Is the Good News of the Kingdom of God a message of hope that is reserved only for SOME nations, or is it for all?
I admit that over the years I have grown increasingly annoyed at the tendency of some Christians, perhaps far too many, to associate, conflate and even identify the Christian faith with their nation and culture. Apparently, certain nations are more privileged than others before the Almighty. But all such notions are contradicted by the gospel proclaimed by Jesus and his apostles.
Too often in church history, the gospel has been perverted into good news for some, but bad news for others. This occurs 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 common pattern throughout much of church history, and it has made a comeback since Christians have immersed themselves into partisan politics.
But 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 in 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 from every nation separated for his use. It is for that very reason that the entire creation declared him “worthy” to receive all power 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).
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 everyone to bondage, despair, decay, and 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 – the Faith of Jesus Christ – (Romans 3:22-30).
And 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 or national origin – (Colossians 3:11).
God, in Christ, is creating the new humanity with its 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 and Jesus to specific nations, cultures, political ideologies, and economic systems. This is the destructive lie promoted under the term “Christendom” in the attempt 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, Galatians 3:28).
The mission of the Church is to proclaim this good news throughout the whole habitable earth. The completion of that task is necessary before the return of Jesus in glory. Neither national borders, racial biases nor societal demands will prevent this mission from reaching God’s intended goal.
This message of hope is for every man, woman, and child, wherever he or she may live, whatever his or her ethnicity or gender. All have sinned, and all need God’s salvation. No one deserves it, but God has graciously made it available to all on the same basis: the faith of Jesus Christ. In the truest sense, this gospel is a universal and “inclusive” faith.
When Jesus returns at the end of the present age, only one Kingdom will be left standing, and that will not be Canada, Brazil, China, or the United States of America. As his disciples, 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 him alone.