When Abraham proved his willingness to offer up his beloved son, Isaac, God made a promise to him:
In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice (Gen. 22:18).
The apostle Paul points out that this promise was made to Abraham and to his seed, singular, not seeds, plural, and that the singular seed was Christ (see Gal. 3:16). In Christ all the nations, or more accurately, all the ethnic groups of the earth would be blessed. This promise to Abraham foretold the inclusion of the thousands of Gentile ethnic groups around the globe into the blessings of being in Christ. Those ethnic groups are distinct from each other in that they live in different geographical areas, are of different races, conform to different cultures and speak different languages. God wants them all to be blessed in Christ, which is why Jesus died for the sins of the entire world (see 1 John 2:2).
Although Jesus said that the way is narrow that leads to life, and few find it (see Matt. 7:14), the apostle John left us with good reason to believe that there will be representatives from all of the world’s ethnic groups in the future kingdom of God:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9-10, emphasis added).
So it is with great anticipation that the children of God look forward to joining a multi-ethnic multitude before God’s throne one day!
Many contemporary missionary strategists have placed great emphasis on reaching the remaining thousands of “hidden” ethnic groups around the world, with the hopes of planting a viable church in every one of them. This is certainly commendable, as Jesus commanded us to go into the whole world and “make disciples of all the nations (or literally, ethnic groups)” (Matt. 28:19). The plans of men, however, no matter how well-intentioned, especially when void of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, can often do more harm than good. It is vital that we follow the wisdom of God as we seek to build His kingdom. He gave us more information and instruction regarding how we are to make disciples around the world than what is found in Matthew 28:19.
Perhaps the most overlooked fact by those who strive to fulfill the Great Commission is that God is the greatest evangelist of all, and we are supposed to be working with Him, not for Him. He cares much more about reaching the world with the gospel than anyone, and He is working to that end much more diligently than anyone. He was, and is, so devoted to the cause that He died for it, and was thinking about it before He even created anyone, and still is! That is commitment!