God loves everyone on earth. Revelation emphasises that there is a trans-cultural dimension to the church. John saw a picture of the church before the throne of God and it was made up from every nation, tribe, people and language (Rev 7:9). Furthermore, Jesus commands us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
In the passage from Matthew, the word ‘nations’ in our translation comes from the Greek word ethne which is more accurately translated as ‘people group’. Matthew could have used the word basileia to imply a political state or kingdom, but he didn’t, because Jesus was referring to the many different tribes and cultures (people groups) that make up nation states.
This understanding is found throughout Scripture. The Tower of Babel, where God confuses the people’s speech and creates many different ethnic groups, is immediately followed by God’s promise to Abraham: all peoples will be blessed through you (Gen 11, 12:1-3). The promise is repeated seven times showing its significance. Indeed Peter and Paul see the promise is at the heart of the gospel (Gen 18:18, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14, Ps 72:17, Acts 3:25, Gal 3.8).
So what is God saying through the Scripture? The message is simple: do not ignore anyone. God’s honour is at stake here; His promise must be fulfilled.
Does God want you to be involved in fulfilling that promise?
Do you have a vision for people from other cultures and faith background to know Christ’s love? Is God stirring something in your heart, perhaps even to start a new work with those who are totally unengaged?
Interested to know more, explore the different SWAN partner organisations here.
By Jon (Frontiers)