The Time Element In Scripture

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

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How many Scriptural problems would be solved, how many seeming contradictions explained, if we were more careful to note the time element, emphasized so strongly in the Word of God.

In Romans 5:12 we learn that sin entered the human race by Adam. Then later “the law entered” (Ver. 20). But still later the Apostle Paul arose to say: “But now, the righteousness of God without the law is manifested” (Rom. 3:21).

Early in man’s history blood sacrifices were required for acceptance with God (See Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4), later circumcision and the Law (Gen. 17:14; Ex. 19:5), and still later, repentance and water baptism (Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38). But not until Paul do we learn of salvation by grace through faith alone, on the basis of Christ’s finished, all-sufficient work of redemption.

This is why the Apostle refers in Gal. 3:23 to “the faith which should afterward be revealed.” This is why he declares that our Lord “gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time”, and adds: “whereunto I am ordained a preacher and an apostle” (I Tim. 2:6,7).

It is only as we recognize the time element in Scripture that we see the difference between “the kingdom of heaven” and “the Body of Christ,” between “the gospel of the kingdom” and “the gospel of the grace of God,” between the “dispensation of law” and “the dispensation of the grace of God.”

A comparison of Romans 3:21 and 26 shows how this time element is emphasized in Scripture. After discussing the function of the Law in Verses 19 and 20, the Apostle Paul declares: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…” Then, in Ver. 26 he states that it is God’s purpose: “To declare, I say, at this time His [Christ’s] righteousness; that He [God] might be just and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.”

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


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