Last week, Ray Ortlund posted a quote from Lesslie Newbigin on his Gospel Coalition blog. The full quote is reprinted below.
“There has been a long tradition which sees the mission of the Church primarily as obedience to a command. It has been customary to speak of ‘the missionary mandate.’ This way of putting the matter is certainly not without justification, and yet it seems to me that it misses the point. It tends to make mission a burden rather than a joy, to make it part of the law rather than part of the gospel. If one looks at the New Testament evidence one gets another impression. Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy. The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed. It must be told. Who could be silent about such a fact? The mission of the Church in the pages of the New Testament is more like the fallout from a vast explosion, a radioactive fallout which is not lethal but life-giving.”
Newbigin says, with slightly different language, what I’ve been trying to communicate for some time now. Namely, that sentness is the by-product of grace. The missionary impulse, living sent, is an overflow of grace before it is obedience to a command. Sentness as the by-product of grace is summed up in the tag line of this blog. “God’s glory, our spiritual poverty. God’s grace, our sentness.” Ultimately, it’s our life with Jesus and our realization of God’s great grace that fuels the mission of living sent to make disciples.