The depth and breadth of God’s redeeming love for all nations is found throughout the Scriptures. It is the integrating and pervasive theme of the Bible.
On the evening of His resurrection, Jesus told His fearful disciples: “‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things’” (Luke 24:44-48, NIV).
This is what the Bible is “all” about—the preaching of the Good News, of repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations. It is about four “alls.”
(1) All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All are without God and without hope. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:9-18, NKJV; Ps. 14:1-3; 53:1-3). Mankind’s condition is desperate and universal.
“Worse than being trapped and not knowing the way out is to be lost and not even know it, for then one does not look for salvation, recognize it when it comes, nor accept it when it is offered. That’s being lost … The lost condition of human beings breaks the Father’s heart. What does it do to ours?” (J. Robertson McQuilkin)
(2) Christ died for all: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10:9-15, NKJV; Isa. 28:18, 52:7). The Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ must reach all nations and every person. Christ’s Great Commission is urgent and universal.
“The missionary commission is from the very beginning an ecumenical commission, a commission which concerns the whole inhabited world. Thus the criterion is simply: that one must have heard of Christ in order to believe in Him. Thus He must be preached everywhere and to that end messengers of the gospel must be sent.” (Johannes Blauw)
The Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ must reach all nations and every person. Christ’s Great Commission is urgent and universal.
(3) God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, NKJV; Gen. 12:1-3). He sought Adam, called Noah, chose Abraham, dispatched prophets, pursued Israel, humbled nations and sent His Son, the Messiah, to redeem a wayward race. God’s missionary nature is unrelenting and universal.
“The supreme arguments for missions are not found in any specific words. It is in the very being and character of God that the deepest grounds of the missionary enterprise is to be found. We cannot think of God except in terms which necessitate the missionary idea.” (Robert Speer)
(4) All nations God has made “shall come and worship before [Him]” (Ps. 86:9, NIV). His Son is worthy to receive the reward of His suffering, for with His blood He “purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9, NIV; 7:9-10). All God has made is for His glory. God’s glory is ultimate and universal.
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” (John Piper)