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Question 151

Q: Could you speak on the age of grace?

I’ve been taught that the four gospels are written to the Jews, with a kingdom message that is not “directly for us” in this time of grace. By keeping the messages separate, things seem to make more sense. But as I talk to my brothers in Christ, I seem to be in the minority. What do you think?

Asked by: Peter

A: Peter, you’ve asked an excellent question, and there’s no way that I can possibly give you a comprehensive answer.

In fact, maybe all that I can do is to raise your curiosity and ask you to think about it and maybe you’ll even have more questions about this. Let me start off by saying that the gospel of the kingdom as proclaimed by John the Baptist and by Jesus is not the same as the gospel of grace.

The gospel of the kingdom did not include anything about the death of Jesus Christ, and it seems to be related to the Old Testament kingdom that God had promised where repentance was necessary, but grace, as you and I understand, it was not found there. Let me put it another way: there was grace, but it was a different kind of revelation regarding grace. So the answer is that there is a distinction between the two, and on that I agree with you.

On the other hand, we should not say that the gospels don’t apply to us. They certainly apply to us in principal and, not only that, when Jesus spoke about people coming to Him and having the privilege of receiving eternal life, when He said “he who believes on me shall be saved,” that is the Gospel of grace.

So in the gospels you see the beginnings of the revelation of the doctrine of grace, which, later on, the Apostle Paul picks up and explains it in a lot more detail.

So here’s the bottom line. I think you’re right that there’s a difference between the gospels and the epistles. Many of us believe that the church began in Acts 2 and so we have letters in the New Testament that are much more directly applicable to the church than some of the things in the four gospels. But sorting it all out and being true to the Bible, as I know you want to be, is a very challenging project. I encourage you to read some books on the subject and see what the different possibilities are.

Scripture references

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