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The real Great Commission

Most Christians are familiar with the Great Commission of Matthew 28.  But Chris Wright in his book The Mission of God suggests that what we call the Great Commission could really be Genesis 12 v 1 – 3:

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’”

This appears much nearer to the start of the biblical account of God’s relationship with the world; the focus is there on all peoples, all nations; the emphasis is on God using one man to save the world with other people joining in.  Some of that sound familiar?

Of course this is about the election of God’s people Israel.  But they are elected for a purpose, there is “election for mission” as Chris Wright is right to write (sorry that’s wrong).  It does not mean the rejection of other nations.  God’s people have a purpose, they are the means for those nations to be blessed by knowing God for themselves as their Lord and Saviour.

Becoming God’s people was not the end but the start.  What does this commission mean for the people of Israel today with where they are spiritually and politically? What does this mean for the church today?  People in churches talk about being ‘saved to serve’ and that’s true.  But perhaps it should be more specifically that we are saved to save.




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