Exchange of Sovereignties (Part 3 of 3)

Click here for part one and two of this series about the our allegiance to the Creator King.

Lest we forget, claiming Jesus as our Lord and King goes beyond giving him priority over our country, religion, and holy book. There is a very real, albeit unseen, transfer of allegiance that happens when we bow our knees to the Risen King and call upon him to rescue us (e.g. Romans 10:9-13, Colossians 1:12-13). At that precise moment in time we are “delivered from Satan’s kingdom and catapulted into the kingdom of God.”[1] No longer are we bound by the chains of sin, addictions, pain, sorrow, death, and evil. We are now children of the Living God, joint heirs with Jesus the Messiah (e.g. Romans 8:17, Galatians 4:4-7).

                Though unseen, and sometimes even unfelt, this spiritual exchange of sovereignties is at the core of the good news of Jesus. Throughout the Scriptures there is a paradox where the Creator God is described as both the current King and the coming King of the world. This paradox is set against the backdrop of a battle being raged across the visible and invisible dimensions of creation between the forces of evil and the Lord Almighty. Though the origin of this war is shrouded in mystery with the Scriptures being silent on the details that we so desperately crave, the biblical authors understood that fighting against “such things as injustice, oppression, greed, and apathy toward the needy was to participate directly or indirectly in a cosmic war that had engulfed the earth.”[2]

Photo by Ricky Turner

                Accordingly, the choice to follow Jesus is also a choice not to follow the ways of the evil one.  Hence the early followers of Jesus understood that the “one who professed in response to the gospel, ‘I believe,’ was the one who said simultaneously: ‘I renounce you Satan, your pomp, your service, your works’ (Chrysostom); ‘I renounce the devil and his work, this age and its pleasure’ (Ambrose).”[3] Theologian and pastor Don Williams elaborates on this exchange of sovereignties in declaring that:

To say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ means to renounce all other lords. No ideology, political philosophy, drug or person can have a higher claim on our lives. All our idols must be pulled down, repented of and crushed at Jesus’ feet. The idols of pride, power, control, self-medication, family, friends, illicit sex, internet pornography, legalism, self-righteousness, mind-altering meditation, witchcraft, magic, cults, gambling, work, self-advancement, children, health, and security in old age must go. Anything that takes the place of Jesus in our hearts, in our passions and in our devotion is an idol. As Elijah the prophet said to the nation of Israel, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him’ (1 Kings 18:21). God has called us and revealed Jesus as Lord to us. Follow Him![4]


Endnotes

[1] Don Williams, Start Here: Kingdom Essentials for Christians (Ventura, California: Regal, 2006), 7.

[2] Gregory A. Boyd, God At War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 14.

[3] Paul R. Hinlicky, Beloved Community: Critical Dogmatics after Christendom (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015), 221.

[4] Don Williams, Start Here, 16-17.

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