( All verses are from the ESV translation unless stated otherwise)
In the Gospel of Mark it is written: “…Then they reported all these instructions briefly to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus Himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.” (Mark 16:8 NLT) [This ending is not found in all translations. Most copies of Mark omit this section of verse eight and add eleven more verses to the text. You can find the Commission otherwise in Mark 16:15 KJV] We call this the Great Commission to spread the Good News of the Gospel to the whole world. It has always been my belief that none were to be spared the Good News, that none were to be denied the grace of salvation. I searched the scriptures to prove this point and there is ample evidence that all who choose to come to the call of God and accept Jesus and the reconciliation of the Father are answered in the affirmative.
What I list in this article are only some of the scriptures that support this belief. I start with the Gospel of John 1:9-13, ” The true light which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. …He came to His own and His own people did NOT RECIEVE HIM, but to ALL who did receive Him, who believed in His Name, He gave the right to be called the Children of God… .” This scripture clearly states that it is not a exclusive club that only a few can join but that any and all who choice to accept the Word of God through Jesus are to be added to the family of God. I know that most of the Christian world has memorized John 3:16 so I don’t think that I have to quote it here but it is further evidence that Salvation is available to all who seek it. But I what to bring up other verses in the New Testament that support the Grace of Salvation is readily offered by the Father through Jesus Christ.
1 John 2:2. “(Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Couple this with the prior verse that we have an advocate with the Father who is Jesus Christ the Righteous, we are led to believe that the sins are forgiven of all who seek the advocacy of Jesus. We can still sin, we are human but we are forgiven of those sins by our Faith. Just as the unsaved still sin, we are not totally free of the desires of the world so we will still slip up. The difference is that because we have an advocate, we can call upon Him to grant us forgiveness. Jesus is the satisfaction, our offering. This in no way denies the forgiveness to others. They must be willing to ask for it. NO ONE is exempt from the forgiveness of the Father. Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, no one is beyond forgiveness. I know this because Jesus forgave me of the blasphemies of my heart and the vileness of my regard for the believers. When I sing Amazing Grace, it is my heart that tells the story. Oh I know that I was dedicated at my birth, but my life was not of God’s will but of the Evil One. Yet by Grace I was saved, I still had to make the choice. If I did not ask for and accept the forgiveness of Christ, I would still be unsaved and doomed. Jesus sacrificed Himself so that the like of me could know His Love.
John 1:29-39, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one of whom I said: After me comes a man who ranks before me because he was before me.’ “
The key word here for me has aways been the word sin. John the Baptist did not say as we like to quote wrong so often, the “sins” of the world but uses the singular “sin” to refer to the sin of Adam. If Jesus voided the sin of Adam by His sacrifice as the Perfect Lamb, the atonement of Adam, then when we come to His redemption, the sin of the world is erased and we are not in debt anymore. If Jesus removed the sin of Adam, then we are all free to accept the Grace of the Father and can come to reconciliation with God as was intended by the offering of Jesus.
The lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world and that can only mean that every one’s sins are reconcilable and can be forgiven and forgotten (Romans 4:7-8). When we accept that none are righteous by their own efforts, (Romans 3:10-12) then as we see that God’s Grace is for His pleasure, given freely, then we are open to receive God’s forgiveness and be reconciled with Him. Even the most vile offenders of God’s will, can come to the cross and be redeemed. God has no limit and He does not limit His grace. To all that hear and obey, who seek and endear His Word, He offers this Grace. The Lamb of God did not come so that only a few could be saved but that the world would be saved.
Jesus did not come to redeem us from the sins of the few but the SIN OF the WORLD. For our sins, we must be renewed and forgiven as we commit them. We must be held accountable for each and every one of our sins. that is why we are to renew our spirit and confess our sins before God. One of the problems I have found with the Once Saved, Always Saved theology is that it appears to lack accountability. This is not what that means, nor was it the intent of the writers of the Gospel to convey that. The writings of the Gospels and the Epistles are written for the believers. They were constantly being warned to guard their Faith and not to slide into the traps of man for fear of losing their salvation. But this is a matter left for another time. I just want to warn people that they must not become over confident in their faith and stop walking in it.
While God does not limit His Grace, we can put limits on it by not working to increase it daily.
2 Cor. 5:18-19 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God reconciled the world to himself, not counting trespasses against them, and entrusted to us the message of reconciliation.”
If the disciples were reconciled and charged with the awesome task to bring the message of reconciliation to the whole world, then the message is for the whole world and not for the few. The Message of God’s redemptive Grace is for all who are eager to hear and to receive. Therefore the reconciliation as a gift of God, is for all who seek it. In today’s world, it is the Grace of God that reconciles but we are to be the messengers of the reconciliation. We were reconciled so that others may hear the Good News and in hearing it, will receive the same reconciliation. It is a domino effect started by Christ so that as many as who hear and accept the Good News will be saved. the Great Commission is to give the message of Christ redemption and the reconciliation of the Father to all the world. Because we are no longer held accountable for our past offenses against God, we are to take this message through out the world and sharing it with as many as will hear. While none are worthy of this Grace, as many as will receive it, it will be granted.
The Goal of Salvation is that God wants to rid the world of the sin of Adam and is doing that by the shedding of Christ’s blood for the redemption of sin. While Christ’s sacrifice mean we are forgiven and our sin is forgotten, we are still called to be of repentive hearts and to offer this gift to the world. We are still called to abide in Christ and to refrain from the natural man’s tendency to sin. How else can we call others into repentance if we do not maintain the repentant heart ourselves. Again, I digress.
Colossians 1:19-20 reads: “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and through him all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” The message of the fullness of reconciliation to the Father must be given to all the world so that all may have the opportunity to be a part of the reconciliation. To say that any of us are not called to be a part of the spreading of the Good News is to deny the importance of the reconciliation.
1 John 4:14-15 “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”
We testify that the Father of Creation sent Jesus, his only begotten son into the world that the world may know and believe in the Salvation of the world. The condition is that we believe, confess in the name of Jesus, with the authority of the Holy Spirit and live in God’s Way. All who confess the name of Jesus and live in the Way of the Cross are redeemed and called acceptable to the Father. Jesus came not to condemn but to save the world. We are called to bring the light to the world by our lives, abiding in the commandments and the grace of the Father. As the woman at the well went into the village of Sycar, telling of what Jesus had done for her, we are to tell the world what Jesus has done for us. In that then the people can say “We believe because we have heard for ourselves…He indeed is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42 NASV) The Grace that was given to us, the Living Water, the indwelling of the Spirit, was given to us that we might bring it to the world. The text states that whoever confesses Christ, God abides in. So therefor whomever we shall give the Good News of Jesus and believes, confesses and adheres to, is worthy to be counted as the children of God. Our job is to share this to the world because Jesus came to the world that the world should know him. Not that the world should know about him, but know him as a wife knows her husband, to be intimate with God through the reconciliation of the Father.
Ephesians 3:5-6 reads: “which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to the His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that thee Gentiles are fellow heirs and members of the body and fellow partakers of the Promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,” the Gentiles are all who are not of the house of Israel. 1 John 4:13-19 contains a lot that relates to the purpose of sharing the word of God with the world in just a few lines. God gave us His Spirit. Since God gave us Christ for our Salvation, wouldn’t be up to us to give ourselves for the salvation of others? As we confess Jesus, others must be able to hear what is being told. It does not serve God just to testify to ourselves. Other must be able to hear the word in order to find justification through God’s grace. Verse 21 quietly states that whoever loves God must love his brother. If we love our brother, wouldn’t it make sense that we would want him to have the same saving grace as we have? We must therefore: 1.) Confess Christ, 2.) be confident in Christ and 3.) be loving to all. To do all three we must share the Good News. We are not to hide it under a basket or put it under the table. Our light must shine and be seen so that others can find the light and not be living in the darkness of the world’s ways.
Romans 5:6-8 “For while we were still weak, at the time Christ dies for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:12 continues with this thought with ; “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” The plan of God is that all the world be free from Adam’s sin. God shown His love for humanity, that it was in His will, that through the offering of His Son Jesus, the world be made whole again. While we are still broken and living in the sin of the world, He did not deem it unreasonable to reconcile, restore and renew mankind to Himself. Philippians 2:6-11 records a New Testament psalm or hymn that states: God..made himself nothing…a servant…humbled Himself….even death on a cross…THAT AT THE NAME OF JESUS, EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW (paraphrased from the NIV). The extent of God’s love for mankind was so grand in scale, that every one could be adopted into the family of God and be co-heirs with Christ, counted as the first born.
God demonstrated His Love by the cross, letting Christ Jesus die a painful and humiliating death, the cruelest form of punishment and the separation from the Father just so that the world may be reconciled to Him. While we were helpless in sin, God deprived and hopelessly floundering in the world, God saw fit to set us free and restore us to Himself. It was for His good pleasure that He did this. It is still His desire that all mankind come to Him through Jesus Christ, His Son. God loves all His creation, no one is exempt from His Love. Therefor as Children of the Father, we are to see that as many as would receive, we should invite to join us in the celebration of a renewed and forgiven life.
1Tim 2:1-4 “First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for ALL PEOPLE, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our savior, who desires ALL PEOPLE BE SAVED and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Both Peter and Paul wanted all people to be saved and both wanted prayers and supplications so that the truth of Jesus Christ reached all the world. It is true that there are many who would reject the World Of God but even the Jews rejected the truth when it was presented to them. The Good new was presented to the Gentiles so that the world would accept Christ and be reconciled with the Father even if the Jews, the chosen of the Father would reject it. This is the Universal Truth, that Jesus offers His Grace to all who believe. Paul instructed Timothy a young man with a Greek father and a Jewish mother to be confident in teaching and leading both the Jewish and Gentile Christians. But he also wanted Timothy to evangelize to the non believers so that they would hear the truth and have the opportunity to believe. Prayers were for kings and commoners alike so that they could come to the saving grace.
God is all knowing and He is all caring, that is why he wants you to be His feet, His hands, his eyes and most importantly He want you to be His voice. it is good and pleasing to the Father if we testify to His goodness and show our Love of God through our lives, living in peace and humility.
Why would God want us to pray for the kings and leaders of the land if he didn’t want them to join the believers? Why should we pray for all the people of the world if God didn’t want them to join with us in the Redemption? Remember, Paul was in prison by the emperor Nero at this time. He wasn’t asking for prayers for his release, he was asking for prayers for Nero. Paul wanted his enemy redeemed and saved. In Acts we learn that Paul tried to convert Felix, Porcius Festus, (Roman Governors) and King Agrippa. Paul saw that kings and governors where candidates for salvation. We are to pray for our enemies, our unsaved friends and those who we do not even know, so that the message of Salvation can reach their hearts and that they can come the the Reconciliation of the Father.
1Tim2:5-6 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ. Who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
There is one mediator for the Salvation of the world. One message for the world, one path to redemption, Jesus Christ. For the world to be denied the message, for the disciples to not go forward and share the Gospel is a travesty. Jesus ransomed Himself for the sin of the world, that the world may know him and be freed for their sins and reconciled to the Father. By the death of Jesus, our freedom from the snares of the world was purchased. The world is offered the gift of Grace. But the world can not be saved if they cannot hear the world and see the wonders of His mercy.
The message of Jesus was given at the proper time, a time when the world was at peace so that the world may know God’s peace was at hand. Today we live in a world full of hate, a hate because men of the world can not grasp the love that is Jesus. This is a time when the peace of Jesus and His salvation is most needed in the hearts of mankind. The Grace of Salvation is desperately needed in these days.
Hebrew 2:10 “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom, all things exist, in bringing MANY sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
Jesus was make the perfect man so that many could be called the son’s of God. Many brought into the glory of Salvation. As God is the author of our salvation, our redemption and reconciliation. through the perfect sacrifice of the Perfect Man, Jesus, we who are strangers to God are now to be called His sons. there are many more strangers to God that willing wait to be told the Good News, that they are no longer alienated from God but, by the sacrifice of Jesus, are welcomed into the family of God. Hebrews 2:12 end with: “Behold, I and the Children God has given me.” The writer is quoting Isaiah 8:18 but Jesus says the same thing in John 17:6-19. But the most powerful testimony of Jesus in His prayer to the Father is in John 17:20-21: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word. That they may all be one, just as you, Father are in me, and I in you, that they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.”
It is within the favor of God that those who were excluded by the Law would be now invited to become counted as the children of God. God’s grace is for everyone. It is our voices and our hearts that are to spread the Gospel. Jesus asked those who spread the Good News be blessed by the Father. Jesus asks that the Father keep those who spread the gospel close to him. It is written that many who do not seek God, will find Him. They can only find them in God is brought to them.
Isaiah 9:1 says: “The people who walk in the darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” Isaiah 49:6 reads: “…I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. And finally, in Isaiah 56:6-7, “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD and to be his servants…these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer.” I wanted to throw these Old Testament verses in just to show that God loved the people who where not considered the children of God. There are many places in the Old Testament that convey that God wanted the people who where not Jews to be counted as redeemed. And because the New Testament church was, for the most part, Gentile, it is obvious that God made good on his promise to the Gentiles. It is up to us to continue to fulfill the promise to the Gentiles of the world and bring the Good News to them.
When Paul went before the council of Jerusalem and made his case to James and Peter ( Acts 15), James answered quoting from Amos and Isaiah saying, “…so that the rest of humanity might find the Lord, including Gentiles – all those I have called mine. This is what the Lord says, he who made these things known long ago.” All of humanity might find the Lord, Jesus. This was the promise of God to the prophets and is still being fulfilled today.
I was going to write much more about this, the Great commission, but I have gone on and on. All those who know Jesus and strive to live the whole and Holy life of Christ, are testifying with their lives. The rest need to examine themselves and see what must be changed in themselves to be able to trust in the Lord completely and to be able to share the Gospel. We can’t all be missionaries in foreign lands but we can share the Gospel by our love where ever we are.
But to those who can, I say as did Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)