Much is said of the “great commission” which our Lord gave to His apostles just before His ascension. We wonder whether our readers have ever examined the various records of this commission carefully.
This “great commission” does not say one word about “the preaching of the cross” or “the gospel of the grace of God”. The “gospel” which they were sent to preach was very evidently the same “gospel” they had been preaching — the Gospel of the Kingdom — only they could now declare, as Peter did at Pentecost, that the King had risen from the dead and would still some day occupy the throne of David.
The “great commission” demanded faith and baptism for the remission of sins (Mark 16:15,16); it included the power to heal the sick and work miracles (16:17,18), but it did not include the glad message that “Christ died for our sins” (ICor.15:1-3). At Pentecost, when Peter began to carry out this commission, he rather blamed his hearers for the death of Christ and when, convicted of their sins, they asked: “What shall we do?” he did notsay: “Believe on Christ who died for your sins.” He rather commanded them to “repent and be baptized every one…for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
But after Christ and His Kingdom were again rejected, God interrupted the prophetic program and sent Paul forth to proclaim “the preaching of the cross” and “the gospel of the grace of God”. In II Corinthians 5: 14-21 this apostle proclaims “the love of Christ” who “died for all” and instructs us as to our“great commission”:
“And all things are of [provided by] God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, AND HATH GIVEN TO US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION;
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself… AND HATH COMMITTED UNTO US THE WORD OF RECONCILIATION” (II Cor.5:18,19).
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.