We are meant to obey the Great Commission

BY ALFRED OLWA

Evangelisation had gone on for a century in Europe before the first missionaries arrived at the court of Kabaka Muteesa I in Uganda. Within 25 years, Uganda had become one of the most successful mission fields on the African continent.

The Great Commission was given to the disciples to take the Gospel to all the nations, baptizing and teaching them, with the assurance that Christ would be with them even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18–20). This is why we do not see taking the Gospel to the nations as a special interest of just a few who are the mission-minded among us. It is a vital responsibility of us all, whether the primary expression of that engagement is in prayer, in giving, or in going out to preach.

It is not some kind of legalistic obligation but rather a privilege to be used as an instrument of God’s mercy, taking the message of the Gospel to those who desperately need to hear it.

Secondly, the compassion of Christ compels us to spread the Gospel.

I once heard it put starkly indeed that the Christian life is all about growing like Jesus. However, it is impossible to grow like Jesus without growing in our concern for the salvation of men and women, the great concern which generated the incarnation itself. The compassion of God is demonstrated most effectively in his Son.

He looks on the world not to seek vengeance and judgment, but with the warm and deep compassion of one determined to rescue. It is the love of Christ, which animates global mission.

Because we have been so loved, we too long to see others turn and live.

Our commitment to the world is also shaped by the lordship of Christ, not just over the Church but even over a lost and rebellious world. Christ is the firstborn of all creation. All things were created through him and for him (Col. 1:15, 16). He has a claim to every life. The day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10–11). Thus, there is no virtue in leaving people to wallow in the darkness of paganism.

We must answer to God’s Son, who was appointed to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). Dr Alfred Olwa is the Dean, School of Theology, UCU

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