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and the culture is being educated in public, godless, government schools not to listen to us, that Christianity is an outdated religion that has a very fallible book full of mistakes and errors.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)

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

Our Lion

We’ve all heard the hymn: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”. This time of the year (as well as the whole liturgical year), reminds us of Hebrews 10:9-13:

9 Then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.He takes away the first [covenant] that He may establish the second [covenant]. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”  (Heb. 10:9-14 NKJ)

Some years ago I heard a Roman Catholic Priest from Rome, Italy, testify to a group of Protestant ministers say something like this, after hearing that passage read in their worship service: “If that is in the Bible, we just got put out of business.” Three times Hebrews emphasizes the finality of the death of Jesus. (See the bold print above.)

One of the things that separates us from Rome is these verses from Hebrews 10, where not only the necessity but also the sufficiency of His completed work on the Cross is given. In these trying times, we are tempted to want to bail out of the Christian life. The Middle East is a powder keg, hundreds of thousands of Christians are being murdered, young girls raped to death as their parents are forced to watch, liberalism is destroying our country from the inside as “laws” are passed by the Supreme Court promoting the murder of the unborn (Roe v. Wade in January 1973), the states try to make laws more difficult for the baby killers (and sometimes we win, such as Texas in recent years), Marijuana has become legal, wholesale theft through terrible tax laws and health laws, the Supreme Court continues to destroy the families with its LGBT “laws.” We are tempted to give up, throw up our hands and say something like, “We know things must get worse before the Lord returns.” Really? What do the verses above in quotes say?

The Lion is not defeated but delivers to His Father a conquered kingdom (1 Cor. 15:22-26). The Gospel is not defeated, but heaven and earth belong to Him and us (Matt. 28:18-20). The Lion crushes the head of the serpent and so do we (Rom. 16:20). The Lion rules and so do we (Rev. 2:26-29). We must stop bearing fearful, for the fear of man is a snare; the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7; 29:25). The Lord is getting things arranged, disciplining a recalcitrant Church, so when suffering comes, we’ll win by His sovereign grace, His sovereign Gospel, and His sovereign judgments that He is bringing on the world.

We have victory not only in His “once for all” death on the cross but also in His bodily resurrection (also once for all), and in His ascension and thus enthronement. But also in these dark times of our world, or in these light times of opportunity, we must make Him known. We need to be reminded who rules and why—Jesus rules BECAUSE of His victorious death, punctuated by His bodily resurrection, as His trickle down kingdom has been forming a tsunami through His gospel to envelop the world. He is not the meek, weak, milquetoast kitty cat who meows (click it) and crawls back to his lair with His tail between His legs, but the LION (click it) of the tribe of Judah, who roars with majesty, sovereignty, and power such that the earth trembles under His omnipotent breath. As C. S. Lewis put it, “He is not a tame lion”. Indeed, sir. Let us bow willingly now or by force later to the glory of the Father. The choice is His. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LION’S ROAR:

Outstanding poem, as usual. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”. It is a joy to read your poems, especially this one, that gives us not only the necessity but also the sufficiency of His completed work on the Cross, in His bodily resurrection (also once for all), and His ascension and thus enthronement. In these dark times of our world, or also, in these times light times of opportunity to make Him known, we need to be reminded who rules and why–Jesus rules BECAUSE of His victorious death, punctuated by His bodily resurrection, as His trickle down kingdom forms a tsunami through His gospel to envelop the world. He is not the meek, weak, milquetoast kitty cat who meows and crawls back to his lair with His tail between His legs, but the LION  of the tribe of Judah, who roars with majesty, sovereignty, and power such that the earth trembles under His omnipotent breath. As C. S. Lewis put it, “He is not a tame lion”. Indeed, sir. Let us bow willingly now or by force later to the glory of the Father. The choice is His. Amen.

The Sovereignty of God Guarantees My Safety

SovGod_WorldInHands

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance,

being predestined according to the purpose of Him

who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11 NKJ)

(© Curtis I. Crenshaw 1 October 2015)

Time to make you mad.

If you want to know why people hate Christianity, there are several reasons: their favorite sins are condemned; God—not them—is sovereign; the Holy Trinity does not make sense to them; they hate the atonement; they hate that Jesus is the only way to God, and other matters. But it is especially because we preach a sovereign God (the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit) who will judge everyone at the Last Day that they despise with zeal. If you want to know what everyone guards with enmity, it is their “free will” (whatever that is). If you want to know what god people will worship, it is the one who will let them be “master of their fate and captain of their soul,” as Henley (1849-1903) said in his horrible poem, Invictus, which is often quoted by graduates who speak at their graduations, thinking they determine their own future fates. Have you noticed that unbelievers will create a god after their own image who just happens to smile on their favorite sins?

People want to qualify Him, to pretend He can be controlled, so that the sovereignty of God has been dying a slow death of a 1,000 qualifications, or so they think. What is protected and not qualified is the alleged sovereignty of man, but it is only in the sovereignty of God that we have hope, peace, and comfort. If God is not sovereign over our circumstances, but we are, then we can be defeated, Satan can crush us, and there is no security for tomorrow, just more chance and chaos. Indeed, if we are sovereign, then which one of us is really sovereign over all others, for if all are sovereign, then you are my enemy. Is that not what we see in politics–each party, each committee, each politician, trying to out-maneuver the others with lies, schemes, and deception, and the devil seeking to bring havoc on His elect often through them.

There are two tenses that should be noted in the above quoted verses: “being predestined,” past tense, done, over, blueprint printed, no creature consulted; “who works all things,” plan now being executed, no creature given to thwart His proceedings, our salvation is secure. Over the years I’ve tried to rid myself of a common expression: “Let God.” How many times do I hear a Christian on the radio that all we need to do is “let God” do something because He has done all He can. Now we are in charge. I beg to differ. The Church begs to differ. The Bible begs to differ.

Our so-called “free will” does not hinder the work of God, does not change His blueprint, past or present. Once a lady called me at home because she was very upset that I did not believe in “free will.” I asked her if the unbeliever’s will was free from our indwelling sin (Mark 7:19-23), to which she correctly answered No. I asked her if the unbeliever’s will was free from the devil, to which again she correctly said No (2 Timothy 2:26). I asked her if the unbeliever’s will was free from the controlling power of the world (1 John 2:15-17), to which again she rightly said No. Now there was only one logical conclusion: man’s will is not free. Then I asked, “What is the unconverted person’s will free from,” to which she floored me with, “It is free from God!” Then I in expiration I said: if his will is enslaved to the flesh, to the devil and to the world, how can anyone become a Christian?” to which she said, “I don’t know; that is God’s problem.” To which I said, “That means God is sovereign!”

No military enemy, no terrorist plot, no college professor who delights in deceiving youthful minds to embrace the devil and his immorality, no two-faced politicians who speak with forked tongue, no conspiracy theorists—nothing, can thwart the predestined plan of the Sovereign Triune God.

In Ephesians one, we see why each Person of the Holy Trinity did His part: each one to His own glory. See the underlined words:

THE FATHER (before the foundation of the world; completed His blueprint):

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:3-6).

 

THE SON (two thousand years ago; completed His cross-work)

7 In Him [Son] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. . . . hat we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:7-8, 12 NKJ)

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT (ongoing as He applies the merits of the Son to us):

that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13-14 NKJ)

Notice that the underlined words in each stanza reveals why the Holy Trinity does what He does: the Father chose us, the Son redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit applies to us . . . each for His glory. His glory will not be stopped.

 

Before the world was created, God the Father chose His elect. His predestination work was done. Two thousand years ago God the Son redeemed us on the cross. His work was done. Now the Holy Spirit is sanctifying us; His work continues. They work as One so that those the Father chose will certainly be saved; those for whom the Son effectually died, cannot possibly be condemned; those for whom the Holy Spirit applies His merits, must persevere in faith and holiness (Phil. 2:12-13).

I feel like a newborn babe in his father’s arms, all snuggly warm in a blanket, looking at him looking back at me with a big smile, daring anything to harm me. Now from Romans 8:

FATHER:

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

SON:

34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

 

HOLY SPIRIT:

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God [Father] which is in Christ Jesus [Son] our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39 NKJ)

What does the devil do?

10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Revelation 12:9-12 NKJ)

 

Bottom line:

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18 NKJ)

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 NKJ)

Jesus’ earthly policy: They lose, we win.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore . . .” (Matthew 28:18 NKJ)

End of story.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. AMEN.