From Paradise Restored by David Chilton, page 218-9
The salvation of the world was the reason why Jesus came, as He Himself told Nicodemus:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through Him (John 3:16-17).”
That the world should be saved! Here is one of the most oft-quoted passages of all the Bible, and so often we miss the point. Jesus Christ came to save the world – not just a sinner here, a sinner there. He wants us to disciple the nations – not just a few individuals. The Lord Jesus will not be satisfied in the success of His mission until the whole earth is singing His praises. On the basis of God’s infallible promises, the Church must pray and work for the expansion of the Kingdom, with the expectation that God will fill His Church with “a great multitude, which no one can count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” (Rev. 7:9).
We must stop acting as if we are forever destined to be a subculture. We are destined for dominion; we should straighten up and start acting like it. Our life and worship should reflect our expectation of dominion and our increasing capacity for responsibility. We should not see ourselves as lonely outposts surrounded by an increasingly hostile world; that is to bear false witness against God. The truth is just the opposite of that. It is the devil who is on the run, it is paganism which is doomed to extinction. Christianity is ultimately the dominant culture, predestined to be the final and universal religion. The Church will fill the earth.
The great St. Augustine understood this. Referring to those who saw themselves as the last remnant of a Church which was headed for inevitable decline, he laughed: “The clouds roll with thunder, that the House of the Lord shall be built throughout the earth: and these frogs sit in their marsh and croak – We are the only Christians!”
We are the shapers of world history. God has remade us in His image for world dominion; He has poured out upon us His Spirit, with “power from on high” (Luke 24:49); He has committed to us the gospel of the Kingdom, and commissioned us to take over the world. If we trust and obey Him, there is no possibility of failure.
They never taught any of this, in the religious schools and churches I attended.
Because they didn’t believe a word of it.
In contrast, I think I would have liked St. Augustine, if I ever had the chance to meet him.