If I were asked to choose one verse to summarize the essence of the Bible, it would be Psalm 46:10. Many Christians know the first part but don’t realize—there is more to the verse. We love the personal benefits of, “Be still, and know that I am God,” but we consciously or unconsciously disconnect that truth from its global implications and develop an evangelical theology that places man at the center and neglects God’s purpose in the world.
The major focus of American Christian thought and practice may seem to be, What can God do for me? Our lives reflect a belief that God’s global priority is to make His disciples more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong: I believe that God desires to bless us and that God’s desire to bless His people is a major theme of the Bible. But if we focus on the theme of blessing alone, we distort the truth and lose the context in which God’s blessings are given.
The purpose of God’s Heart for the Nations, Radical’s most recent Bible study, is to help create an awareness of one of the most ignored themes of the Bible—God’s global purpose: His desire and activity of redeeming mankind, the nations, to Himself. It involves the active pursuit of worshipers from all the peoples of the earth who will give Him the glory due His name. God’s blessings and His global purpose are beautifully woven together in the Bible. My conviction is that in order to correctly interpret and apply Scripture, it is essential to understand the connection between these two themes. To ignore either one leads to misinterpretation and faulty application. Ultimately, lives will be misdirected.
In order to understand how these two themes relate, it’s important that we get our minds around the chief end for which God does all things—His own glory.
Glory. Throughout the ages books have been written to declare the meaning of this word. It seems so transcendent to me that I cower from trying to understand it. Consider the following: It is the splendor, majesty, honor, and reputation of God. Glory is used to describe the power of God. The Hebrew word most often translated “glory” in the Old Testament is kabod, and it can refer to the weightiness, honor, and/or splendor of the holy and majestic God of Scripture. God makes His glory known to the world as He manifests His character, attributes, and actions. On another level, the term speaks of our delight, boasting, and praise of God. We glorify God as God manifests Himself in us through our words and actions. We glorify God as we recognize Him in our obedience, confession, praise, delight, and service in the world.
God’s passion for His name and His glory is the supreme reason for His actions in the world. That’s the foundational concept this Bible study is built upon. God’s passion for His own glory does not lessen the fact that He loves us; in fact, it strengthens the concept of His love for us. God’s passion for
His name should be our central motivation for world evangelization. God is not receiving the worship that is due His name; therefore, God is calling out worshipers from among the nations, and He’s doing it through the witness of the church. Every church and every follower of Jesus Christ is called to participate in this global activity.