Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

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The Beginnings of the Gentile Mission

January 8th, 2012 · No Comments

Acts 13:1-4 tells us how the mission to the Gentiles was launched from the church in Antioch. We here learn that a group of prophets and teachers were gathering together to minister to the Lord, with fasting, during which time the Holy Spirit spoke through one or more of the prophets, indicating that they must set apart Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the work He had called them to do. They will take the gospel to new regions, following the pattern laid out in Romans 1:16: to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. The apostles go first to the synagogue, preaching the Gospel to the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles who frequented the synagogue services throughout the Roman world. The gospel recognizes the salvation-historical priority of the Jews, but is ultimately a gospel for all men, without distinction between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, a gospel of grace which proclaims that all, Jew and Gentile alike, are justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, Whom God publicly displayed as a propitiation in His Blood, a sacrifice that turns away God’s wrath and atones for sin, that removes sin from God’s sight and from the sinner’s record, forever, all of this to be received by repentant men and women on one basis alone – through faith. The Cross thus becomes the means by which a holy, righteous and just God forgives sins and shows mercy to sinners, to all who will repent and believe this good news of what He has accomplished for their salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus.

The gospel thus went out to the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles throughout the Roman world. It was a harvest that He had prepared for many centuries, using Empires (Greece and Rome) He had raised up so that the Scriptures might be translated into a common language (Greek) and the roads prepared for His Word to go forth in a way never possible before that point in salvation-history, which Paul refers to as “the fullness of the times” (Gal 4:4).

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