church dispensationalism israel romans

The Olive Tree and One Salvation (Part 4 of 4) Romans 11

It is patently unfair when dispensationalists are attacked for making a distinction between the Church and Israel when theologians outside the dispensationalist camp have made a similar distinction. Indeed Paul doesn’t shy away from making the distinction when he points out that the Messiah came from the Jews.

“Oh,” comes the charge “The dispensationalist teaches two salvations!”

Baloney: we teach no such thing. All people, any people, have been saved by God’s grace in his right to show mercy and such people have appropriated said grace by trusting God to save.

Noah trusted God, built the ark, went in and God was the one who saved him. Paul trusted God who was manifested in the Son, preached the word and knew that God had saved him.

Trusting God. The fact that Christ was manifested in time merely highlights where the faith in God is being reflected. It would be absurd to think that Adam believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and confessed Him as Lord and believed that He was risen from the grave when no such thing had occurred. Adam’s salvation would come by not knowing God’s provision but relying on God to provide salvation.

Israel was saved not by keeping the law but by relying on God who alone saves and in God’s right they were set apart as a royal priesthood to do God’s work and to be a nation that exemplified good works for God. The works didn’t save them—God did.

The fact that God made promises does in no way negate that God showed grace and people appropriated by faith. Indeed the fact that God made promises established that the only way anyone could be saved was by trusting God to save.

What dispensationalists teach is that throughout time God has discharged responsibility to men in accordance with man’s original sin: standing in the place of God and making himself the ultimate arbitrator of all moral decisions.

When God gives man the responsibility to govern themselves it is in no way absolving God’s power (and right) to assign leaders but it does make men responsible for punishing the actions of other men. And when God gives the Law it was for the very purposes that men were made responsible for falling short of it. And when God gave His Son and showed a way (apart from the Law) by which men could embrace righteousness it was for the very purpose that men believe on Him in all his freeing and righteous perfection.

Therefore, when God saves Israel its not that He saves them differently from Gentiles, it’s that He’s saving them just like how He saves the Gentiles and that they enter in on the same ground: by faith.

Rest of Romans series.

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