“Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.”
Romans 4:13 NLT
Paul said that God promised to give “the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants”. This is a statement that needs to be checked out. Is it true? In Genesis, God promised to give Abraham the “land” before him. We read in Genesis 15:7, “Then the Lord told him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession””. But that wasn’t the “whole earth”. Before we get hung up in Paul’s extrapolation, we need to remember that, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him” (Psalm 24:1). And Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-19, “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. So Paul perhaps wasn’t wrong when he made the statement about giving the “whole earth” to Abraham, who has two types of descendant – those who can directly trace their natural lineage back to him, those in the “land”, and those spiritual descendants, like Abraham himself, who have been declared righteous before God because of their faith, those in the “whole earth”.
We are God’s representatives on Planet Earth, and He has given us a mission. In fact we call it a Great Commission. And that is to take the Gospel to every nation, to give those there the opportunity to become Abraham’s spiritual children. Too big a job? We will probably not see this happen in our lifetimes, although great strides are being made in that direction. I read a news report this morning of the activities of South Korean missionaries in spreading the Gospel and building churches in Nepal. They have been hugely successful with the Gospel message of God’s grace and love, even though converting people from one religion to another is illegal in Nepal. But there will come a day when God will draw a line under Jesus’ Commission and then the Revelation events will initiate a new Heaven and Earth, populated by people who are the spiritual descendants of Abraham.
We have a limited opportunity to reach our communities, our families, our friends, with the Gospel. We currently live in a season of God’s grace. We, like the Korean missionaries, mustn’t waste it.
Dear Father God. We take responsibly the fact that You have entrusted us pilgrims to share Your Gospel in the world in which we live. Please help us, and guide us, in spreading the message. In Jesus’ name. Amen,