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Sunday, December 4, 2016

This Present Age: How Do We Live and What is Our Hope? Part 2

In PART 1 of our short study, we looked at how the Acts Age and the Post-Acts Age differ in both the conditions and instructions for believers. We noted that even though salvation has never changed (by grace alone through faith alone from Adam on), the conditions and hopes of different companies of believers do change. We must do as the Apostle Paul instructs in Phil 1:10 and “test the things that differ.”

This brings us to the hope of the present age.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ... Titus 2:11-13
We finished last time having noted that, during the Acts Age, Paul was arguing and professing “only those things spoken by Moses and the prophets” and according to things “foreseen in scripture.” This “differs” from the truth revealed in the Book of Ephesians which Paul teaches is a Mystery
which “from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God ” and revealed to Paul (Eph 3:8-9). We saw that the “one new man” made up of Jews and Greeks with no distinction was created after the Acts Age ended and not before (Jews and Gentiles being distinct during the Acts Age).
The Mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now [Post Acts] has been revealed to His saints. - Col 1:26
\So, The Acts Age company was living in distress, expecting “the Day of the Lord.” Scripture tells us that their hope was “the hope of Israel,” that which was “promised to the fathers [of Irsael].” Israel was promised she would be a nation of priests (Ex. 19) under the Old Covenant, which would come to fruition under the New Covenant in the future when Israel finally realizes all her promises (Jer 31; Heb 8). 

During the Acts Age, one of “the Apostles to the Circumcision,” (Gal 2:7-9). Peter, writes to the Jewish dispersion (1 Pet 1:1) and reminds Israel that she is to be:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. -1 Peter 2:9


This is a restating of the promise of the Old Covenant in Exodus 19:

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ 

This is a promise “made unto the fathers” and not unto the one new man of Ephesians.
“These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” Both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant are for Israel, as are the earthly promises attached. The Revelation is also for Israel.

Jerusalem and The New Jerusalem Which Comes Down from Heaven

But we also know that some were hoping for something beyond the land and earthly promises. There were those who, through faith, looked for a new city from above.

By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God... Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them... These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. -Heb 11

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. -Rev 3:12 

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. -Rev 21:2

There is a company whose hope is earthly and another whose hope is the city from above. The first is a hope builton the promises and covenants of God, the second is achieved by faith in action. Again, all have resurrection life by grace alone through faith alone. We will ahve to leave that there. But which of these is the hope of the one new man of Ephesians? Neither. The hope of that company is “in heavenly places or “in the far above the heavens.” 

The Hope of this Age and the Hope of the Calling of the One New Man

God... made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. -Eph 2:5-7 

As we saw last time, the Acts Age company was awaiting terrible times (“give us this day our daily bread”) with the promise that Christ would be with them until the end of the age, and return [Greek: Parosusia] to be with his bride. They were instructed not to marry if possible. In the present, Post-Acts, age we are “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing [Greek: epiphenea] of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
  • Earth
  • Heavens
  • Far Above the Heavens (Heavenly Places)
You may remember this from Part 1 of this study:

Obviously, the appearing (Gk: Epiphaneia) could not have been the hope of Adam, Abraham. Moses, David or anyone during the time of the Lord’s earthly ministry. It is unique to this age

The present age is the age of God’s grace. It is not a covenant it is a condition. God still acts in the affairs of men, but he does not deal in ordinances which deal with the earth, for our lives (souls) are hid with God, waiting to be revealed when he appears. We do not deal in commands, instructions or ordinances which deal with an earthly priesthood. As Paul wrote in the Post-Acts epistle to the Colossians:
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
I recommend you read the entire second chapter of Colossians.

Once again our verse:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ...

We’ve come full circle. There is a lot more we could investigate and perhaps many more questions arise. There are multitudes of scripture we could point to. In the end, we want our theology to be consistent with scripture. We want to “rightly divide the Word of Truth.” That command is for each of us, as individuals. I present only an outline in these short studies.

If you’d like to examine our Blessed Hope further, click HERE. But, remember, in the end, each of us will answer for how we “studied to show ourselves approved unto God.” (2 Tim 2:15)

Again, these are only applicable to true believers. For info on true believers, please click here: WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?

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