Sunday, January 30: Commission
“Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) This command to the first humans, sometimes referred to as the Cultural Mandate, calls the people of God to so much more than merely procreating and being the dominant species over the rest of creation. God appointed the creatures made in His image to do as He does: create and cultivate.
The creation and cultivation of life-enhancing government, agriculture, transportation, sanitation, architecture, art, education, exploration, medicine, and a host of other fields fall under this umbrella. We are made for the work of bringing order out of chaos; of establishing and organizing.
The Great Commission then, is not an un-looked for bolt of lightning from a clear sky, but simply a narrowing of the Cultural Mandate. Jesus’ words to “make disciples, … baptizing, … and teaching” in Matthew 28:19-20 are the command to embark on the Spirit-empowered work of ordering the New Creation according to the only organizing principle to remain constant in every era: the Gospel.
The thread that runs from Christ as King, through Confession of His saving work, His sovereignty over Creation, and the Community that belongs to Him, brings us ultimately to a Commission that is simultaneously personal and public. God gave everyone in Adam a directive to create and cultivate in the context of the garden; He has given everyone in the Second Adam the commission to create and cultivate in the context of a New Creation.
The power of the gospel is that, by the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work, it produces in its hearers the very thing it commands of them. We need only proclaim it with confidence, knowing that our real task begins once the miracle of the new birth takes place. God makes daughters and sons, and we are called to make them disciples. This is what it means in the economy of the kingdom to obey the Cultural Mandate to create and cultivate.