(March 6, 2020) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, brings a pre-Easter reminder that God loved the world…
‘O let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for you [God] shall judge the peoples righteously and govern the nations on earth’ (Psalm 67:4).
When this short psalm was written and then sung in Israeli households and other places, the truth of God’s love for all nations, as well as his eternal purpose for them was expressed well.
But… Israel did not often consider the nations. In fact, many of them were enemies of Israel. They were not thought to be worthy of God’s favour or blessing and in Matthew 23:15NLT Jesus denounced Israel’s history of making gentile converts to Judaism – ‘What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!’
Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, people have gone their own way, in sinful rebellion and self-centredness. Even after God gave Abraham his favour and made his descendants his chosen people, giving them the Ten Commandments, religious leaders added burdens of religious rites and ceremony that became impossible to bear.
There is only one way to enable the nations to be glad and sing for joy. And that is God’s way.
Jesus opened the way to gladness
Until the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, every conceivable way has been tried and failed.
- Religious ceremonies
- Idols and gods of stone and wood created by sinful humans as substitutes for the living God
- Fallen humankind has tried every alternative to that which God their creator provided for them
- Instead of being a light to the nations, Israel became a scattered people with only two tribes remaining in the land God had given them
- Then, later, they even rejected God’s Son, Jesus the Christ the Messiah!
Since the world-changing events of the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the promise that God gave to Abraham to bless the seed of Abraham became truly possible!
Through Jesus Christ, God’s sure way for all nations to be glad and sing for joy has become a reality for many nations, but not yet for many other nations. The praises of God are sung, including many psalms and spiritual songs virtually around the world in churches large and small. The homes of dedicated believers are often filled with joyful song.
Yet… there is silence in many nations that have yet to hear the declaration of God’s love for them and the gospel which is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (See The Joshua Project link).
This silence can only be broken by the sound of the good news, that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
The gospel is indeed the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16) and the only way for each nation to experience the ultimate gladness is God’s way. He created them, he provided for them, he sent his Son to redeem them, and he is waiting for all of them to respond to his love, his mercy and his invitation.
No, I am not writing about ultimate salvation for all irrespective of their behaviour…
- I write about what God has declared in his word.
- He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
- His love for the world was revealed at Calvary.
- His ongoing love is evident by his calling and sending believers to the ends of the earth to share the gospel!
Believers sing for joy
Every day many new believers sing for joy as they come to believe and live in harmony with God’s government. His government is righteous, holy, peaceful and glorious – the world has yet to fully recognise that God is still in charge. His love, his mercy and his forgiveness are still extended to whoever will call on the name of the Lord.
Media reports calculate at least one million Christians in mainland China met for fellowship last Easter weekend. Hundreds of thousands meet in many places regularly across the world to pray, worship and share the gospel.
The gladness of forgiveness and peace with God will continue to fill the earth with song. The song of the redeemed will be heard in what were or still are, among the darkest spiritual places in the world. ‘You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows’ (Hebrews 1:9).
Obedient to his command
The church of Jesus Christ is well and rapidly growing in God’s world… gladness will fill the earth! But let’s be a vital part of God’s desire for humankind! Let’s share his gospel!
Jesus told his disciples that, if they loved him, they would keep his commandments (John 14:15). His love for us and in us makes it possible as well as essential that we keep his commandments. The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:3, ‘In fact, this is love for God: To keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.’
Next month over Easter weekend Christians will celebrate the death and resurrection of our redeemer, Jesus the Christ. Our churches will resound with victory-centred praises; we will indeed be glad and sing for joy!
But – may we not forget those who haven’t found Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Let’s all reach out and with caring hearts share the gospel message every opportunity God gives us …
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary spokesperson with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ (Editorial note: Do keep praying for Dr Forbes as he continues medical treatment). Links: Carol Round’s Dont-be-ashamed-to-share-the-good-news / Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s Just Hanging Around