Jesus’ Cross and Commands
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
One of the great disasters for Christianity has been the lack of focus and understanding in regard to what we call the Great Commission. Most of those that cite the passages above quote from verse 19, but leave off verse 20, to our detriment.
Another error has been the interpretation of ‘nations’ as being related to individuals alone, rather than the nations themselves.
The reason for this error comes from the lack of understanding concerning the comprehensive call associated with the Great Commission, which is to win the world to Christ; not only concerning eternal salvation, but the application of the Holy Scriptures to all areas of life.
The cross of Jesus Christ is something all Christians understand. We know that the work of Jesus Christ on the cross results in salvation to those that put their faith in Him and His work. We are not saved by our own works, but by faith in His work on the cross.
Where the problem comes in is most Christians think that once they receive the gift of salvation by the Father drawing us unto Jesus Christ, that we have reached the pinnacle of what God intended for mankind.
The reality is that is only the first of numerous steps we are to take in our lives concerning the calling God has given us to teach the nations all that He has commanded.
All that He commanded refers to the entirety of the Bible, not only some select verses from the New Testament. As 2 Tim. 3:16,17 states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
When it comes to God’s commands, the confusion most Christians encounter is concerning obedience to His moral laws, which remain in effect. 1 Jn. 2:2-5 says this:
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
Notice in these passages that it starts with our eternal salvation, but goes on to obedience to God’s commands as being proof of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The point is, we are not saved by any work of our own, but when we truly have faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to God’s commands will follow. John is clear here, if we aren’t walking in obedience to His commandments, we don’t know him, and are in fact, liars.
The laws and commands of God remain in effect to this day, and it is confirmation and proof of our salvation. The works of the law don’t save us, but they follow us as a result of our saving faith, with the help of the Holy Spirit whom empowers us to walk in obedience to God’s commands.
The order is that first we are saved by faith alone in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. From there we are to search out and understand the laws of God, and then model them before the world we live in. After that, we are to teach the laws of God to the nations in order for them to learn and walk in obedience to them.
Over time, this will result in the people of the world, and the earth itself, being shaped into its purpose God had from before creation, which is to be conformed to Jesus Christ. We do that by having dominion over the earth by applying the revealed word of God to all areas of life.