The following is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book, BIBLICAL HEADSHIP: Making Sense Of Submission To Authority. Follow this link to obtain your copy of BIBLICAL HEADSHIP today.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10–12 KJV).
There’s a war that rages between the satanic forces of darkness and the children of light, those who are the sons of God. It is a struggle for control, a cosmic wrestling match that engages all the unseen forces of heaven and earth, as well as you and me.
In many regions of the world, Satan seems to have the upper hand. We see this in false religions, in cults and cultic practices, and in the rampant spread of wickedness and violence. We know from Scripture that wickedness is multiplied and amplified by the influence and activity of spiritual forces of darkness.
The book of Daniel reveals that entire countries can be under the malevolent domination of the Devil (see Daniel 10). One demonic stronghold or principality can hold millions of people in bondage. One lie, one deception can keep millions of people blind to the truth of the gospel. Deception is the way Satan maintains control. But that is not the end of the story. If it were, the whole creation would be a disaster.
Even before mankind fell into sin, God had a plan to restore His creation and redeem His created image. He had a way to ensure man’s sin would be removed and his blindness turned to sight. He would restore His government in the earth and that brings us to the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
After Adam’s fall, mankind was unable to extend God’s rule. Man was bound by sin. In fact, under Satan’s influence, humanity grew incredibly wicked, so much so God decided to destroy all that He had created. He brought a great flood (see Genesis 6) and destroyed all but eight people. Noah had the opportunity to restore God’s rule but failed.
God called Abram (see Genesis 12), changed his name to Abraham, and promised to make him a great nation. He did, through Abraham’s grandson Jacob, who was renamed Israel. God wanted Israel to be a nation of priests (Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 61:6) and thereby extend His rule on the earth (Psalm 33:12; Psalm 105:8; et. al.), but they also failed. They went after false gods and perverted their ways. To correct them, God allowed them to be taken into bondage over and over again.
Throughout the Old Testament are numerous examples of men who were close to God. They could hear from God and were able to exercise dominion in a measure for a season. But no one was capable of restoring the government of God because they were all the offspring of the seed of Adam. They all had the nature of sin in them and were enslaved under the domination of Satan.
God never let Israel forget He had a plan, though. Through prophets, He told them of a coming Messiah—an Anointed One—who would deliver them completely. The prophet Isaiah, some six or seven hundred years in advance, grew very specific about the Deliverer to come. During a time when Israel was in captivity in Assyria, this man was given one of the most exacting prophecies ever recorded regarding the coming Messiah.
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign, Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Emmanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 NASB)
Isaiah prophesied the virgin birth of God’s Son, the incarnation or “in flesh appearance” of God. He identified that son as Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” And two chapters later the prophecy grows even more specific.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government… (Isaiah 9:6–7 NASB)
You can almost hear him ask, “Can you grasp this promise?” The Son of God is coming to implement the rule of God. He will restore the government of God in all its fullness on the earth. His name will define his role, and He will be called the Prince of Peace. Peace will come through His government. He is to be born of a virgin mother with no trace of the seed of Adam or of sin. The seed of disobedience is not His to bear. He is not subject to the nature of sin.
What an amazing prophecy! What an amazing promise! But there is more. Isaiah goes on with this prophecy stating that He (the Messiah) will be authoritatively seated:
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7 NASB)
The government of God will be restored. The Son of the Most High God will be the ruler, and His government will never end. You can be certain this will happen, because God is on fire about this. His zeal will perform this. It is His passion, His unwavering determination to do this.
When the Bible speaks of zeal, it is indicating passion. God has a passion to see His government restored in full measure. He is zealous to see His kingdom established and renowned on the earth. His kingdom will benefit mankind. His rule is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Under His rule, man can enjoy the environment God intended for him to live in: not independently of God, but in relationship with God. No longer must man reach for position, usurping the will of God. He can become the willing subordinate to God as a delegated representative of God’s power, where he’s supposed to be!
So God sent Jesus with that purpose in mind. He sent Jesus as a man, born without sin, not subject to Satan’s domination. Every man from Adam to Jesus had been subject to that rule. Every other man could be overthrown, but Jesus was not born of Adam’s seed. He did not have Adam’s DNA. (When this account was written, science had not discovered deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic structure of all living things.) Jesus’ DNA was implanted in Mary’s womb and joined with hers. Thus, He was born free from the curse and free from sin. Not only was He born free, He lived in perfect freedom as well.
Now here’s the amazing thing. We’re as free in Christ as Jesus Himself was free when He was on earth, because He wasn’t born of Adam’s race. When we were born again, that new birth was not a part of Adam’s race. We were delivered from the power of darkness and translated (repositioned) in the kingdom of His dear Son (see Colossians 1:13 NKJV). Born free, we must now have our minds renewed. Walking in freedom requires us to walk in obedience. He said, “If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples” (John 8:31 AB).
Jesus made a differentiation between believers and disciples. He did not promise freedom to people who just believed in Him. He promised freedom to the people who followed Him. The experience of freedom, of truly being disciples, requires us to continue in obedience. Obedience is the mark of a renewed mind—a transformed mind. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2 KJV).
Transformation is not just a single event. It is a process that grows larger and larger with the renewing of your mind. It begins at the moment you come under conviction and recognize you are without Christ. When you receive Jesus Christ and His redemptive work, you are born again. As you continue in your walk with God and act on the Gospel, your “inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV).
In the new birth, we’re born free, and the candle of the Lord, a revealing light, is lit. “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord” (Proverbs 20:27 KJV). The lamp is lit, but our minds are not yet completely renewed. One could compare this to the parable in chapter 11 of Luke’s gospel (vv. 33– 36). Having an unrenewed mind is like having a bushel basket covering the candle of the Lord. The light does not penetrate, and the person does not live in real freedom even though he or she has been saved.
Transformation is what occurs when a person walks in obedience to the Word of God. He gains knowledge (actualized experience), his mind is changed (renewed), and he walks in truth. “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31 AB).
You cannot act on truth you do not know. But when you become aware of the truth, you discover what God has done for you in Christ. You realize He’s already set you free, and you have a decision to make and live by. You must be willing to live in freedom. You must choose to live a transformed life with a renewed mind. Being conscious of the truth is of little value if you are unwilling to act on it. Freedom comes from knowledge, not information, and knowledge is actualized experience. You are only renewed in your mind to the degree you obey the truth, and your transformation is only as complete as you let it be.
What you just read is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book, BIBLICAL HEADSHIP: Making Sense Of Submission To Authority. Follow this link to obtain your copy of BIBLICAL HEADSHIP today.