Calm Word about the Election

© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D., 4 November 2016

Who will win the election? No one knows, especially me. Will the person be good for the country? You already know whom I think will be better, but does that mean he will turn our hearts back to righteousness? Not likely. The gospel in the Church is God’s hope for America, not some political pundit. Politicians should make it safe and easy to proclaim the gospel, not to be the Church. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34 NKJ). Righteousness is the mission of the Church. I don’t look to any politician at any time for the ultimate cure: that worship belongs only to One Man and the ONLY Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), Jesus Christ. Indeed, if the Apostle Paul were elected as President next Tuesday, we would still have an ungodly nation. It is going to take a major revival and at least one generation (most likely two to three generations) to right so many injustices, such as:

  • Idolatry
  • Vile language
  • Dedicating time to self and not to the Lord on His Day
  • Disobedience to godly authority (parents, government, military)
  • Murder
  • Porn
  • Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia
  • Worship of self (narcissism)
  • Materialists
  • Secularism
  • Sexual sins of all kinds that are unbelievable in invention and in intensity
  • LGBTQ
  • Everybody steals from everyone
  • Everyone lies to everyone
  • The media and politicians in general make a living from bearing false witness
  • Coveting
  • Violence throughout the nation
  • Extreme prejudice, especially against Christians
  • Wholesale violations of the Ten Commandments

I’m sure I’ve left out many sins. Consider my book (and eBook) NOT Ten Commandments on Amazon for practical insights into each of these areas (pdf on my site). In short, we need a Nineveh type revival with a disobedient Jonah to preach. But he was like many of us: “Don’t give our ‘Ninevites’ conversion and grace, O Lord, kill them all!”

I can almost predict what will happen to us with this vote: Something we never thought about. But I don’t know; neither do you.

One thing for sure in in the long run, and for the good of the Church corporate throughout the world, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28 NKJ). We tend to take this to mean individual Christians will be blessed, and that is true, but in context it is primarily corporate. Whatever happens throughout the world, I self-consciously ask myself, “What are you doing, Lord, but whatever it is, you do so for the benefit of Your people.” Every event in every part of the world has been designed by my gracious Lord with you and me in mind, “who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The reason He is doing this, as Max Lucado has said, is because HE CHOSE THE NAILS. It is through His suffering that His kingdom grows, and through our suffering that we grow. Suffering is not abnormal but normal, but we in the USA have had several centuries of reprieve. Adventure awaits us! So whatever happens in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia, China, USA, etc, He has designed to promote His kingdom, His Church, and to grow us in grace. All the world sees is the outward wars, the political intrigue and lies, but Jesus sees His Church.

WE see in the last 100 years or more, King Jesus has been pouring His Holy Spirit more to the East and less in the West. Modern church historians, such as Philip Jenkins and Mark A. Noll, tell us that 100 years ago 7 of every 10 Christians were in Europe, UK, USA, Canada—in other words—white Christians. Now it has reversed: 7 of every 10 Christians are in other countries (China, India, Africa, S. Korea, Russia, Middle East, Brazil, the Southern Cone (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay)), etc. It appears that the Lord is on the move in the East but turning from the West, but only He knows for sure.

We tend to forget or ignore the fact that the Church, over the centuries, has grown most in grace and in numbers through persecution. If I were the Lord Jesus, I would give us what we deserve—persecution—and thereby separate the sheep from the goats by such persecution. BUT you are safe because I’m not Him, and He is infinitely more gracious than I could ever be. Anyway, as we used to say in Vietnam, I’m a short timer (now 71). I’ll continue to do what I can to kick Satan’s butt, and then by His grace, I’ll be going home!

I have prayed for the USA, sometimes with tears. I have written to y’all, I have voted. Now it is time for me to relax in His gracious providence.

“Thou doest all things well, O my sovereign Lord. Yours is to dispose; mine is to repose.” AMEN. Ω.

Who Is Holy Enough to be President?

(© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D., November 1, 2016)

Adam would not have qualified because he did not stand up to Satan when he tempted his wife, Eve, to eat of the fruit. He effectively threw his wife under the bus; who would want a coward for president?

Noah would not qualify because he was guilty of getting drunk at the worst possible time and then engaging in incest with his daughters, who gave birth to his children. If  Weiner may be ousted for sexting a minor, how much worse was Noah who got his daughters pregnant!

Abraham lied about his wife being his sister, and then he did not believe God’s promise about having the promised seed through Sarah. Impatient, he impregnated his wife’s assistant, Hagar, who in turn had Ishmael. It was only later that Abraham had the true promised seed, Isaac, with Sarah. Who would want a liar, a double-minded man,  and fornicator for president?

Moses could not be president because he murdered an Egyptian, which was also profiling. Who is going to hold him accountable for these crimes? Could he really be trusted to lead a nation? Moreover, he ran off after killing the Egyptian and raised sheep for 40 years. How would having his own business qualify him for politics, and especially living in solitude for all those years? Would he be able to speak eloquently in public? He did not think so.

Samson would be out because he could not keep his hands off women, often going to bed with them. How could a womanizer do God’s will for a nation? Maybe Bill Clinton has followed his example.

Saul was chosen by the people to be king, but they liked him because he was nice looking and larger by a head than most men. They did not look on the heart, for if they had, they would have noticed that he was an ego-maniac. God killed him and installed David as king.

But how did David qualify for that high office as leader of Israel? After being confirmed as King, he committed two very heinous sins. First, he numbered Israel to see how many soldiers he had, putting his confidence in his military might rather than in his covenant LORD (1 Chron. 21). Second, he committed adultery with Bathsheba, got her pregnant, and then murdered her Husband, Uriah the Hittite. Then he took Bathsheba as his wife.

Israel split into two nations: the northern ten tribes, called Israel, and the southern two tribes called Judah. There was not one good king in the north and only a few in Judah, but most had some problem.

There was a king of Palestine appointed by the Caesar of Rome, and that was Herod the Great who murdered relatives, wives, sons, and anyone who got in his way. He told more lies than the Caesars, which is saying something, since they often told lies to cover their butts. Sound familiar? He tried to murder baby Jesus by having all the babies two years of age and under murdered, but even then he only killed about 18 babies. That is not nearly as many as Hitlery and others have murdered with abortion, which is 55 million and counting since abortion became legal in January 1973.

There were no significant kings of the northern ten tribes of Israel in New Testament times because Israel was under foreign rule—Rome. But the High Priest, who was supposed to be appointed for life, was also supposed to be male and of the house of Aaron. There were two High Priests in the Lord’s day: Annas and Caiaphas, neither one of the house of Aaron. The reason there were two High Priests was corruption. Annas and Caiaphas bought their way into the most political position of Palestine: High Priest. When Annas did not please the Roman authorities, they put him out, but Annas pulled some strings to get his son-in-law, Caiaphas, installed. It was political conspiracy. Sound familiar?

Peter was not qualified because he was so fickle: proclaiming Jesus one minute and denying Him three times the next minute. Also, he had permanent hoof in mouth disease, always saying something off the cuff that got him in trouble. Remind you of someone?

No way Paul could serve since he had arrested many Christians and murdered some. Moreover, he was very confrontational.

John Adams, second president of the USA, had been exposed to the Puritans as he grew up, but their Calvinism did not stay with him. He wrote Thomas Jefferson and said something like: I could wish you to live long enough to become a Calvinist,” to which Jefferson responded: “Dear sir, you wish for me immortality.” Both seemed to be more deist than Christian, and in those days who wanted practical atheists in the high office?

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the USA, was a deist who sired children by his slave women.

Benjamin Franklin was a womanizer, and was not a Christian; rather, he was polytheistic.

We could continue, but you get the point—there are no perfect people for the high office of president. Indeed, the Clintons and Obamas have been some of the worst presidents in our history, and should never have been elected.

How qualified was Jesus to be King? According to the standards of that time, He was not unqualified. He had never served in any office before. His education was limited to His step-father and mother. The only job He had learned to do was carpentry. He was intolerant to those who did not like them, often calling them names such as liars, hypocrites, disciples of hell, fools, blind guides, whited sepulchers, serpents, brood of vipers, murderers, those who killed the prophets, and so on. He needed to learn tolerance if He were to succeed in politics! He had never traveled out of His country, and He had never been published. Those who followed Him were ignorant fishermen, tax collectors, and those not well known in society. And He was not acceptable in high society.  He had no military experience so how could He lead in fighting wars? Finally, He had been unemployed the last three years of His life, depending on others for food, and sometimes slept in the open. Such an independent minded person who did not fit in with professional politicians would never do.

Moreover, He had never been married, and that would mean He was not well adjusted, or worse, He may be a womanizer. Suspicion is raised when we know that women often followed Him in His travels. Sometimes he ate with prostitutes.

CONCLUSION:

So, to those Christians who think we are voting for the lesser of two evils if we vote for Trump, who would be righteous enough for you? Is it not prudent to have the lesser evil person rather than greater evil? In every election since the USA began, from municipal, county, state, and to federal, we have always voted for the lesser of two evils because no one is perfect! If we don’t vote for the lesser evil, then we will elect one of the evilest families in USA history. AMEN.Ω.

Jesus Is Lord in Everything but Voting—Right?

© The Very Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11 NKJ)

The three expressions—in heaven, on earth, and under the earth—refer to angelic beings and perhaps those who have passed into the presence of the Lamb, to all those on earth at any point in time, and those demonic beings under the earth. It is comprehensive.

We see from these verses that not only is Jesus the medium of worship but also the object of worship. The world hates the name “Jesus” as seen in making fun of it, saying “O Jesus Christ” and not “O Buddha” or something like that. One can pray in public in any name but Jesus; one can pray to “God Almighty,” to Allah, but just don’t pray in Jesus’ name. The reason should be obvious—Jesus is the supreme enemy, which is why Christians, who wear His name, are hated so much.

It seems that at every turn we Christians are being marginalized in our USA culture. Liberals hate us, the sexually immoral despise us with every vile force they can muster and want to murder us, and the culture is being educated in public, godless, government schools not to listen to us, that Christianity is an outdated religion that has a very fallible book full of mistakes and errors. Organizations like the ACLU want us to keep Christ in our private churches, and they want “Caesar” to be lord in the culture. They say keep Jesus out of politics and the public arena, for that belongs to the “neutral” government. The upcoming vote for the president of the USA is to some extent a battle over who is Lord in our society, Satan, or the Messiah who is Jesus the Lord. But we cannot say that the RNC represents all  godly principles; rather, they are, at the moment, just less evil, but should we not want lesser evil than more evil?

But how should Christians engage in the spiritual warfare that is around us every day? Let us look at 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 in the Old Testament.

13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This applied to the Old Testament people of God, but we are the new Israel of God (Gal. 6:16; Eph. 2:11-22) so it applies to us also. The passage says the covenant people of God who are called by His name (now “Christians”) are to do several things:

  • Humble themselves before God, which means to confess their sins
  • Pray and seek Him
  • And what is often overlooked: “turn from their wicked ways
  • “THEN” He will (notice the order) “forgive their sin, and heal their land”. Forgiveness is the basis for other blessings, and in turn forgiveness is conditioned on turning from our sins, or repentance (We Christians are eaten up with sins; click here to get my book on the Ten Commandments or go to Amazon and enter Curtis Crenshaw, NOT Ten Suggestions.)

Then in 2 Chronicles 20, the enemies of King Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, were coming against him, and they were too many and too powerful to fight. Here is what Jehoshaphat did:

  • He feared and set himself to seek the Lord (v. 3)
  • He invoked the covenant promises (“are not you our God”, v. 7)
  • “If disaster comes upon us . . . we will stand before this temple and in Your presence, and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save” (v. 9)
  • Here is what they prayed: “We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (v. 12)

So, what did Judah do in the face of overwhelming odds? They prayed and worshiped, and they were granted victory. We are not Judah, but we are in covenant with God through the blood of Jesus, and we enter His presence to worship each Lord’s day. It is there, in His holy presence in worship, that we do battle with our enemies. Of course, we also use other human means, such as voting in this election. If the outcome is not what we think is best, we must submit to Him, for His plan will go forward. But WE MUST BE FAITHFUL where we are whatever the outcome. We cannot see the future, but Jesus has determined the future; thus, we must be faithful in whatever He has decided for us, whoever wins the election. There is only one Man who is the answer to all our sins and problems, and that is the One who became human in space and time, who became a slave, ill-treated, who was crucified, died a criminal’s death, resurrected, who in turn knows all the trials we go through because He went through them to conquer for us: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15 ESV).

But in the New Testament we see something similar as 2 Chronicles 20:

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Cor. 10:3-6 ESV)

This passage commands us to use our divine weapons, not physical ones, to destroy “strongholds” of Satan. We do so by proclaiming the gospel, by making known the Triune God and the Incarnation of the Son of God, and we can in turn do that by disseminating the word in books, tracts, sermons, voting, praying, helping girls to overcome abortion, etc.

Now the One who was completely obedient must be completely obeyed, for He is LORD! We can see how quickly things can change with the new evidence from the FBI regarding the new found emails. Who knows how that will turn out? If providence goes as usual (who knows!), it may turn out completely different from what anyone thinks! But we know who is in charge; thus, let us do our meager part in repenting,  praying, voting, and trusting in

“Him who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. AMEN.” Ω. (1 Tim. 6:15-16 NKJ)

Error of Unbelief and Not Voting

(© The Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D., October 26, 2016)

Gospel light is like a rheostat: turn it down, and darkness floods a room; turn it up, and light floods the room. In either case, the rheostat controls light and thus darkness. Likewise, the gospel will dispel the darkness or it will allow the darkness to come in. The Church at large controls the rheostat. By definition, light controls darkness, not darkness the light.

This past week I heard the pastor of a large evangelical congregation in Dallas say on his radio program: “We are not going to prevent America’s ultimate collapse, but we can delay it. We can buy time so that we can preach the gospel. . . .” The context was that we should vote, and that for the less wicked person: Trump. After listening to several of the pastor’s sermons on the Internet, here is what he meant: The Church will lose in the spiritual battle in the USA and the world; Satan will win, but we should at least delay the inevitable destruction by voting for Trump.

If I believed the Church would lose, I would have quit the ministry years ago. Unbelief in overcoming the devil and his fallen angels is one reason evangelicals do not vote, thinking what is the use since this is Satan’s world, and he allegedly cannot be defeated except by muscle (Jesus beats him up at the end). But if all evangelicals did vote, we could control the country. It is primarily our fault that the USA is falling apart morally. Most denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, have fallen prey to liberalism; but those who have remained true to Holy Scriptures, have otherwise generally fallen prey to end time hysteria with its inherent pessimism and defeat of Christ’s Church. This end time fear has paralyzed us. Allegedly, the only way we can win the spiritual battle is to be delivered from this world in a secret second coming called the rapture. Then seven years later, when the Church is once again defeated, there will be the public Second Coming, the real Second Coming that the Creeds speak about.

Now we all believe in the Second Coming, for that is part of the ancient Creeds and is very clear in the Gospels; that is not the issue I’m raising. The issue is whether the Church is impotent and can only retreat, and whether the gospel is impotent. The issue is that many evangelicals use the rapture to do nothing. This defeatism reflects directly on the enthroned Son of God, and whether He can, by His Holy Spirit, change cultures and people. But the problem with many evangelicals is that we think Satan and his “gospel” of darkness is more powerful than Jesus and the true gospel. It is Jesus who is enthroned; not Satan. (We’ll comment on Rev. 2:13 next time.)

Consider this logic. If we Christians obey the Triune God’s commandments, preach His gospel, and live accordingly, we lose. But if the ungodly disobey God’s commandments, preach abortion, LGBT, steal through excessive taxation and printing money with no backing, lie and murder to get their way, they win. But how in the world can pursuing darkness win and pursuing the light lose?

Recall what happened to the children of Israel when they sent the twelve spies into the land and ten came back with a bad report. Essentially, the ten spies were guilty of unbelief, and their bad report lead Israel to regret that they had left Egypt. The two spies, however, responded with belief:

30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:30-33).

The ten spies contrasted themselves with their enemies, concluding they could not defeat them; but Caleb and Joshua contrasted their enemies with the LORD God, who had given them victory over all their enemies up to this point, not the least was the parting of the Red Sea. The LORD God made Israel wander in the wilderness 40 years because of their unbelief manifested in their fear. Will King Jesus make Christians in the USA endure much persecution for their unbelief in facing the enemies of Jesus? Only God knows.

This is what we are facing with most of evangelicalism: unbelief in the face of godless enemies. We contrast ourselves with those in power and conclude it is hopeless, denying both the power of the Gospel and the power of the risen Christ who reigns over all the world by His resurrection and Ascension, where He is seated in victory at the right hand of the Majesty on High (Hebrews 1:3; 8:1). But we must contrast our enemies with the Lord God, the Lamb of God, who sovereignly rules.

When the Lord Jesus gave the great commission, do we think He was giving commands that could never be carried out, that He was just helping the twelve be positive amid certain defeat?

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Notice Jesus said that He had ALL AUTHORITY, but where?—“in heaven and on earth.” The words “heaven” and “earth” mean the whole universe, using a device called a merism, opposites to mean totality. Considering His having “all authority,” He commanded a few followers to “make disciples of all the nations,” by two means: baptizing in the name of the Holy Trinity, which assumes the gospel, and teaching new disciples all that Christ had taught the twelve. To give them faith that His command to subdue the word by the gospel was not an empty command, He proclaims He will be with them to the end of the age. And He is with them, not just as a comfort in their trials, but to give them victory, for that is clearly the context!

In two thousand years, Christianity has grown from a handful to the largest religion of the world, about 2.5 billion, and in every country in the world. Islam cannot boast of being in every nation nor of so many, being about 1.8 billion.

Thus, we must bring to bear His righteousness in every area of life, which means voting. AMEN.

(Next time we shall look at who is Lord of the world, Satan or Jesus, and how that affects voting? Read the blog just before this one to see an answer to voting for the lesser of two evils.)

 

Heresy of Perfectionism and Voting

© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D., 20 October 2016

The heresy of perfectionism is an old one in the history of the Church. In one form, it is thinking that we can obtain absolute moral perfection in this life by the power of our wills (Pelagianism). In another form, it is demanding that others conform to our level of conformity to God’s word, or we will excommunicate them from our presence.

Christians have a type of perfectionism in politics today. Every Christian is flawed, but in our hypocrisy we want others who are flawed in the same way we are before we will associate with them.  But just think of what the Lord had to work with: hoof in mouth disease Peter, doubting Thomas, tax collecting Matthew, Christian-murdering Paul, and so on. If the Lord Jesus had refused to use them because they were not perfect, we would have no Church today.

Likewise, some Christians are so self-righteous that they will not vote for a professing Christian who is flawed, like Donald Trump. If they can’t have one who conforms to their view of righteousness, then they will not vote at all. Actually, that is not quite true, for a No vote for Trump is a Yes vote for Hillary Clinton. They forget that the Son of God was incarnated to save sinners, to promote His kingdom with good-for-nothing Christians, not that I’m saying Trump is a Christian, but James Dobson says he became one recently (click here). He may not be, but God is so sovereign He even used wicked Pharaoh to accomplish His purposes.

The Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” (Rom. 9:17 NKJ)

The Triune God has been striking straight blows with crooked sticks like Pharaoh since the world began. Consider some of the arguments some Christians give for not voting for Trump:

  • “Trump made some disparaging remarks about women that was played on some media just recently.” We don’t justify that; indeed, we say it was awful. BUT Trump apologized for it so why aren’t you forgiving him? Is that an unpardonable sin? What happened to forgiving 70 x 70?
  • “It is a matter of the lesser of two evils.” Duhh, then why not opt for the lesser evil? Or, do you want more evil? In fact, in every election to any office we’re always choosing the lesser of two evils because no one is perfect.
  • “But someone who professes to be a Christian should not act that way.” Granted, but does that mean that we put a more wicked person into office? Moreover, consider the larger picture. Trump has gathered some good Christians for his administration, such as Pence as Vice President, who professes faith in Jesus. Trump has good appointments to the Supreme Court who will rule according to original intent of the Constitution, who will not engage in making laws, who will protect our Second Amendment rights, Trey Gowdy as the no compromising Attorney General, who, in contrast to Obama’s lying, cheating Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, will actually promote justice and not personal plans. But Hillary will appoint those who will continue abortion, the murder of babies, the destruction of the family with more LGBT rulings, will effectively take away our Second Amendment rights of self-protection, will tax and spend, AND continue persecution of Christians in the USA and worldwide. Indeed, Hillary has said that she will continue Obama’s agenda. What in the world is the matter with us that we would rather have the devil than one who is flawed? Recall what St. Paul said about his own life:

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. (Rom. 7:15-16 NKJ)

Yet, Jesus still used Paul!

Or, how about this objection:

  • “Christians can vote for Trump, but they can’t do it in the name of Christianity.” How silly; then whose name do they invoke if not the Triune God’s name? Is there some neutral, moral territory in the world? I think not, for Jesus is King of kings and everything is His, right now. Voting for Trump is morally a good choice.

Some Christians seemed to be saying that if they cannot get an uncompromising Christian in office, then they will help to put in office a Triune God hating anti-christ, who will murder babies, destroy the families, attack Christians and the Church. What is wrong with us?

Yes, indeed, it is a matter of the lesser of two evils, and I will honor Christ by voting for lesser Trump.

AMEN. Ω

Did Adam lose the world to the devil?

(c) Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D. 2016

Some misguided Christians today think that Satan is now the ruler of this world, and that it is not for Christians to have dominion on earth. Perhaps that could be possible when Jesus returns, but not now. They cite such passages as Satan is the “god of this world.” Yet the expression that Satan is the “god of this world” does not mean he is lord of lords, but that he is the god of this world in the sense that many worship him—not that he is almighty. His work is primarily in blinding the minds of people to the Gospel (2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19), but even that blindness is stripped away when the mighty grace of Jesus brings one to belief in Himself (Matt. 11:27; Acts 13:48; 16:14; Phil. 1:29).

Furthermore, that Satan is called by the Lord Jesus “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30) does not mean that there is not a Ruler above him, Who is Ruler of the universe and the Ruler of all rulers. Because there is a governor of Tennessee, do we conclude that there is not also a President of the United States who has greater authority than the governor? Besides, the Lord also stated: “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). What else does the expression “Lord of lords” mean except that Jesus is the ultimate Ruler and that NOW?

And was it not true that during the temptation when Jesus commanded Satan to leave Him in Matthew 4:10-11 that Satan did so immediately without a word? Did not the demons obey the Lord every time He commanded them and without hesitation? Where do the health and wealth people get the idea that Satan owns this world? Here is how Frederick K. C. Price reasons.[1] God gave Adam dominion over the earth. This dominion was a legal dominion, much like we would deed someone property. The earth was deeded to Adam by God; it was his [Adam’s] to do with as he pleased. This dominion included not only the animals but also the mineral rights so that he owned all the gold, silver, diamonds, oil, and so forth. When Adam sinned, he gave his property to Satan, and God no longer had a legal right to the earth. Now the planet is Satan’s, and even God must honor this agreement. Redeemed man can reclaim his original inheritance and be rich. Capps agrees: “It’s illegal for God to come to earth and destroy the work of the devil with His divine Godhead powers.”[2]

Yet the truth is that though Adam came under Satan’s dominion to some extent, primarily Adam was under God’s curse for sinning. God never indicated that the land or earth at that time was not His. Indeed, He cursed it to bring forth thorns, but he never gave it up. Kenneth Hagin says: “If God is running everything, He does have things in a mess.”[3] Fred Price is even more blatant:

“God can’t legally do anything in this earth realm except what we allow Him to do.” He also says, “God does not have physical possession of the earth, Satan does,” and “If God came here, He would be arrested as a trespasser.” Price goes on to condition his audience to accept these blasphemies with such statements as these:

“Evangelicals consider this heresy, and they would never say this.” “Tradition and theology reject this.” “I hope you don’t think God is running this world, evangelicals think that.” “If this is an example of how God runs things, I don’t want to go to heaven.” They distance themselves from the evangelical community with such statements (“we” versus the “evangelicals”), thereby separating themselves from the body of Christ, and establishing themselves as a cult.

Price uses two other passages to promote the idea that the world is Satan’s: Luke 4:1-8 and Matthew 9:35-38. The major passage for Price is: “And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish’” (Luke 4:6).

Our first response must be that Satan is a liar (John 8:44). Price says that Satan is telling the truth since Jesus did not rebuke him, which is also a common dispensational argument from this passage. But it is an argument from silence that leads Price to the deafening conclusion that Satan was for once telling the truth. But even if the Lord had not answered the devil, the inference is not valid. In the most elementary logic class one learns that he can conclude anything or nothing from what is not stated. But the Lord did answer Satan: “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (v. 8). The Lord answered the real point behind Satan’s pseudo-offer: worship reveals Who the real God is, and we are to worship the Triune God only. If the Lord had said the kingdoms did not belong to Satan, He would not have been confronting the point of the offer, admitting perhaps he was right. Observe also that Satan instantly obeyed the Lord when He commanded him to leave, which showed Who was really in authority.

Secondly, God the Father made the same offer to Christ. Psalm 2 is a Messianic Psalm, using the name “Messiah” in verse two (sometimes translated “anointed”) and the word “Son” in verse twelve. In verse seven the Son quotes the Father:

“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’”

This verse is quoted several times in the New Testament of the resurrection of Jesus. The Father raised Him from the dead, and, to the consternation of the nations (vv. 1-3), He made Jesus King of kings. In other words, even though the nations did not want Him ruling over them, and even though they sought to cast off His “bonds” (vv. 1-3; bonds=His law, see Jer. 2:20; 5:5), the Father laughed and made Him King over them anyway. In light of this, the Father says to His only Son: “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession” (v. 8).

Now who has made the genuine offer of the world to Jesus, the Father or Satan? Who is the liar, God the Father or the devil? Who really owns the world and could offer it to Jesus, the Father or Satan? In the verses that follow the Father’s offer, it is obvious that the Son did ask and the Father gave Him the nations, for He shall rule them with a rod of iron (v. 9), and the rulers must repent (vv. 10, 11) or perish under the Son’s wrath (v. 12). The Lord Jesus emphatically stated that “all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” at the resurrection (Matt. 28:18; see also Dan. 7:14).24 Of course, all these things are speaking of Christ in His Messianic office, not in His essence. In His essence as God, He has always had dominion over the earth (Ps. 24:1).

We Christians have already won, now let’s face down our ancient foe in the NAME of our eternal Savior who rules by omnipotent power not only inherent in Himself but also inherent in the words of the Gospel. AMEN.

[1] 04/27/92 broadcast, WPTY-TV Memphis, TN, 12 p. m.

[2] Charles Capps, God’s Image of You (Tulsa: Harrison House, 1985), p. 50.

[3] Kenneth E. Hagin, The Interceding Christian (Tulsa: Faith Publication Library, 1991), p. 13

God’s Persevering Grace

(The Rev. Dr. Curtis Crenshaw, Th.D.)

“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6 NKJ)

Several years ago I had a discussion with someone who was ready to give up on the Christian life, saying it was too difficult, that it seemed that the Triune God did not care. In our frenetic speed of life,[1] we sometimes forget that God is persevering with us more than we are with Him. God finishes what He begins, unlike us. If He did not, we would never make it to heaven. As humans, you and I are always beginning things that we never seem to find time to finish. But consider God’s matchless grace in Philippians 1:6, that what He begins He finishes: “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Look at the butterfly wing—was it begun and not finished? Look at the woodpecker—was its specialized bill not finished? Look at the atom—was it a partial work? Look at the moon—is it a work abandoned? Are the tides out of control? Look at yourself, the apex of God’s creation—will you be thrown away after the work was begun? God works by a plan. He begins a work of grace in us, not as an experiment to see if we and He can make it together, but that He may complete His design in and for us. Can you imagine an architect who begins a project without plans, just going along to see how things work out? (Of course, non-Christians have no future except the judgment. Our appointment would be the same if God the Father had not chosen us to be His: Eph. 1:3-4.).

If the Triune God began a work in us but did not finish it, who would lose more, God or us? It would definitely be God, for then He would be known as a failure. Others could say that God just could not handle it, that He gave it His best effort but finally gave up on us, that we were just too much for Him, that our sins were more than He could overcome in us. But that would nullify the cross, that God the Father could not bring justice and mercy together, yet that is precisely what Romans 3:26 says He did; namely, that He was both just in His judgment and the justifier of sinners:

“to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

That is my favorite verse, and quite contrary to Islam. The verse says that God the Father was just in putting to death His Son but also quite merciful toward us. In other words, we deserved eternal death for our sins, but the Father is just so He offered One to take that judgment, even JESUS, the final solution for us, who volunteered to be our substitute. Moreover, the Father is merciful so He extended His mercy to us through the Son. Thus at the cross, God was both just and the justifier of us sinners. If He failed in this endeavor, He would not be God.

Islam, on the other hand, has a god who can’t be both just and justifier. Muslims say Allah does not require payment to show mercy but just hands out mercy. Thus, their god is compromised. But the Triune God, in the same act, the cross, demonstrates both justice and justification (mercy). My only hope in life and in death is the cross of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Moreover, according to Paul here in Philippians 1:6, who initiated the work in you, you or God? God! And if God did, will He decide against it later? As one man expressed it in a hymn:

  • “I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
  • “He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me;
  • “It was not I that found [Thee], O Savior true;
  • “No, I was found [by] Thee.”

And is it not true that we love Him because He first loved us?

“We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NKJ).

Notice, by the way, that most modern translations of this verse leave out the word “Him.” It is true of course that we cannot love anything without Him, but that is not the point John is making. Rather, he wants us to know that our love for the Triune God was not first, was not the cause of Him reciprocating His love back to us. No, indeed, God’s love initiates and we reciprocate. We are not masters of the sovereign King’s grace to use as we wish; we do not make Him “fall in love” (I hate that expression) with us because we are so lovely, and He could not help Himself. Our loveliness did not overwhelm Him, because we have none.  His love and grace are initial and ours responsive, for it was He who began the work in us, not we in Him!

And how do we know that God has begun a work in us? We can tell by our obedience, by the love we have for God, mankind, God’s Bible, by our faithful attendance at worship on the Lord’s Day, reading His word, the Bible, partaking of Holy Communion, praying, and so on. Faith, hope, and love will be the hallmarks of our lives.

Let me give you a good example. Years ago I led a man to Christ who was only 18 years old. He mouthed some words, good words, but I wondered how committed he was to them. He was very much in love with a young lady, but she was not a Christian. When I told him and showed him from the Bible that God did not allow a believer to marry an unbeliever, he paused for a long time and said with tears in his eyes: “If that’s what God says, that’s what I’ll do.” His life has revealed the same commitment for decades. More than anything else, one’s obedience to God reveals whether there has been true conversion or not, but our obedience does not merit our acceptance with God:

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:3-4 NKJ).

And do you know why it is God who first seeks us, and why we are responsive to Him, why it is that He saves us in this way? One reason is so that we cannot boast (see Ephesians 2:8-10). We’ll never be able to say that God did 99%, but if it were not for the 1% I did, I would never have made it to heaven.

Let us rejoice that for all those who trust in the death and righteousness of Christ for forgiveness of sins, our Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, has taken charge of our salvation, that our sins are forgiven, that His Name and reputation are on the line, and that by His persevering grace, we shall make it home! AMEN.

PS:

(Just for the record, the word “him” is widely supported in many—if not the majority—of manuscripts. Here are some of those manuscripts: ‎‎  א 048 33 81 436 1067 Augustine Byz Lect etc. Here is why “Him” was left out of most modern versions as stated by modern critics of our NT: “Feeling the need of an accusative object after the verb . . . some copyists added Him.” How, in the name of all that is rational, can one get inside a copyist head to know he would “feel”? I call that subjective nonsense. Moreover, I can’t imagine why we would give our New Testament to unbelievers to determine what should compose it. As the 39 Articles states, “the Church [is] a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ”, Article XX). The Church, not unbelievers, should be in charge of our most precious deposit, the written word of God. Part of the problem today with so many versions is that we’ve given our most precious heritage to those who hate the Author. Publishing houses who translate and sell Bibles for money have control over the text and its translation, but that is the Church’s bailiwick. Barth Ehrman, who writes a lot in the area of textual criticism (what should be in the New Testament Greek) is an avowed atheist. I’ve read his books closely; they are full of subjective theories as the one I just quoted. More on this to come.)

 

[1] Our lack of time for anything significant is part of God’s judgment. In our refusal to obey His Sabbath, He is taking away time by rubbing our noses in so many details that we don’t have time for family or for Him. We run around doing nothing and think we are accomplishing something. We are self-deceived.