The goal of God’s mission is the restoration of a world full of shalom. Shalom—as I mentioned in THIS post—is a state of comprehensive well-being that touches every aspect of life.
Shalom for All People
It’s because of God’s mission of full restoration for the whole world that we read passages like Jeremiah 29:1-11 where God instructs the people of Israel in Babylonian exile to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city…because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Or, more literally, “seek the shalom of the city…because if it experiences shalom, you too will experience shalom.”
It seems a little crazy, but God desires shalom not only for his people, but for the Babylonians, as well. And how will the Babylonians experience that shalom? When the people of God live out shalom by praying for their captors.
God’s goal is shalom for those who are his people and for those who are not currently his people. But God’s mercy extends even beyond that!
Shalom for All Things
Paul tells us that through Christ, God reconciled “to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20).
Look at Paul’s words again. What does God achieve through Christ’s blood? Peace.
Paul writes this to a church in Greece using the Greek word for peace—eirene. But as a Jew, he would surely have had in mind the Hebrew word—shalom.
Notice for whom this shalom is intended—“all things…things on earth or things in heaven.” What is included in the shalom God is attaining? Everything!
What is excluded from God’s shalom? Nothing!
The Trajectory of God’s Mission
This is the trajectory of God’s mission–the restoration of all creation. In fact, we see the fulfillment of God’s mission at the end of Revelation. Listen to John’s description of the fulfillment of God’s plans:
“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
Isn’t that a wonderful vision of the world—a world in which all things are as God intended them to be?
This is the mission of God. This is the mission Israel was called to fulfill (Genesis 12:3). This is the mission Jesus came to fulfill.
And it is the mission you and I have been called to fulfill—to join with God in restoring shalom to all creation in this broken and sin-scarred world.