Let the Nations Be Glad and Sing for Joy

The ultimate goal of God in all of history is to uphold and display his glory for the enjoyment of the redeemed from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. His goal is the gladness of his people, because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Delight is a higher tribute than duty. The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy his glory forever. Since his glory is magnified most in the God-centered passions of his joyful people, God’s self-exaltation and our jubilation are one. The greatest news in all the world is that God’s ultimate aim to be glorified and man’s aim to be satisfied are not at odds. WORSHIP—The goal of missions, therefore, is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands BE GLAD!” (Ps. 97:1). “Let the nations BE GLAD AND SING FOR JOY!” (Ps. 67:4). The missionary command to be happy in God is simply a command for the consummation of praise. Professed praise of God without pleasure in God is hypocrisy. Therefore, worship is the fuel and the goal of missions. Worship is the goal of missions because in missions we aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory. It is the fuel of missions because we can’t commend what we don’t cherish. We can’t call out, “Let the nations BE GLAD!” until we say, “I REJOICE in the Lord.” Missions begins and ends in worship.

— John Piper, LET THE NATIONS BE GLAD!: THE SUPREMACY OF GOD IN MISSIONS, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1993, p. 231. ISBN: 0-8010-2613-X

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