God’s Missional Nature

“God is a missional God.” What do you think about that statement? What does it mean to be missional and how is God a missional God? The word mission means to send. It also means to go or to engage. A mission is something that we purpose to do. To be missional is to live with purpose. God is a missional God in that He has a purpose. He does not do things randomly. He has a reason and purpose for everything He does. Everything He does has a goal or an end result in mind. The very nature of God is missional. It is who He is. He does nothing without a purpose. He is a missional God.

                Our mission begins and ends with God’s mission. God is the embodiment of missions. Therefore, for we to live a missional life, we must know God and His mission. God’s missional nature is seen in His creation, redemptive purposes, and His character.

                God’s missional nature is seen in creation. In Genesis chapter one, we see the documented historical account of the creation of the world. It is made very clear in the very first verse of the Bible that God is the initiator of all things. God is eternal. He always has been and always will be. Therefore, the Bible starts by stating the fact that “In the beginning God…” “God is not merely an idea. He is Eternal Being whom we can know and experience personally. At the commencement of Scripture he invites us to learn of him.”[1] The eternal God went on a mission to create the Heavens and the Earth. In six literal days He created all that we know. He created light. He made the land and the waters. He made all the animal life. He made the starts in the sky. This amazing and wonderful universe we live in was all made by God. On the sixth day of creation God made man. Genesis 1:26-27 says, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”[2] God created mankind in His own image. He gave man some of the same characteristics that He has which sets man apart from all of creation. God created man with a mind, emotions, and will. As we see in Genesis 2:7, God breathed into man a living soul. The eternal breath of God is in man, therefore, man has an eternal soul and will live forever. God gave mankind some very clear instructions in Genesis 1:28. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”[3]God told mankind to be fruitful and multiply. God gave man a mission. Multiplication is the essence of missions. From the very beginning God’s purpose for mankind is that we multiply. Not only has God instructed mankind to multiple, God Himself is in the work of multiplication by His continuing creative power. God is still creating today. He is multiplying His creation. God has invited mankind to join Him in the work of multiplication. He has commanded that we procreate and that we invite a lost world to be recreated (transformed) into a new life in Christ as a part of God’s Kingdom. God also instructed mankind to have dominion over the rest of creation. He placed the first man and woman in a beautiful garden and told them to take care of the garden. They were given a job to do. God not only initiated the work, He also involved mankind in the work. He set the example for us when it comes to missions. He gave life (salvation), he cultivated and taught (discipled) that life and then gave that life work to do (sent). This is the process of missions. We are to give life to a lost and dying world, we are to make disciples, and we are to multiply ourselves in others by sending them on mission too. From the very beginning, God was on a mission. His creation alone is proof that God is a missional God.

                God’s missional nature is seen in His redemptive purposes. After God created the first man and the first woman and gave them the instructions to be fruitful and multiple and to care for the rest of creation. God created man in His image and gifted them with a free will. God created man out of love. In love, God gave man the ability to choose. After all, forced love is not real love. God loves us, therefore, He gives us the ability to choose whether or not we will love Him. To give mankind the opportunity to make a choice, God placed a tree in the midst of the garden. He told the first man and first woman that they were forbidden to eat of that tree. If they did eat the fruit of that tree, they would die. Unfortunately, they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. That act alone brought a curse on the earth. Death, disease, suffering, and wickedness, all started that day Adam and Eve disobeyed God. From that point on, sin is in the seed of man and the curse of sin has been passed down to every generation. Since God gave man an eternal soul, we will all live forever. However, sin brings both physical death and spiritual death. Death is separation. Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body and spiritual death is separation of both the soul and body from God. The curse of sin keeps us from a relationship with God. However, because of God’s great love for us He had a plan to redeem us from the curse of sin. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”[4]In the Old Testament we can trace God’s redemptive plan through the election of the nation of Israel, the giving of the law and the sacrificial system, and the promise of a Savior. That redemptive plan culminated in the coming of Jesus, the incarnate of God. Jesus was sent on mission. He had a purpose. He came to save the world from the curse and penalty of sin. He went to the cross and did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He satisfied God’s righteous demands on sin and provided a way that we could be reconciled to God. Jesus conquered death through His resurrection, and He has offered reconciliation to God and eternal life with Him to the whole world. Jesus did all that needed to be done to save the whole world from sin. However, because God is a loving God, He does not force His love and salvation on anyone. Though Jesus did all that must be done to secure our salvation, we have the responsibility to accept the gift of salvation that God has offered. Salvation is freely given and freely received. Those who do accept His gift of salvation are given the task of telling others about Jesus. They are sent on a mission to bring the world to Jesus. The fact that God came to us and provided a way of salvation is evidence enough that God is a missional God. He went on a mission to save mankind from the curse of sin, and He invites us to join Him in that mission by telling others of the good news of Jesus.

                God’s missional nature is seen in His character. Being on mission is who God is. His very character speaks to His missional nature. His character is wrapped up in His love for mankind. It is His love that drives Him to plead with mankind through the Holy Spirit to believe on Him for their salvation. God has absolutely no desire for anyone to be separated from Him. He does not desire for anyone to go to hell. That is why He gave us a way of escape. He gave us a way of salvation. God is holy. God is just. God is righteous. God is love. His character demands that He be missional. His character demands that He comes to us and invites us into His Kingdom. Everything we know and see of God and everything that His character reveals to us is an example of a missional lifestyle; the kind of life that we too should live.

                I am very glad that God is a missional God. Apart from His love for me, I would be eternally lost. I am eternally grateful that God came to me. God is a missional God!

[1] Mathews, K. A. (1996). Genesis 1-11:26 (Vol. 1A, p. 126). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ge 1:26–27). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ge 1:28). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Jn 3:16–17). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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