for He says, "AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU." Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION"--2 Corinthians 6:2(NASB)
Before the cross, the world in general and Israel in particular, were looking forward to the day when God would fulfill His promises to His chosen nation, and send His appointed Messiah-King, to save God's people and set up His millennial kingdom.
Prophetic Scriptures throughout the Old Testament were looking forward to these 'last days', when God would pour out His favour on His people Israel, restore the years that the locusts had eaten, and make them the head of the nations and not the tail.
Those days arrived when Christ was born, and had Jesus been accepted as Israel's prophesised Messiah, He would have set up His earthly kingdom, there and then - a kingdom which had been promised to Abraham and his seed, many years before - for God's anointed King was in their midst, and all Israel had to do was to repent, turn back to God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom He had sent.
The promised 'end of days' had arrived, but Christ was rejected, Israel was set aside for a season and God's work through His chosen nation was postponed, for a time. (we now know that God will start to work through Israel once more during the coming 'Day of the Lord's wrath' - that coming, 7-year tribulation period, prophesied by Daniel and spoken about in Revelation). Today, however, the Lord is working through a people, who are not a nation - but who are all members of Christ's Body, which is the Church.
The Church age is the interim period between Christ's shocking rejection at His first coming, and His glorious acceptance as God's anointed King, at His second.. when Israel will finally accept Jesus as their Messiah, and will once again cry, “blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna - Save Us'.' This shout of faith will happen at the end of the coming 7-year tribulation period, when Christ will return as King of kings and set up His millennial kingdom on earth.
From the start of the Church dispensation to the times in which we live, New Testament writers have referred to this interim period as the “times of the end', OR the “dispensation of grace'. For two thousand years, Christians have been living in 'the end time', as the apostle John wrote to his readers, in his epistle - although today, we are much closer to Christ's return, than when they receive his letter - much closer than when we first believed!
Before the cross, Israel were looking forward to their full and final redemption, which would happen through the shed blood of Christ, the Lamb of God - when He would instigate the New Covenant - in His blood. The first covenant was cut using the blood of bulls and goats. The New Covenant was cut through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Since the cross, ALL who believe, both Jew and Gentile, are redeemed by Christ's shed blood, as a completed action - and today we are living in the last days, which is why Paul said 'NOW is the 'day of salvation, and reminded the Corinthian Christians that God had said,.. "at the right time I heard you, and on a day of salvation I helped you.' Listen - NOW is really the 'right time'! NOW is the 'day of salvation'
God heard the cries of His people Israel, at the right time. He heard them and He helped them, by sending Jesus to save them from their sin. This was carried out through the shed blood of Christ Jesus, their Messiah, and King, despite their cruel rejection of Him. The “Day of Salvation' refers to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ - but sadly, Israel did not recognise the day of their visitation, and as a nation, have been blinded in part, until the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled - until the Church age in which WE now live, will be completed and removed at the rapture.
The “acceptable time of the Lord' and the “day of salvation' both refer to that wonderful day when Christ rose from the dead, and broke the power of death and hell in the lives of ALL who will believe on His name. “The day of Salvation' has already come for those of us, who have believed on His name. We are the beneficiaries of Israel's New Covenant, which was cut at Calvary, in His blood. ALL Christians are now called, 'Minister' of this new and better Covenant - 'Ministers of Reconciliation'. We are ministers of the New Covenant which will be fully and finally ratified when Christ returns to save His people Israel.
Sadly, in Paul's day... as today, there are those that cannot accept that we are no longer under the Law of Moses, and living in 'the dispensation of the grace of God'. Sadly, these legalists seek to return believers to pre-cross slavery under the Law, instead of living in the post-cross freedom under grace - which is why Paul quoted Isaiah in his epistle to the Corinthians, when he wrote... we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain- for He says, 'at the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.'
God helped His people when He sent Jesus to save His people from their sin - to die on the cross pay the price for their sin on the cross and rise again on the third day. All they have to do is to BELIEVE. Behold, NOW is 'the acceptable time.' Behold, NOW is 'the day of salvation'
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace. Thank You that Christ died to pay the price for my sin, and thank You for that wonderful 'day of Salvation', when Jesus rose from the dead, and broke the power of Satan, sin, death, and hell in my life.. and in the lives of ALL who believe on Him for the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting. Bring, we pray, many who are in that valley of decisions to a saving faith in Christ, Who gives assurance of sins forgiven, and life everlasting, through faith in Him - in Whose name we pray, AMEN.