Weekly Wisdoms for the week of March 5, 2018
Once Christ returns at the end of this age, all those who have been born again will be with God worshiping him, and missions will no longer be necessary. Worship is eternal, but evangelism is temporary.
Until Christ returns, the purpose of evangelism is to spread a passion for Christ. We evangelize so that all the peoples of the earth will "Sing to the Lord [and] proclaim his salvation day after day" (1 Chronicles 16:23). Said differently, the goal of missions is worship.
Not only is worship the goal of missions, but it is also the fuel of missions. Worship begets missions, and missions begets worship. In the words of pastor and author John Piper, "You can't commend what you don't cherish." If you don't treasure Christ, you won't be compelled to encourage others to treasure him. Where zeal for Christ is lacking, passion for missions will be lukewarm.
Jesus instructs us to spread his name to all peoples (Matthew 28:16-20), but we'll do so only once we come to the same point as the Apostle Paul, who exclaims, "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).
When, like Paul, we treasure Christ above all else, then we will be passionate about missions. But once Christ returns, evangelism will no longer be necessary because he will bring to himself and be worshiped by all those who have been made righteous in Christ. In the meantime, evangelism exists because there are still people called by Christ who are not worshipers of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God is a just and righteous God -- perfect (see Deuteronomy 32:4). God, therefore, can not let imperfect, sinful humans into his presence. In his justice, God gives every person the fair penalty for his or her sin -- eternal separation from the holy God.
God is also a God of wrath -- holy wrath against sin. As Romans 1:18 says, The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. That wrath is against all who have sinned.
These two key attributes of God -- holy wrath and love -- fuse on the Cross. For that's where God shows his love by satisfying his holy wrath in order to provide a path for sinful humans to know the holy God.
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