Have you ever wondered why, in the United States military forces, there are commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers? What does it mean to be commissioned? The word commission refers to an instruction, a duty, or a command that is given to a person or group of people. In the military, an officer who is commissioned is one who holds a commission from the highest authority in the country, the President of the United States. That commission allows the officer to command all of the military personnel under him or her. A non-commissioned officer, on the other hand, receives orders from commissioned officers and assigns tasks to lower-ranking personnel.
A believer receives his or her commission from the highest authority there is, from God. Throughout Scripture, God gave commissions to His people. The first commission, given to mankind through Adam and Eve, was to multiply, fill the earth, and have dominion over all living creatures (Genesis 1:28). Later, when mankind's evil caused God to bring a flood to wipe out what He had created, God selected one man and his family to survive and then gave them a similar commission to the one given to Adam and Eve, be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1).
Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus gave a commission to His disciples, a commission that is for each and every person who believes in and follows Him. Just as Adam and Eve and Noah and his family were commissioned to go out into the earth, we as believers are commissioned to do the same. Jesus told His disciples to go to Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. And just as Adam and Eve and Noah and his family were to be fruitful and multiply, we are also commissioned to be fruitful and multiply, but not in exactly the same way.
Our commission as believers is to be fruitful by spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, by bringing the gospel to all parts of the earth and to all of its people (Mark 16:15). Our commission is to help bring those with whom we share the gospel into the family of God, to multiply the number of those who have been saved by the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ. Our commission is that of ambassadors for Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), being His witnesses as we represent Him to the world (Acts 1:8).