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Old 08-30-2016, 05:12 PM   #32
Evangelical
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Join Date: Aug 2016
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Default Re: What is God's Economy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
While stewardship may generally be the better understanding of the term for purposes of the scripture, there is something about the way that everything about the Christian and the church was distilled into that one term "God's stewardship" or "God's arrangement" that made those verses in 1 Timothy seem to be talking about everything as it would relate to the Christian — life, worship, prayer, etc. — and the workings of the church that makes "dispensing" or even "stewardship" kind of weak in explaining all it meant.

If I read Paul's words right, then everything that comes out of teachings to be obedient, righteous, meek, merciful, lovers of God, lovers of neighbor, in submission to one another (and a whole lot of other "one anothers"), and many more things is what constitutes "God's arrangement." It is not just "grace." Unless you define that so broadly as to be all-encompassing.

The right teachings set the whole of the Christian life in order. The wrong teaching create a lot of questions and rabbit trails (like angels on the heads of pins). There is no place for suggesting that there is a lack (need more dispensing). Peter dispensed with that idea (we have everything we need for . . . .)

God's economy is not so mysterious. It is the whole enchilada, so to speak. It is not "simply" anything. It is everything.

And when everything seems messed up, then that might be the sign that there is something wrong with the teachings.

And when it seems right (not necessarily splendid physically, but spiritually right) then it is probably the result of good teachings.

And a great morning watch over bad teachings is like sprinkling holy water on pig feces. You might be rescued a little from it all. But you have been focused on error. It just doesn't go anywhere good.
Decades ago people were still grasping the concept of a "personal relationship with God" as opposed to "doing things". That was an improvement over the works-based doctrines prevalent in Christianity. Lee, Nee and others, have further clarified this, that it is not merely a buddy friend "personal relationship" with God, as if God and His children were separated, but a so-called "organic union" between God and man. In a world where Christianity is mostly about outward things, God's economy brings us back to the inward things. It is fine and accurate to say we have a personal relationship with God, because we may pray to Him regularly and go to church. But if we have the same temper, or lust problem we had when we were first saved, what is the benefit? Only if God somehow changes us from the inside, can we be truly changed.

People generally understand that they have to put food and water into their bodies to grow, they have to feed their children, and they need to water and fertilize plants for them to grow and bear fruit. Can you teach a person or plant to grow? No you cannot. Teaching does not cause spiritual growth. However it may facilitate spiritual growth if it leads towards the source of (living) water, that is, Christ.

Dispensing is related to everything in the Christian life and without dispensing the Christian life is not genuine.

Is not the most important thing in the universe to be saved? (who wants to spend an eternity in hell?).
Are we not saved by being "born again" ?

So my question is - can we be "born again" without God's dispensing?

God's dispensing as I understand it, is simply filling an empty cup (human vessels) with water (the Holy Spirit).

An empty cup is not much use for anything. A cup is not designed to be empty (humans are not meant to be without God). A full cup is better than an empty cup (I just explained salvation, in a nutshell). Many billions of full cups is even better than a single cup (I just explained the universal church, in a nutshell). Then again billions of cups becoming a huge bucket of water is even better (I just explained the ONE universal church and genuine Christian unity, in a nutshell).

Dispensing is essentially the purpose and meaning of the human life. To say God's economy is "simply" dispensing is not to trivialise its importance, but to emphasise its simplicity. If we can understand how a cup is filled with water, then we can understand God's economy.
To understand its practical application is harder, but again, if we understand that biological systems do not grow by themselves or by teaching, but by feeding and watering (dispensing), then we can understand the practical side as well. The practical side is seen in the fruit of our spiritual growth.
Spiritual growth is simply the removal of things from us that are not God (negative things such as bad habits and sins), and the addition of things that are God (which is God Himself). If we can look back on our life and see a change in us over time, then we have observed the practical result of God's economy, namely, His dispensing. We may well call this being conformed to the image of the Son.

Spiritual growth is not, how many church services you attend, how much you pray or read the Bible, how good and pleasant you are outwardly (human ethics), it is everything to do with God's dispensing and the outward effects of that. Our giving, our service, our prayer, worship, how we treat other people, and how we react to circumstances, are all an outward effect of the inward change that the Holy Spirit has accomplished in us.
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