When Jesus Christ ushered in the kingdom of God, announcing this gospel of life, death, and resurrection to bring it to bear and make it available, he did so not just for his Jewish countrymen but for the non-Jew as well. This is something that the apostle Paul, himself a Jew, made his life’s ambition to pursue–mission to the Gentiles.
It is God’s goal, projected even in the Hebrew Scriptures, to unite every tongue, tribe, race, and nation under the banner of his sovereign glory revealed in Jesus Christ. And so it is the mission of the church to take this message everywhere, announcing the availability of forgiveness of sins and the eternality of life in Christ to people all over the globe, in every kind of nation, regardless of their ethnicity, their class, their religion, or their gender.
Over the last two thousand years, what we’ve discovered is that Christianity is remarkably good at this. And it is divinely well suited for it.
Islam has been making inroads into the West and in Africa, but it is still largely dominant only in the Middle East. Buddhism has an affiliate office in Hollywood, obviously, but it is still chiefly localized in the Far East. Ditto Confucianism. Hinduism mainly resides in India and Nepal. There are more Jews in America than Israel, but they are only 2.2 percent of the American population. They are 75 percent of the population of Israel.
Only Christianity–begun by Jews localized in Jerusalem, later dominated by Greeks in the Mediterranean world, then centralized in Europe, then North America, and now, in terms of sheer numbers, “centralized” in China, Africa, and Latin America–has corporately gone on a global walkabout.
How can this be?
I think it is primarily because only Christianity teaches works-free justification.
There are religions in the world that compel a woman to travel hundreds of miles to kiss a statue, a man to walk across a wilderness to bathe in a sacred river, and men and women alike to crawl on their hands and knees. Every Muslim who is able must visit Mecca once before they die. It is required.
But there are no compulsory pilgrimages in Christianity, no far-flung hoops to jump through. The pilgrimage has been made: God incarnated in man. He comes to us in Spirit. Every religion, beside the true one, bids travel for power. In Christianity, power travels to us. The kingdom is not “out there.” It is “in here.” The temple is not “there.” It’s “here,” because Christ tabernacles with us. The gospel that goes into the world and grows and bears fruit goes into the world when we do.
Because every real Christian has the true gospel, every real Christian is equipped for mission work at the time of their salvation. Have gospel, will travel! Christ goes where we go.
— Jared C. Wilson, Unparalleled, 204-206.
Jared C. Wilson
Baker Books, 2016