God’s goal in the gospel is to draw peoples together, undoing the nationalism, racism and self-centredness in our privatised economic lives that keep us apart. The purpose of God here is to bring healing, both to our renewed souls that embrace love rather than self, and to the oppression that the world has been subject to since the fall of Adam and Eve.
This is the promise Paul reiterated in Romans 8, where the creation is healed of its bondage to corruption. It is also the fulfilment of God’s promises to Abraham, where he blesses the nations of the earth. This blessing, in God’s view, must be a blessing that renews us inwardly, by healing us together in community, not a privatised wealth blessing. This is the fulfilment of God’s promises to Israel, about overcoming the paganism that ravages humanity, through the eradication of violence and the recognition that humanity is made in the image of God.
The church is God’s launching pad for this global restoration project, first by the cross healing our hearts and then by the resurrection showing us a new kind of justice that accepts the lowly, just as God accepted Christ who was cast out by the powers. The church brings a fellowship to the world that draws in all groups of people to a community of love and healing by faith, which means faithfulness to each other rather than to self.
To the extent that the church has failed to follow God’s plan, but instead has followed its own selfish, private and national plans, the purposes of the church have been on hold. It is not known how much the United Nations can contribute to spreading the values of the church within the nations of the world and be an ally in them. As a secular institution, the United Nations carries both advantages in its spread, but also challenges in its diverse membership.
It is my view that these challenges must be met and worked through rather than become the basis of our rejection of the benefits of the movement. Whether or not the United Nations proves to be invaluable to the future, at the very least, the church should continue to embrace many of the foundational principles of restoration and peace that the United Nations is attempting to carry forward. The church should be spearheading these values, rather than playing catch up with the United Nations, or rejecting them. The church should be leading once again in these true biblical values in transforming our neighbourhoods, communities, enemies and nations.
It may be objected that the church cannot fulfil any of its goals through the United Nations, or rather than the United Nations is incongruous to the goals of the church, since a new heart through the personal lordship of Christ is required. That is true. It is also true that if the church doesn’t demonstrate their new heart through their healing activities in the world, whether through the United Nations and through its own united service, then the world will never know the meaning of our new heart, nor of the lordship of Christ we profess, since we would be holding that lordship to ourselves. We cannot depend on the United Nations, nor can we shun the biblical principles it announces through its activities.
The church remains God’s hope for the world, but if the church doesn’t reflect and support any biblical principles that the United Nations advocates, and then go further, then the church has lost of saltiness.