If ye have heard of the dispensation [administration] of the grace of God which is given me to youward:
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
The apostle Paul was given revelation regarding
the administration of the great mystery. The word translated "dispensation"
is the Greek word for "stewardship" or "administration." Just as
we think of a president's administration as a time period in which certain
procedures and rules are in effect that reflect the president's stewardship
of the country, the apostle Paul was given revelation from God regarding
the procedures and rules that are presently in effect during this administration
of the grace of God.
In the Bible lands it was customary for the head of a household to engage one of his poorer relatives as his steward. When the steward was hired, everything pertaining to the affairs of the household was turned over to him. He could buy and sell property. He could sign deeds. He could lend money and forgive debts. He could do anything the head of the household could do. He was given the keys to all properties, the records, and the bookkeeping. He was also given the family signet ring.
The signet ring was engraved with the name of the owner or with some family emblem and was a symbol of authority used in the Bible lands to seal legal documents. A document without a seal would not be legal. A merchant's letters and bills had to be sealed. Even today, modern Egyptians and Eastern businessmen wear a seal-ring on the little finger of their right hand. The seal represents the owner and is used to indicate that sealed property belongs to him.
In whom [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
In this administration of the grace of God believers
have received God's gift of holy spirit as a token of the inheritance that
God has predetermined to give each of us at the day of redemption.
Holy spirit is the "earnest" of our inheritance. Just as earnest
money is given as a token when a property is purchased, God has given us
a token of the inheritance that He has laid up for us to be claimed at
the day of redemption when He also will claim His purchased possession
(us!) We have an inheritance coming to us and God has an inheritance
coming to Him at that day. We have been redeemed, bought with a price,
from the world; yet we are still in the world. God has purchased
us with the life of His son. He placed holy spirit in us as a SEAL
indicating that we belong to Him. When He sends Jesus Christ back
to claim that which He owns, we will be gathered unto Him and receive the
fullness of our inheritance.
All those who have confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believed in their heart that God raised him from the dead [Romans 10:9-10] have been SEALED with God's gift of holy spirit. It does not matter who you are, what you were, or what you might do in the future. If you have believed and received, then you are SEALED. This is the greatness of the mystery of the grace of God. We are all members of the body of Christ. We are individually SEALED with that holy spirit of promise. We belong to Him!
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
We belong to God. We have the SEAL of holy spirit as a token in our hearts that we belong to Him. There should NEVER be any question of our salvation or of that which God has predestinated to give us at the day of redemption for we have the proof. We have been given holy spirit as a SEAL of our sonship. We can speak in tongues. We know that we know that we know that we belong to Him.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
What is it to "grieve the holy spirit of God?" Well, to deny the greatness of the grace of God given to us would certainly be grieving. We have the SEAL of holy spirit. We will have it until the day God claims that which is His. To deny the gift, to deny the grace and power given to us is to grieve. God wants us to walk, utilizing that spirit that He gave us and renewing our minds to His glorious grace. God wants us to live like His sons because we belong to Him.
"When the first century believers
failed to continue to act in the light of the great mystery as unfolded
so magnanimously in the epistle to the Ephesians, they lost the true teaching
concerning the mystery which is the center of all true Christian faith,
the one body of Christ.
The immediate consequence of the loss of this truth of the great mystery produced glowing errors. It initiated the different so-called "bodies" with all the subsequent division and schism in the church body. Instead of rightly dividing the word of truth and recognizing the "one body" which God made (Ephesians 4:4), men set about making their own ecclesiastical bodies and sects.
The truth as to the believer's perfect standing before God in Christ was the next major loss. The truth as to what God made every believer to be in Christ, how every believer is justified by the faith of Jesus Christ and saved by God's grace was all basically lost. Failing to adhere to the truth the teachers began to propagate error regarding the Lord's promised return from heaven, the gathering together and the resurrection." Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille - The Great Mystery Revealed
ONE BODY BY GRACE
Galatians 1:6-9, 11-12
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel;
Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. . .
. . . I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
God called us in one body, the body of Christ. He SEALED each of us with His gift of holy spirit - Christ in you! We have all that God has given by His grace. To teach, as some were in Galatia, that a believer needs to do some work or keep the law to be saved is to deny that which was accomplished in Christ. The gospel which these "believers" where promoting was a perversion of the truth designed by the adversary to trouble the body of Christ. The result was division and schism in the church. This is the first step on the road down. To lose sight of the mystery of the one body of SEALED believers with Christ as the head and to establish all sorts of divisions and "churches" is to turn away from the administration of the grace of God.
JUSTIFIED BY GRACE
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;
God paid the price to redeem us. He gave His son Jesus Christ. We have been judged righteous in Christ. We are justified. It is just as if we never sinned. And what did we do or can we do to earn our justification? NOTHING! We have it freely given to us by his grace! When believers turn away from the truth of the administration of the grace of God and that which we have received in Christ, they begin promoting works. They forget that they are SEALED. This is the second step down. We need to recognize the greatness of all we have received and will receive freely by his grace.
According to the riches of God's grace recorded in Ephesians we have:
Been chosen in him before the foundation of
Been made holy and without blame before him in love.
Been predestinated unto sonship.
Been made accepted.
Been redeemed through the blood of His son Jesus Christ.
Been given the forgiveness of sins.
Been given wisdom.
Been given a knowledge of the mystery of his will.
Been promised that He will gather us together in Christ in the fulness of time.
Been promised an inheritance at the day of redemption.
Been made alive together with Christ.
Been raised up and seated in the heavenly places in Christ.
Been promised a show of God's exceeding grace in the ages to come.
GATHERED TOGETHER WITH CHRIST BY GRACE
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savious; the Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
The mystery of the gathering together of the body of Christ was first revealed to the apostle Paul as steward of the grace of God. Ten times in the above verses God indicates the things that SHALL absolutely happen at that day. To turn away from that which is revealed in the epistles written to the church regarding the gathering together is another step down. The great hope we have for the day of redemption, our inheritance, and eternity with God must NEVER be replaced by preparation for death, destruction, and fear of the wrath of God. We have been delivered from the wrath to come and given a glorious hope.
1 Peter 4:10
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
We have freely received the gift of holy spirit by grace. We are SEALED until the day of redemption. We have been given the same responsibility as the apostle Paul in that we are to serve one another by ministering the SAME gift as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Let us never lose sight of the administration of the grace of God given to us. Freely we have received - Freely give!