that grace only came when Jesus Christ appeared as a man?
It is said that Canada, the US, and other nations are Christian nations (presumably under grace). The fact is there has never been a Christian nation other than Israel if you speak of “Christian” as under God in the form of a theocracy (rule of and by God). While individuals within nations have acknowledged the Lordship of Jesus Christ, no nation ever has, even though all things in Heaven and earth are under God’s sovereignty, including all nations, believers, unbelievers, Satan, devils, angels, death, and Hell.
You may say Israel was never a Christian nation. However, Jesus Christ was always there, being God. Because He didn’t make His appearance in history as the Son of God until later does not presuppose He wasn’t there. Paul refers to His Presence with the children of Israel:
“And all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4 MKJV).
Who called Abraham? Who formed the nation of Israel? Who gave the Law? Who did it all? Jesus Christ, Lord of lords, King of kings, the One by Whom all things were made, and by Whom all things consist, says the Word of the Lord.
Jesus said the Law has never been, and will never be, done away:
Matthew 5:17-19 MKJV
(17) Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.
(18) For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled.
(19) Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Therefore, there can be no age without the Law of God. And grace has also always been there, right from day one, even as it says Moses and Noah found grace in the sight of God. Therefore, there can be no age without grace. It was by grace Enoch was translated, Abraham was called, Isaac was born, and Jacob chosen. Grace was always present. It isn’t a matter of epochal dispensation.
Among Gentile nations, grace gave Nebuchadnezzar dominion, he being that head of gold, not by his own will or power, as he learned the hard way and as Daniel declares. By grace, Cyrus of Persia decreed that Israel be sent back from captivity to its own land to rebuild the Temple. By grace, Ahasureus selected Esther to be his queen and received her in the inner court, granting her petition to deliver the Jews from destruction. Only as determined from above, all empires, nations, and leaders have arisen to take their places, by grace.
Law and grace both apply in our personal spiritual lives as believers, “dispensationally,” if you will. First comes the Law, as Paul says. By grace, we are made aware of God’s holy spiritual Law and its requirement upon us; by grace, we realize it must be met, so we try to keep it. We fall short, learning it’s impossible to keep. We cry out to God and receive grace to fulfill the Law of God by His Spirit of grace.
The false conversion to Christ disregards the Law and goes directly to lawlessness, calling that “grace,” deeming that to be true faith. Thus are formed the tares, the proselytes, the sons of iniquity, who then go about making disciples who become twofold children of Hell, all the while calling themselves born-again Christians who have “accepted” Jesus as Savior. (Read The False and Misleading Gospel of “Accepting” Jesus Christ.)
Let it be known to all: Those who are the Lord’s love the Law and seek to keep it with all their hearts.
“Oh how I love Your Law! It is my meditation all the day. Through Your Commandments You make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me” (Psalms 119:97-98 MKJV).
This is the resounding declaration, the public heartfelt cry, of every true child of God who loves the Author of the Law.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish [many recite those words, but ask them to recite the rest of that verse and they are lost]… but he that keeps Your Law, happy is he!” (Proverbs 29:18)
Isaiah declares, “Behold My servant, Whom I uphold; My Elect, in Whom My soul delights; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles… the isles shall wait for His Law” (Isaiah 42:1-4).
The Gentiles? Isn’t it said they came into grace, not the Law? What are the prophets talking about? Do they know? Yes, in Christ the Gentiles come to live and establish the Law by His grace!
“Who is blind, but My servant? Or deaf, as My messenger that I sent? Who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant? …The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the Law, and make it honorable” (Isaiah 42:19, 21).
From Genesis to Revelation, the Law of God is present. Before Adam fell, there was Law: “You shall not eat of the Tree of Knowledge….” The longest Psalm is as relevant today as it was in Adam’s day and the day it was written. A prominent Biblical theme is the Law of God, and Psalm 119 begins with, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk after the Law of the Lord” (Psalms 119:1 KJV).
What about the very first Psalm? “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Law of the Lord; and in His Law does he meditate day and night” (Psalms 1:1-2 KJV).
Was not this Psalm written by the Spirit of grace?
Consider the alternative to believing the false doctrine of the absence of Law in the life of the spiritual pilgrim: Love the Law of God, pursue and establish it with all that is in you. It is for your life. And you shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:19). This is true salvation.