Within various theological camps, the question of who can be saved and who will be saved can be quite contentious. Regardless of the system, arguments are made in order to do several things.
- To safeguard the truth of Scripture
- To teach what the Bible teaches
- To honor the character and glory of God
- To not teach false doctrine.
- To not give false hope to those who hear the conversation.
These, and a few more I haven’t thought of, are given as justifications for the discussion around who God intended to be the beneficiaries of the Gospel. My goal in this reflection is not to argue for, against, or even with any of these systems. I just want to speak to a simpler realization.
The Gospel’s perspective on this issue is one we should reconsider. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he did not leave the disciples with a theological discourse. He did not provide them with a complicated set of rules they would have to obey. Jesus gave a simple directive. Go into the world, as you live your lives, and teach those who are willing to live as I have taught you to live. This is the essence of what we know as the Great Commission.
Jesus did not give the original disciples any indication of who they should go to. He did not give them any particular insights into who would make great candidates for the Gospel message. Jesus did not even give them any warnings of who they should avoid.
What Jesus did was give directions to make Gospel sharing and Gospel instruction a normal part of their faith journey. So, what does this mean as it relates to the Gospel’s perspective?
The simplest implication is that from the Gospel’s perspective, and therefore from our perspective, it does not matter what God is doing behind the scenes. The task in view of the world is to share the Gospel with anyone and everyone we encounter.
One of the greatest enemies of Gospel proclamation is thinking that God will get back around to the person who crossed my path if I missed my chance. This way of thinking fails to appreciate the call to service we have all received as disciples of Jesus. To look at the world and those who walk in it in this way is to justify our disobedience as trust in God’s love and mercy.
When our hearts become callous to the needs of a fallen world and those who are still lost within that same world, we reveal how little we truly understand the Gospel.
The call of Jesus to every disciple is to carry the good news as far and as wide as we can. To share it with anyone and everyone. Not because all will be convicted and converted. But to share it because we don’t know when or where God will use his servants and his Gospel to draw another soul unto Himself.
This is the perspective the Gospel takes. That it is not up to us to determine what God is doing, has done, or may do. The principal reality for which I will give an account to God is whether or not I was obedient to what he tasked me with doing. And as far as I can tell, the commands Jesus give to the original disciples are still in effect. Until they change, we should serve and assume as if they are the standing orders we must comply with.