“…to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
These are the words of Christ to Paul. The moment of his conversion was the moment that a mantle of mission was placed upon him too, in the words mentioned above.
I have to say I found myself thinking lots of thoughts as I read these words:
1 – Do these words sum up the efforts and the intentional pursuit of the church of today in which all of a sudden “Mission” and “Missional” have become words that are used more frequently than they have been for a long time?
2 – What would be the marks of an individual Christian or a Church fellowship that took Paul’s commission and task in the Gentile world as our commission and task in the Gentile world too? Has the mantle of the apostle Paul gone missing? What would looking for that mantle and by the grace of God finding it mean and look like? What would change in my life or ministry? What would change in church life?
3 – Do we believe that those who don’t know Jesus yet are held in the power of Satan? Do we believe that we were once captive to Satan too before we were set free by Jesus Christ?
4 – How theologically non PC it is to suggest that our prime need is not the restoration of our self esteem, the healing of our childhood hurts, to realise how wonderful and beautiful we are, but the forgiveness of our sins.
5 – How even more theologically non PC it is to talk about God having a people that we can come to have a place among, for it means that some people are not God’s people. God has a chosen people, the Jews, and we Gentiles become heirs of the promises to them through faith in a Messiah who was Jewish. There is no salvation outside a Jewish Messiah.
6 – The last time I was in church did I hear about people turning from the power of Satan to God? Did someone have that story to tell, a story of being turned from darkness towards the light?
Feel free to think about this verse yourself, as if you needed my permission.
I guess once again, I am dumbstruck: “How did that (the evangelistic mission of the church in the wider world then) become this (the mission of the Church now)?” is my thought once more. My prayer, “Oh that this may be forsaken and that may be sought! Oh Lord, has the mantle been discarded, trampled on along with the blood of Christ?”