Ponder this verse. Almighty God is the Creator of all things and all people (Genesis, chapter 1). The heavens and the earth are His. Every person who ever lived on the earth is His, from Adam and Eve to you and me today.
There are no exceptions! Everyone belongs to God. I speak of “my wife,” and that is not wrong in the sense of describing how we are related to one another. But first and foremost she belongs to God. He alone is her Creator, her Lord, the one to Whom she belongs.
It’s the same for our children. My wife and I speak of “our children.” And again, that is an accurate way to describe their unique relationship to us. But they don’t “belong” to us. They belong to God, who says clearly, “Everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me.” When we Dads and Moms understand this, we realize that our children are a sacred trust that God, their Owner-Lord, has blessed us with for a time on this earth. But now and forever they are His! That should impart strong motivation to us parents to raise our children to know, love, and serve God, to whom they belong.
A clarifying note: The fact that we “belong to” God is a broad statement of His absolute ownership of and dominion over each of us. It does not necessarily mean that all of us are saved and are born-again members of His family. From the entirety of humanity — all of whom “belong to” God — there will emerge two groups, described in various ways in Scripture. For example:
Two of the original Twelve apostles of Christ (Peter and John) in their epistles identified themselves as “servants” of the Lord. So did the great apostle Paul, also James and Jude, who are considered by many Bible scholars to have been literal half-brothers of Jesus via their common mother Mary. It is revealing that these great men of God consistently acknowledged their standing as servants of the Lord, even though Jesus Himself had graciously said to the apostles, “I call you friends” (John 15:15).
In my years as a Christian, I’ve been saddened to hear some fellow believers speak of Jesus in a very casual tone — “my buddy Jesus” kind of talk. Jesus is the divine Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Looking to Him as our “buddy” diminishes His true stature. By contrast, consider the elderly apostle John on the island of Patmos near the very end of the first century. More than 50 years earlier he had walked in a very close relationship with Jesus during Christ’s final 3-1/2 years on earth. Then decades later the resurrected, glorified Christ appeared to John on Patmos. What was John’s reaction? He “fell at His feet as though dead” (Revelation 1:17)! Jesus’ “servant John” clearly understood the absolute and unlimited Lordship of his Savior. And so should we!
“I’ve got my rights!” you’ll hear people say nowadays to justify all kinds of conduct, some of it deplorable. The Bible speaks of the all-important right in John 1:12 — "Yet to all who did receive him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." That right trumps all others. When we repent of our sins and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we become sons and daughters of God Almighty (Acts 20:21; 2 Corinthians 6:18).
We become members of the family of God and receive the right (and also the duty) to serve God, to love Jesus, to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth as Christ’s ambassadors, and much more. As the Psalmist and the prophet Ezekiel declared, we are “the Lord’s … [we] belong to” Him. And we are to follow the supreme example of our Lord Jesus, when He was praying to God the Father shortly before His crucifixion: “Not my will, but thine be done.” Spend your life living out the phrase in the Lord’s prayer — “Thy will be done” — and your eternal reward in the Lord’s presence in heaven will surpass even your greatest imaginations.
This is Matthew’s account of the Great Commission given by the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Combined with the parallel account in Mark 16, the Lord’s command (not just suggestion!) was for His followers to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations, to win them to salvation in Christ, and to make them into disciples who “obey everything” Jesus had commanded His followers.
Acts 2:36 tells us that God the Father has made His crucified, resurrected Son Jesus to be Lord and Christ. As Peter later preached, “Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all.” My pastor used to say to “let your all be all!” If the Son of God is not Lord of all in your life, then you are out of proper relationship with Him. I am not ignoring proper earthly authority structures. We obey the laws of the land, and this pleases God. Children obey their parents. Jesus spoke favorably of the faith-filled Roman centurion who understood higher-ranking officers having authority over him, while at the same time he had men under his authority. The point is that all of this, biblically, is to be under the ultimate and absolute Lordship of God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Typically God grants us an average lifespan of 70-80 years on this earth. There is no better way to spend that time than by serving diligently the One to whom we belong, letting our light shine daily on His behalf, and thereby pointing others to the great God whom we serve.
Understanding and submitting to God’s ownership of all of us helps us to deal with many of the social issues of our day. God has laid down His positions on things very clearly in His Word the Bible. And those should be the exact positions that His followers embrace. Let me give three brief illustrations.
1) Transgender — In the Scripture just above, Jesus stated that “at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’.” Who did it? Our Creator God. What did the God to whom we all belong do? He made us one or the other, male or female. That is God’s design. Any human attempts to change that are a direct affront to God’s creative intentions.
2) Gay marriage — In the same verse above, we read Jesus’ words: “The Creator ‘made them male and female’ … a man …[and] his wife.” That is the Creator God’s one and only plan for marriage: “male and female, a man and his wife.” No gender confusion, no same-sex marriage. God has established the marriage bond to be between a man and a woman. And since God has declared that all who live in this world are “the Lord’s [and] belong to Him,” no man or woman has the right to alter God’s immutable plan concerning marriage and gender.
3) The abortion issue — I have written elsewhere about abortion and the pro-life/pro-choice issues. You can read in detail God’s biblical positions on those here:
The raging debates and protests surrounding the sanctity of life issues would be quickly and fully resolved if people would submit to the fact that everyone is the Lord’s and belongs to Him. Therefore, the guidance to be followed on these issues must be the eternal, inspired Word of the God to whom we all belong.
You’ve heard the expression, “Jesus is coming again.” And that is absolutely true. His first coming to earth was 2,000 years ago. He came to earth, preached, taught, healed the sick, cast out demons, and much more. Of greatest importance was that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Shortly after that He ascended back to heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God the Father to the present day.
The Bible promises that Jesus will come again to earth “a second time…to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:28). This will be a glorious day for all who have chosen to serve Jesus as Lord and Savior, when He comes for “those who are Christ’s” (1 Corinthians 15:53, NASB).
Another group alive at that time will find the day of Christ’s second coming to be a terrible one for them. He will come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8, KJV). The saved will be bowing the knee to the returning Savior and joyfully crying out, “Jesus Christ is Lord.” By horrifying contrast, the lost, who have refused to accept Christ, will likewise bow the knee to the coming Lord and will recognize His Lordship in terror and despair as they are consigned to the fires of hell waiting for those who have rejected the very Lord who owns them and died and rose again for them.
To summarize: "The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." I belong to the Lord; you belong to the Lord. Everyone belongs to Him, men and women, boys and girls, infants and the elderly. Everyone! The Lordship of God the Father and His Son Jesus are universal and undisputed. The Father loves us and sent His Son Jesus as the only perfect sacrifice to die for our sins, so that by repentance and faith in Christ we can be born again and become sons and daughters of God, looking ahead to a joyous eternal life in the Lord’s presence. Many millions have made that wise choice for eternal life. Many other millions have not, and face eternal damnation in hell, far removed from the Lord’s glorious presence. Which choice have you made?
As the apostle Paul wrote, these things should motivate us to set our hearts and our minds on things above, not on earthly things. God wants every one of us, through repentance and faith in His Son Jesus, to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him devotedly during our earthly lives. And then those who have received Jesus go on to the Lord’s presence which, in the apostle’s words, is “better by far” (Philippians 1:23). This life is short. Love and serve Him to whom you belong with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If you do so, then after you take your last breath here, you’ll hear Jesus’ welcoming words: “Well done, good and faithful servant … Come and share your Master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:21).
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©2020, James H. Feeney.