Where can we put our hope? In human progress? Artificial intelligence? The State? The economy?
There is only one real hope for us, and it transcends all cultural, national, and generational boundaries. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he declares that Jesus is Lord over all— including both Jews and Gentiles (10:11-13). As Paul concludes the letter, he emphasizes Old Testament prophecies, promising that people all over the world would praise and put their hope in the Messiah.
For I say that the Messiah became a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises to the fathers, and so that Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy. As it is written: Therefore I will praise You among the Gentiles, and I will sing psalms to Your name. Again it says: Rejoice, you Gentiles, with His people! And again: Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; all the peoples should praise Him! And again, Isaiah says: The root of Jesse will appear, the One who rises to rule the Gentiles; the Gentiles will hope in Him. (Romans 15:8-12 HCSB, emphasis added)
The only hope that we have is in Christ Jesus. No other god, religion, philosophy, or system can be a true source of hope to anyone anywhere in the world. This stands in stark contrast to the attitude of spiritual pluralism that is prevalent today. People may ask Christians, “Do you think you have a monopoly on truth? Why would you force your religion on others, especially in other cultures and places in the world?” The truth is, no matter who you are or where you live, Jesus Christ is your only hope for life and peace.
Man-made religions and philosophies are not adequate in the United States, nor anywhere else in the world. Roman Catholicism, Islam, animism, or humanism cannot serve anyone anywhere as a basis for hope. People all over the world are enslaved to beliefs that cannot save. But we can see, by the mercies and promises of God, that not all of them will remain in that condition. Jesus will redeem people from every tribe, language, and nation in the world. People from every nation will put their hope in him!
Now to Him who has power to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation about Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent for long ages but now revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all nations. (Romans 16:25-26)
While we may not usually consider the letter to the Romans as a “missions book,” Paul ends the epistle by encouraging us to consider the Scriptures as a command from God to advance faithful obedience among all the nations. What could be more missional than that? When we think of missions passages, we may think about the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 or Acts 1:8. But if we look intently into Scripture, we see that missions isn’t an idea or command found only in a few passages of the New Testament. A grand theme of the Messiah’s redemption of the nations can be traced from Genesis to Revelation.
Let us pray that we would be obedient to God’s Word and study it intently to see how we can faithfully serve him in his redemptive plan while we wait for the glorious return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.