and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;Ephesians 3:9(NASB)
The first part of Paul's ministry was to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. The second aspect of his calling was to help us understand, "the administration of the mystery." Paul was anointed of God to open up the gospel to the Gentiles... and to explain the mystery of God which had been hidden from past generations, but which had now been revealed to the world through Paul and the other apostles.
Just as Moses was called to be God's administrator to Israel, so Paul was anointed to be God's administrator to the Church. And although Paul was commissioned to preach to Jew and Gentile alike, his specific calling was to be God's apostle to the Gentiles - so that the world may know that Jesus Christ is both God and Saviour.
The, "administration of the mystery," which had been kept hidden for ages and generations, had been in the mind of God from eternity past. However, in His wisdom, God chose to keep this information hidden from both men and angels - for had the powers of darkness known the eternal plan of God they would not have crucified the Lord of glory - for Christ's sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection paved the way for the salvation of humanity.
The administration of the mystery has a number of different labels, including, 'the dispensation of the grace of God', 'the Church Age' and 'the Age of Grace'. In Corinthians, it is called 'a dispensation of the gospel', while in Colossians, Paul calls it 'the dispensation which God has given to me'. Here in Ephesians, we see it entitled 'the dispensation of the grace of God' and also 'the dispensation of the fullness of times'.
The word, 'dispensation', simply refers to 'having charge' over something. It is being responsible for, or having oversight, management, or stewardship responsibilities over someone else's money, property, goods, or services. A biblical dispensation is a recognisable economy which is designed to fulfil God's eternal plans and purposes for the world - through a certain group of people - during a particular period of time. It is also an occasion when man's obedience to God is tested in a specific way. Although the way of salvation is always by grace through faith in every dispensation... the way that God works through His servants may differ from one dispensation to another.
As Christians, we are privileged to be part of the outworking of God's eternal plans and purposes in the dispensation of the grace of God... and as believers who are living during the Church dispensation, our daily testing is to live by faith and not by sight.
Adam was tested one way, Noah was tested another way, and Israel were tested in yet a further way - but in every dispensation, men are saved by grace through faith. In every dispensation, man is reckoned to be righteous - by believing the Word of God.
Those of us who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, live in the dispensation of grace. As believers, we have been made stewards of the administration of the mystery revealed to Paul, in order to forward God's plans and purposes in these days. As members of the Body of Christ, we are ambassadors for God with a citizenship in heaven... and each of us have been allocated different responsibilities during our sojourn on earth.
God, Who created the material universe and made man in his own image and likeness, chose to withhold information about 'the dispensation of the grace of God', until such a time as He deemed it necessary to reveal it to the world, through Paul. What a privilege to be part of the Body of Christ in the dispensation of the grace of God.
As members of the Body of Christ and ministers of the better Covenant which was cut at Calvary, may we be obedient to our calling and live and work to His praise and glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am part of the Body of Christ and am living this dispensation of the grace of God. Help me to live by faith and not by sight, and I pray that I may be I willing worker, a faithful servant, and obedient to Your Word. I pray that in the power of the Holy Spirit, I may finish the good work that You have prepared for me to do - as I wait for Christ's any day return to take us to be with Himself, in heaven. This I ask in Jesus' name. AMEN.