This world is not the way it was meant to be. For God’s people, it is a hostile environment. For all people, it is an alien environment.
In the beginning, when God created the world, it was the perfect environment for every creature. He gave our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, pride of place within it and placed them in authority over every other creature. God’s perfect couple ruled God’s perfect world, under His authority.
That’s the way it was …until that terrible day when the world’s first rulers rejected God’s authority and became the world’s first rebels.
From the moment they disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve lost everything. The devil had enticed them with the promise that they would become “like God, knowing good and evil”. Instead, they became alienated from God and subject to the power of evil.
…the world’s first rulers rejected God’s authority and became the world’s first rebels.
That was a tragedy for Adam and Eve – but a catastrophe for God and the flawless Creation He had entrusted to them. For when Adam and Eve fell into Satan’s hands, they took the entire Creation with them. They and the world they had ruled, sank into corruption and decay.
From that point on, God’s world became Satan’s domain – and he whom Jesus called ‘the prince of this world’ has ruled it ruthlessly and destructively ever since.
Why does God allow such an awful state of affairs to continue? Simply because, of all His creatures, He has made us in His image and uniquely given us the power of free will – which He is bound to honour, even when it breaks His heart. All-powerful though He is, and despite His longing for a free and loving relationship with each of us, God will not overrule the human will.
Even after sending His own son to destroy the works of the devil and to make a way for all people to be in relationship with Him, God must still leave it in the hands of each individual to either accept His gift of life and liberty, or reject it.
So it is not God who allows this state of affairs to continue. It is us – Adam’s descendants upon whose choices it all depends! Satan’s rule in this world arose out of Adam’s choice against God, but Jesus has made it possible for each person to freely choose for God and to break free from the devil’s power.
All-powerful though He is, and despite His longing for a free and loving relationship with each of us, God will not overrule the human will.
God’s enemy knows this, and despite the apparent hold he has on this world and its people, he is beset with the insecurity of all who seize what is not theirs by right. Satan is dogged by the constant knowledge that, however hard he works at enslaving the people of this world, each and every one of them is still only one choice away from rejecting him and turning back to the God who loves them.
That is an incredibly powerful choice. Powerful enough to not only break the devil’s hold over the lives of individuals, but also to liberate this entire world and its people from his dominion. This, above all, is something God’s enemy does not want you to know.
Even if you have personally experienced the power of Jesus to set you free, the devil wants you to believe that he is still the one who has the upper hand in this world. He loves it when God’s people maintain the common perception that, at best, they will always be a minority – largely ineffective and always on the defensive. He is not threatened by the Christian religion and its institutions, so long as he still gets to rule the world.
But God is still God, and when He speaks the Universe changes. That’s how it was in the Beginning when the most amazing phenomena took place at His word. “…the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
Nothing in all of God’s creation can resist His command …except the human will! Yet whenever ordinary people freely and willingly obey Him, the greatest things of all take place. Things more wonderful and more powerful than any of God’s ‘solo’ acts in the Beginning. Why? Because they are expressions not only of God alone but of His relationship with us, His beloved. As Jesus said to His disciples: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”
God’s glory is seen at its greatest, not in the incredible physical phenomena around us and throughout the Universe – all of which point to Him – but in and through His relationship with people like you and me.
…whenever ordinary people freely and willingly obey Him, the greatest things of all take place.
Unlike Adam, who disobeyed God, Jesus’ commitment to His Father was uncompromising: “I come to do your will”. Not only did Jesus speak those words, He lived them – all the way to the Cross. Even as He faced that agonising death in all its awfulness, He was still resolute: “…not my will, but yours be done.” He did not have to do God’s will. He chose to do it. So, in stark contrast to the catastrophe that resulted from Adam’s disobedience, the obedience of Jesus has opened the way for all people to once more be God’s people …but only by their choice.
That usurper Satan, who has set himself up as ‘the Prince of this world,’ is powerless against us when we open our hearts to Jesus and willingly submit ourselves to God. Do that and you will be amazed at what He will accomplish in and through your life. If we allow God’s Spirit to unite us in love and faith, we will be even more amazed at what He can do through an entire people who are truly His people.
That’s what was in the heart of Jesus when He urged His disciples to pray: “…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The apostle Paul described the entire Creation as being like a woman groaning in the pangs of labour, as it longs to be set free from the “bondage to decay” that came upon it when Adam took it with him into the devil’s realm. But that long, agonising labour – which will result in God getting back His world and His people – will not come to its conclusion until “the revealing of the sons of God”.
Who are these sons of God? They are the ones He is now gathering from around the world to represent Him in the world. People like you and me who lovingly submit themselves to God, and say with Jesus : “I come to do your will.”
When God’s true sons are finally revealed in this world, then the disastrous effects of Adam’s fall will be reversed, the Creation will be set free, and God’s will shall be done here on Earth, as truly and as perfectly as it is in Heaven.
Then the triumphant words of the angel in the book of Revelation will come to pass: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever.”