In a previous post, we see that God exists in relationship, therefore, we are also created for relationship. Sin caused the image of God in us ruined. Instead of worshiping God, we end up worshiping created things to give us identity (image). When Jesus came to save us, He reconciled us to God and restored our identity. As we draw our identity from God, our relationship with God is restored and we are free again to worship (not rebel against) God. Our relationship with fellow believers are also restored and we are free to love (not worship) others in community.
This renewed identity also will overflow in the way we relate to those who are not yet part of God’s family. We will be compelled to join God’s mission to reconcile even more people to Himself. Bear in mind that this is not OUR MISSION per se. So, this is not our initiative overflowing from our intrinsic goodness. Rather, this is God’s Mission, overflowing from His abundant love for His creations, and we are simply invited to join in His salvation plan for many. If this is what God is about in this world, then it will be a shame for us to miss this. Joining God in His mission will bring significance and meaning in our lives as His children. As He gets the glory from each individual being saved, we share joy of our heavenly Father as we welcoming new members into God’s family.
1 Peter 2: 9
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
2 Cor 5: 18-20
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
1 Peter 3: 15
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect
From the beginning, God wants to create a people for Himself who live imaging Him and glorifying Him. However, at the Fall, sin ruined God’s image in us and broke our relationship with Him. Since then, God is already on mission to re-create us and to restore our relationship. Our God is the God on mission – Missio Dei. He sent His Son to declare His wonderful grace, to display His glory, and to rescue people from the darkness into the light.
“Therefore, when we function according to our design as image bearers, we are in essence joining God on His mission by declaring, displaying, and discerning the glory of God.” – Bill Clem, Disciple
Having experienced God’s salvation and amazing grace in Christ, and having lived the abundant life under the lordship of Christ, we are compelled to call others to call upon the name of Jesus Christ to be saved and to acknowledge Christ as King in all areas of their lives. As a people who are not of this world, but who lives in this world, we are called to be holy and, at the same time, attractive so others may be won to Christ.
Bill Clem, in his book Disciple, describes the tensions that shape a heart for mission (see the following figure).
Every mature Christian is developing a heart for mission in these four areas:
- They declare the exclusive claim of Jesus being the only way, the only truth, and the only life (John 14:6).
- They are not ashamed of the gospel as it is the power for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
- They know what the gospel is (1 Cor 15:1-11), and are not afraid of passing it on without watering it down (1 Cor 1:22-25).
- They seek for open doors to declare the gospel to the lost (Col 4:2-6).
- They live out the gospel by their sacrificial and generous love for one another (John 13:35).
- They live a holy and righteous life among the pagans (1 Peter 2:11-12).
- They live out the kingdom values so that others may glorify God (Matt 5:14-16).
- They seek to display the good news of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom in tangible means through the minister of mercy (feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, attending to the sick, giving to the needy, befriending and welcoming the lonely, etc).
- They know what and why they believe (Eph 4:14), and are prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15).
- They know God, His Characters, and the implication of the gospel of Jesus Christ that they can provide comfort and loving answers to those who are doubting (Col 4:5-6).
We must acknowledge, however, that it is impossible for us to do all four at the same time. However, that should be an excuse for us not to engage in any of them. As we live day by day in tune with the Spirit, as we listen to what God is doing around us, we would learn how we should declare, before whom we should disclose, to whom we should display, and in what manner we should defend. There is time for everything. However, as Christians, compelled by the beauty of the gospel, we must find ourselves declare, disclose, display, and defend the gospel one way or another constantly. When we are saved, we are saved not just from sin and death, but we are saved for the good works God has prepared for us to do, one of which is mission.
- The Marks of Spiritual Maturity – Community (sandycitro.wordpress.com)
- The Marks of Spiritual Maturity – Worship (sandycitro.wordpress.com)
- It is more important to love and to do good…. or is it?