Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth : Divisions Lesson #4
In the previous lessons we have been looking at the major divisions in the word of God. We looked at the first two divisions. The first one was called Innocence and it dealt with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before their sin. The second one was called Conscience and it dealt with man as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin being under their conscience. The third division was called Human Government and dealt with the changes that God made when Noah and his family got off the ark. The fourth division was called Promise and dealt with the promises given to Abram. In this lesson we will look at the next two major divisions in the word of God which are going to be called The Law and the Church Age.
Major divisions in the word of God continued :
Division 5 : The Law (Exodus 19 – Resurrection of Jesus Christ)
- This division begins with Israel accepting the Law in Genesis 19 and it ends with the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Even though there is a transition time between the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 we still use the resurrection as a point of reference for the end of the Law. It was at the resurrection that the veil in the Temple that separated the Holy of Holies and the Holy place was rent in twain from the top to the bottom (Matthew 27:51). This signified to Israel that there was a new way to God and forgiveness of sins and that is through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16 ; Hebrews 10:19-20).
- Salvation in this division is faith and works. Israel had to keep the Law. The law did require sacrifices for sin but these sacrifices did not take away the sin permanently they were like a down payment until the blood of Jesus Christ could be shed on Calvary (Exodus 34:7 ; Hebrews 10:4)
- It is interesting to note that in the entire Old Testament the word faith only occurs twice, Deuteronomy 32:20 and Habakkuk 2:4. Both of these are a reference to someone’s personal faith. This is different from the faith that is the gift of God in the church age (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- Just to show once again that one has to note these divisions when studying the word of God note that in Romans 1:17 Paul is quoting Habakkuk 2:4. But instead of saying “the just shall live by his faith” the Holy Spirit guided Paul has him state “the just shall live by faith”. Note he leaves the word his out under the leadership of the Holy Spirit because he is writing to a different people in a different division of the word of God and in the church age it is the faith of Jesus Christ that we live and walk by not our own (Galatians 2:20).
- It is important to note one last thing about this division. Many people will try to teach that in the Old Testament people were saved by looking forward to the cross. Even though many things in the Old Testament and the Law did foreshadow the Lord Jesus Christ they did not understand them so they could not have been saved by looking forward to the cross. Their salvation depended on doing what God told them to do. For an example to prove this look at Luke 18:31-34. Here Jesus is plainly telling his disciples that he would die and rise again and they understood none of those things. If the disciples did not understand them with Jesus explaining them the Old Testament people were not saved by looking forward to the cross.
Division 6 : The Church Age ( Acts 2 – Rapture of the Church)
- This division began on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 where the Holy Spirit came and it will end at the Rapture of the Church which is before the Tribulation.
- The reason for this division being called the church age is because with the coming of the Holy Spirit to live in man as a part of salvation a saved person is spiritually baptized into the body of Jesus Christ. The Body of Jesus Christ is called the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23).
- Therefore the Church is not just a particular denomination or religion as many people believe, but it is a spiritual body made up of saved born again believers from the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 until now.
- For the Jews in Acts 2 salvation was a little different up till Acts 15. The reason that we include Acts 2 in the church age is because the word of God says that the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved in Acts 2:47.
- Salvation in the church age is different from all the other divisions in the word of God. It is by grace through faith without works of any kind (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is one of the only divisions where works is not a part of Salvation.
- This is a special division that takes place because Israel rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as their King. They receive another shot at receiving him in the person of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) but they reject him again and then the Lord starts dealing with the Gentiles.
- We see the Apostle Paul who calls himself the apostle to the Gentiles gets saved in Acts 9 and then Peter takes the gospel to the house of Cornelius in Acts 10. Most of Paul’s writings are doctrinally for the church in the church age. This is why they seem to differ sometimes with what Jesus taught in the Gospels because Jesus was dealing doctrinally with the Jews in regards to dealing with the kingdom.
- When the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus Christ the church age came about and he gave Paul some revelations that no one else had ever received before and therefore things are different in the church age.
- Some of the things that accompany Salvation in the church age that have not accompanied salvation before are the New Birth, Spiritual Baptism, Spiritual Circumcision, and Eternal Security of the Believer.
- Sometime in the near future we are going to have the event that we call the rapture of the church take place. This is where all those who have died saved since Acts 2 will be resurrected and also those who are saved and still alive will be taken to heaven with them. This event is described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Once again we see how important it is to teach these divisions and be able to rightly divide the word of God in order to avoid teaching the wrong doctrine to the wrong group at the wrong time. Remember our goal is to study to show ourselves approved unto God.