Psalm 96:3-5 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
This Psalm includes the evangelistic imperative and at the same time declares that Yahweh alone is the Creator. We have no idea who wrote it, but it is certainly magnificent. I’m not sure how many times it’s been set to music in various arrangements! This passage certainly blows holes in the “coexist” mantra that has been pushed for many years now. I like the way the Japanese expresses it. Where the NIV says, “The gods of the nations are idols,” the Japanese says they are “worthless/futile/without meaning.” Idols are indeed that, but political correctness seldom lets us be that blunt. It is only kindness and mercy to let someone know their gods are that, if that is indeed the case. Today that is thought of as rude and nothing else, because to be honest, those who hold that position don’t have any assurance that their own religion is true. That’s what leads to Unitarianism, claiming that all religions/gods are essentially the same. It is shocking to see polls that show how many “Christians” aren’t assured that Jesus is the only way to salvation. If He’s not, then He’s a liar! (John 14:6) Those who have genuinely encountered Him aren’t so wishy-washy. When we know “the Lord who made the heavens,” it would be very odd for us not to seek to let others know Him too. That isn’t “cultural imperialism” or anything else negative, it is the greatest generosity and good will.
When I am a missionary pastor, I’m obviously pretty convinced that Jesus is the only way to salvation, but I have known of even missionaries who have been seduced by humanistic philosophy, letting intellectual pride get in the way of their own personal relationship with their Creator. Humility is the only basis for such a relationship! I am painfully aware of that, having walked in absurd pride myself, and I am deeply grateful to the Lord for calling me to account. As God told Jeremiah, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24) My attitude in evangelism isn’t to be boastful, but rather one of humble gratitude for the grace that allows me to know my Creator. After all, that grace is available to anyone who will accept it.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I pray that it would give me fresh boldness, not fearing that people might dislike me, but rather desiring that they know You, and receive Your salvation by repentance and faith. The vast majority of the people around me don’t know You, and You’re less happy about that than I am. I ask for wisdom and boldness to make full use of every opportunity You give me, so that as many as possible may be brought from darkness to light, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!