Hope for only SOME Nations?

Map - Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash
All too often, the “Good News” about the Kingdom of God has been perverted into good news for some, but bad news for a great many others. This occurs each-and-every time representatives of the “church” associate the message of Jesus with specific nations, races, cultures, political systems, and ideologies. Unfortunately, this has been a frequent pattern throughout much of church history - [
Map - Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash].

After his Resurrection, Jesus declared that “all authority in heaven and on earth is given to me; go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Installed as Lord over all things, his disciples were commanded to proclaim his sovereignty and salvation to men and women from every nation, whether Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, male or female - (Psalm 2:6-10, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:7-9).

By his self-sacrificial death, he established the promised “priestly kingdom” of men and women separated for his use from every nation. It is for this very reason that the entire creation declared him “worthy” to receive all power, rule, honor, and glory in the visions of Revelation. In the Death and Resurrection of His Son, the God Who created all things has “spoken” His definitive and complete word:
  • (Hebrews 1:1-4) – “In many parts and in many ways of old, God spoke to the fathers in the prophets; at the end of these days, He has spoken to us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the ages; Who, being an eradiated brightness of his glory and an exact representation of his very being, also bearing up all things by the utterance of his power, purification of sins having achieved, sat down on the right hand of the majesty in high places; by so much becoming superior to the angels, by as much as, going beyond them, he has inherited a more distinguished name.
The Apostle Paul taught that God’s righteousness is actualized “through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe, for there is no distinction.” Sin is the Great Leveler! It has condemned every man and woman to bondage, despair, decay, and eventually, death. One’s ethnicity, gender, or social status makes no difference. But now, through Jesus, all may receive right-standing before God, and all on the same basis – Faith in Jesus Christ:
  • (Romans 3:22-30) – “A righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, for all that have faith; for there is no distinctionfor all have sinned and lack the glory of God. Being declared righteous freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth as the expiation, through faith in his blood, for a showing forth of his righteousness, by reason of the passing-by of the previously committed sins, in the forbearance of God, with a view to a showing forth of his righteousness in the present season, that he might be righteous even when declaring righteous him that has faith in Jesus. Where, then, is the boasting! It is excluded. Through what kind of law? Of works? No, but through a law of faith. For we reckon that a man is set right by faith, apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only, and not of the nations also? Yea! of the nations also, if at all events God is one, who will declare righteous, the circumcision by faith and the uncircumcision through their faith.
In the preceding passage, Paul used his radical monotheism to make the point.  “Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also!” No one is advantaged or disadvantaged because of biological descent, national origin, culture, or social status.

The believer “has put on the new self that is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him, in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all and in all” - (Colossians 3:11).
God, in Christ, is creating a new humanity with members drawn from every nation. Regardless of national origin, each person who places his or her faith in Jesus is being shaped into his image.
No nation, race, society or culture can claim Jesus as its possession. The announcement of the good news of salvation and the enthronement of Jesus is a message of hope and life for all humanity.

Sadly, too many churches have a long history of linking the Gospel of Jesus to specific nations, cultures, political ideologies, and economic systems. This is the destructive lie promoted under the term “Christendom,” which attempts to identify Christianity with specific races, nations, and ideologies. “Christendom” is the counterfeit of the true and universal Kingdom of God over which Christ now reigns supreme.

The announcement of God's kingdom transcends all national, ethnic, social and economic boundaries - Any attempt to limit it by such categories violates the very heart of the Gospel:
  • (Matthew 24:14) – “And this glad message of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth, for a witness unto all the nations — and then will the end come.”
  • All are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female:  for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise” - (Galatians 3:28).
The mission of the Church is to proclaim this Good News throughout the habitable earth. The completion of this task is necessary before the return of Jesus in glory for all to behold. Neither national borders, racial biases nor societal demands will prevent this mission from reaching God’s intended goal. His word will not return to Him void.

This message and hope of the Kingdom of God is for every man, woman, and child, wherever he or she may live, whatever his or her nationality or societal status.  All have sinned; all need God’s salvation; none deserve it, but God has graciously made it available to all on the same basis:   faith in Jesus Christ.  In the truest sense, the Gospel of Jesus is a universal and “inclusive” faith.

When Jesus returns in power and glory, only one Kingdom will be left standing. As disciples of this same Jesus, we ought to reject any attempt to associate, link or identify Christianity with a specific nation, race or civilization, thereby excluding some from the glorious salvation and everlasting life available freely to all in Christ Jesus.




Comments

Popular Posts

Language of the New Testament

Deceivers, Tumults, Opposition