The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

The Whole World Under the Sway of Satan

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. (I Jn. 5:19)

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

The kingdoms of this world have a glory, and they are all under the sway of the wicked one. They elevate man, man’s desires, and man’s power. Whether they are socialist, Islamic, democratic, or something else, they hate God and war against Him, competing with Him for the loyalty of souls. They love death, oppression, and material things. The freedom they claim to offer men is a false freedom. These thrones of iniquity, which devise evil by law, have no fellowship with God (Psa. 94:20-21). Every nation that forgets Him, and refuses to kiss the Son, is turned into hell (Psa. 2, 9:17; Isa. 14:9).

We can be given temporary power in the world’s kingdoms by worshiping the devil. Worshiping the devil takes many forms, and most of them do not involve burning candles or black magic. All we have to do is follow his many servants and love this present world to worship him. Many entertainment stars have gone on record as saying they’ve sold their souls to the devil, or they know the devil is controlling them and helping them to be popular. Many of satan’s children are leading the apostate church, masquerading as angels of light, and leading people to worship the beast. But of course, they claim to be doing God service. Political players who directly serve the beast always claim to be working for peace even as they destroy, but patient believers will eventually see all the pomp and glory of earthly kingdoms come to nothing. The drowning of the Egyptian army while Israel looked on (unarmed) is a wonderful picture of this. The meek shall inherit the earth.

Ancient Israel allowed itself to be swayed by the god of this world, when that nation demanded a king “like all the nations” had. The Lord told Samuel that in asking for an earthly king, they had rejected Him, that He should not reign over them. (I Sam. 8:4-22) Jesus repeated this theme in Luke 19:11-27, teaching that those who rejected His rule would be slain before Him. Nevertheless, when given the choice between their righteous King and the murderous patriot Barabbas, the people chose against their heavenly King once again, even shouting, “We have no king but Caesar!” (Jn. 19:12, 15)

However the heavenly King could not be defeated even by the co-operation of Jews and Gentiles to kill Him. In His very death, He “disarmed principalities and powers,” and “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15) The King is on His throne forever; let all the earth fear Him and give Him glory.

God uses the kingdoms of this world, and allows them to have power, just as He allows satan to go about roaring like a lion, seeking whom he can devour. They are vessels of wood and clay, vessels of dishonor. They have not been cleansed and prepared for “every good work,” but God will use them (2 Tim. 2:20-21) as He tests the hearts of men. He will use one nation to punish another, and then punish the punishing nation. The motives of every heart will be manifest, and every soul will receive according to his works.

Jesus told Pilate, who boasted of his power,

“You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (Jn. 19:11)

Whatever satan is allowed to do, he answers to God. Remember Job, and how God told satan the exact boundaries in which he could operate. Satan, in turn, gives power to his servants–those who do the lusts of their father, who was a murderer and liar from the beginning. We know that God has allowed peace to be taken from this wicked earth, and a sword has been given by which ungodly men kill one another (Rev. 6:4).

At the same time, we know that the people of God are people who pursue holiness and peace with all men. They have been delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son (Col. 1:13). They are divinely protected from spiritual harm–even as they are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake–for their King cares for them. They do not fall in line behind the devil, who holds the world under his sway. A stranger’s voice, they will not hear. They do not take up his carnal sword against flesh and blood; they wield the Sword of the Spirit against lies. They understand that the power of kingdoms is temporary, and men have power to kill the body, but only God can destroy the soul. Their eyes behold the next life, and their hearts trust in the One who is their Life. Whether they live or die, they are His.

Men who reject the King of the world must and will be ruled. If they will not be ruled by the good and loving King, they will be ruled by tyrants and despots and crafty politicians who fight each other even while they all bow to the same god. They will be ruled by their own lusts, snapping up every baited hook offered by satan, until they are ruined. The freedom of choice God has given man has boundaries. And when men insist on crossing the boundaries, massive chaos and destruction results. Sowing and reaping are built into the fabric of the universe, and judgment for sin is inescapable. This is what we are seeing in the world today; the destruction is swallowing up the whole earth. This must continue until the end, but he that endures all things for Christ to the end will be saved.

There is one Hope offered, a solitary way of escape from this City of Destruction: Repent of your sins and trust completely in Jesus Christ. Follow and obey Him to the very end of this life. Those who do this will overcome the world and inherit all things (Rev. 21:7).

God bless you!

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