In the Lord’s Prayer, we are encouraged to pray, ”Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10).
God’s will does not always happen on earth right now – that is obvious. Had so been the case, there would have been no need for us to ask God to let His will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Wars, famine, murders, and rapes are examples of terrible things that are absolutely not an expression of God’s will. God is only good and only good gifts come from Him (Jm. 1:17, 1 Jn. 1:5).
However, in this article we ask the following question: Will God’s ultimate will be done before the ages have come to an end, i.e. before we have entered eternity? Or will everything end with God having failed miserably to achieve the purpose of His creation?
The Apostle Paul reveals in Ephesians what God’s ultimate will and desire is. This had previously been a mystery, but has now – through the finished work of Jesus Christ – been made known:
9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him. (Eph. 1:9-10)
God’s ultimate will is to gather together all things in Christ.
I believe what Paul is talking about has a dual fulfillment. This has already partly been fulfilled through the redemption, but it will also become a manifested reality at the end of the ages. All in heaven and earth has – potentially – already been gathered together in Christ through His death and resurrection. However, this has not yet been physically manifested, since all people have not yet received Christ.
32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die. (Jn. 12:32-33)
I believe that even this Scripture has a dual fulfillment. Since Jesus hereby referred to His death, it has clearly already partly been fulfilled. Through the redemption, Jesus has – potentially – already drawn all people to Himself. However, since all people have not yet received Him, there must be a second fulfillment in the future, since God never ever fails.
In 1 Timothy, we find another statement from Paul regarding what God’s will is:
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, (1 Tim. 2:3-6)
God does not want any person to be lost. He has not – like the Calvinists say – predestined some to find salvation in Christ, and others to be eternally lost. He gave Himself as ransom for everyone. He wants all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Will He get what He wants? Will God’s ultimate dreams and desires by fulfilled? Will all people be saved and get to know the truth? Will all things – in heaven and on earth – be gathered together in one in Christ?
The answer to this question must be: Yes. The time will come when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord – in heaven, on earth, and under the earth! Since it says in heaven, on earth, and even under the earth, this must mean that all are included.
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:10-11)
Paul explains in 1 Corinthians that it is impossible to confess that Jesus is Lord without being under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). And in Romans chapter 10, he explains what happens when someone believes in his heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, and with his mouth confesses Him as Lord:
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rm. 10:9-10)
This strongly indicates that when all in heaven, on earth, and under the earth confess that Jesus is Lord, everyone (who have not already been saved) will be saved! The Master and Creator of the universe will not fail. All in heaven and earth will be gathered in His beloved Son – Jesus Christ.
You might be thinking: Why then do we continue to occupy ourselves with missions work and church activities? Would it not be better if we all just eat and drink and be happy – since it all will end up well? NO, absolutely not! We all will have to give accounts for how we have lived our lives before God! There will come a judgment! All the Scriptures that describe the final judgment will be fulfilled – including the Scriptures regarding the lake of fire. We should take these Scriptures very seriously!
However, the main reason why we preach the Gospel is not because we want to save people from what we call “hell”. (Note that the word hell does not appear one single time in the original Hebrew or Greek text of the Bible). The message of the Gospel is not, “turn or burn”, repent or burn in hell forever! The main reason why we preach the Gospel is not to save people from something, but rather to save people to something.
We were created to live in an intimate love-relationship with God. We were created to glorify Him with our lives. The reason why we preach the Gospel is that we want the relationship between God and man that was lost – because of the fall of Adam – to be restored. God loves every human being and do not want a single person to be lost (from this love-based relationship with Him). God is like the good Shepherd who leaves all the other 99 sheep with the caretaker, to go out and look for the one lost sheep, and He does not give up until He finds it! If the Father cares so much about every single human being, so should we. It is a family matter. We are co-workers in our heavenly Daddy’s family business!
The Gospel is not only about “saving the lost”, though. It is also about setting people free from religion. The word religion originally comes from the Latin words religare, which means “to bind” and religio, which means “obligation”. People all over the world from every religion – including the Christian religion – walk in spiritual captivity, bound and worn out by religious rules and obligations. The Gospel sets us free from a performance-based relationship with God – to live in an intimate relationship with Him, based on His unconditional love.
God wants every human being to find freedom, love, grace, joy, peace, and comfort in Christ! Jesus came so that we would have “abundant life” (Jn. 10:10). He wants His life to be introduced to every person. He wants everything to be filled with Christ, so that everything in heaven and on the earth is gathered in Him. This is the reason why we preach the Gospel.