Wednesday, June 7, 2006

The Dispensation of the Fullness of the Times

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth — in Him. (Ephesians 1:7-10)
Redemption, forgiveness, grace — this is the revelation of the Father’s will. It is His good pleasure and freely determined purpose. Because it pleases Him, it must have everything to do with faith, for without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

The overarching purpose of God which has now been revealed is to gather all things together in unity in the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring heaven and earth together in Him. For He is the God-Man who now rules and reigns over all forever and ever — and we rule and reign with Him (Ephesians 2:6).

We are now in the dispensation of the fullness of times. A dispensation is an economy, an administration, a stewardship. In the dispensation of the fullness of times, the stewardship is to bring all things in heaven and earth together. We have not yet reached the completion of the fullness of times — that is still to come — but the administration of it has already begun.
  • It is an administration of the New Covenant, which is established in the blood of the Lord Jesus, and of which God has made us able ministers: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as minister of the new covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
  • It is an administration of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ: “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship [dispensation]” (1 Corinthians 9:16-17).
  • It is an administration of the grace of God: “For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles — if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you” (Ephesians 3:1-2).
  • It is an administration of the Word of God: “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship [dispensation] from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but now has been revealed to His saints” (Colossians 1:24-26).
  • It is an administration of the Lord’s Prayer. For the Lord Jesus Himself taught us to pray, “Kingdom of God, come! Will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven!” and all things in heaven and earth to being gathered together under His lordship.
The dispensation of the fullness of times has begun, and all those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ have been made able ministers of it. How will you exercise your stewardship today?