Every Knee Shall Bow
 Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia Baptist Church
Decatur , Alabama

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11).
    It is a woefully sad commentary that man has refused to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ since the day that Adam first sinned. Yet it is true. Historically and scripturally, none can deny this terrible reality. It is true. To man's everlasting shame, it is true.
    Cain refused to submit, in that he brought forth from the ground the fruit thereof so as to attempt to appease God on his own terms. Is this not a clear and flagrant refusal to submit to God? God had not commanded sacrifice in the form that seemed reasonable to Cain.
    And why was Cain a tiller of the ground to begin with? Was man created and brought forth so that he would be merely a "tiller of the ground"? Let us for a moment examine the book of Holy Writ so as to ascertain the real facts. This careful audit of Genesis 2:4-9 will reveal some wondrously startling things to us.
    "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Genesis 2:4-9
    These scriptures declare plainly that God had brought forth from the ground every tree and herb. And this was done before He created man. Thus it is, that God in His marvelous provision had arranged, ordained, and brought into fruition all that man would ever need or could ever desire to remain happy, contented, and joyous in the place and duty where His Creator had seen fit to assign him. And that was to serve God.
    Verse 5 tells us that when God had created the plant life and all vegetation varieties, there was at that time "not a man to till the ground". The ground did not need to be "tilled" in order for it to bring forth, for it had been perfectly created and all matters set in order by the Creator, ere man had come upon the scene.
    Because there was no sin, there was no curse upon the earth. Because there was no curse upon the earth, there was no necessity that the earth be "tilled". This all came about as the result of sin, and not before sin entered was there this requirement.
    So, man was not made so that he could or would become a tiller of the ground. And thus it is, that Cain was what he was as the result of sin, and only as the result of sin.
    But why did he become a "tiller of the ground"? Because his father, Adam, would not submit to the Lordship of his Creator God over him. He willingly agreed to give heed to his deceived wife, thus denouncing his position as a creature servant of God.
    Then note God's pronouncement upon Adam and his posterity in Genesis 3:17-19. "And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it thou was taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
    Because of Adam's sin the earth was put under God's curse. And Adam was then required to till the ground to receive the fruits thereof. And by the sweat of his face it was to be, and is unto this very day.
    Why all this? Because of the sin that came from within the heart of Adam as Satan had introduced it there. Adam from that moment refused to submit to the Lordship of God.
    When Adam ate, his eyes were opened. His eyes were opened, not in the sense that his physical eyes had been closed; but rather, the eyes of his understanding were opened to certain realities. He became acutely aware of the command that God had spoken unto him.
    He became aware of his own condition, and that is, he is now a criminal, for he has broken God's command. He becomes aware of his own terrible fallen state, for the penalty that God had assigned for commandment breakers suddenly dooms him to eternal separation from God!
    The result of Adam's eyes, and the eyes of Eve, his wife, being opened is, they both flee from God. They attempt to appease God by fashioning fig leaf aprons in their vain attempt to cover their nakedness. And they are not merely physically naked, themselves being exposed to all of God's creation. Rather, or more terribly, their exposure to the justifiable wrath of God is now evident.
    Adam would not have God to rule over him. He would not submit to the Lordship of God. And it was sin that did that. Adam sinned, and the result is that he became separated from God. And man, to include Cain, has been in that deplorable state since that moment. Likewise Abel, for depravity is inherited, and sin poisons the bloodstream of Adam and his offspring.
    Now, all have sinned and all are therefore exposed to God's wrath, and to the judgment of God against their sin. And God has declared by the voice of the prophets of old, and by the inspired men of the New Testament writings that there is coming a time when all shall submit to Him, and that all shall bow the knee unto Him.
    "I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." (Isaiah 45:23).
    "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." (Romans 14:11).
    "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11).
    "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." (Revelation 5:13,14).
    Thus, we conclude: "Every knee ...
The Elect Shall Bow
    When God, in effectual grace (and there is NO GRACE that isn't) brings one of His chosen ones unto Himself, that called one responds, positively. In submission, the called ones come to Him who called, and this without exception.
    Let us look at the effectual call of God for a moment so that we may be instructed from God's record.
    Abel was led to bring an acceptable and suitable offering, while Cain was left to himself, in reprobation. "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell." (Genesis 4:3-5).
    Isaac was a chosen one, while Ishmael was passed by and left to himself in reprobation. "And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for lshmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year." (Genesis 17:19-21).
    Jacob also was God's choice, and not Esau, who was left to himself in reprobation. "And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:22,23). "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Romans 9:13, Malachi 1:2,3).
    Saul of Tarsus was God's choice, and not his companions in their united efforts to defeat God and His purpose. Saul heard an effectual call, and they were left to themselves in reprobation. "And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed a light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do." (Acts 22:7-10).
    There were two criminals who were put to death on the day that Jesus laid down His own life in sacrificial death upon the cruel tree at Calvary. One of these two evil-doers however, was a chosen one while the other was left to himself in reprobation.
    "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he saith unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43).
    The elected ones, each at God's appointed time are brought to see Jesus, and to be made to know who He is. Each and every one of these submit to Jesus Christ as Lord, and they address Him as Lord. Each of these, without exception, are so brought and so submit.
    We sometimes hear much about a general call that goes out to men everywhere. And there is such a call. But no sinner has ever responded to that call to the saving of his soul, or as the result of his soul having been saved. However, the Scriptures are filled with accounts that God has provided of individuals who have been effectually called by the gospel, and they all, each and every one of them has responded.
    Remember Saul of Tarsus? His response was, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
    And note this fact also: "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him." (Matthew 4:18- 20).
    Now, realizing that this occurrence that Matthew records is a call by Jesus of these two brothers to follow Him into the service that He has appointed, I nevertheless have referred to it to make a further point. Those whom Jesus calls to serve Him are the same ones whom He has called to receive life eternal from Him. And using these two men, we look again to Scripture.
    John relates the ministry of John the Baptist in Chapter 1 of his record, and shows that the preaching that he did was sanctioned by the Holy Spirit and men were saved and disciples were called out. Among them was one named Andrew, and he talked with his brother Simon about his experiences. Note: "One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ." (John 1:40,41).
    These two were effectually called to salvation, and then Jesus Himself called them both to serve Him. The call to life always comes before a call to service.
    God's people, for whom He sent His own Son to redeem are known by Him. Else He would be placed in the same position as a mere creature who may be moved somehow to draw a bow at a venture. And this is akin to blasphemy to even suggest.
    The Scriptures make it very plain that God knows His people and has always known them. And He speaks of them as His people when He speaks of them at all. Metaphorically, He refers to them as sheep, and as His people. Hear Him so speak: "Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psalms 100:3). "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:27-29).
    At regeneration God's people are given life, according to His nature, and they follow Him. And they own Him as Lord. They do not receive Him as Saviour, and then at some convenient time later, decide to own Him as Lord.
    May I call your attention to two striking texts of Scripture that are recorded for our learning on this matter?
    "Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation." (Luke 2:28-30). "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God." (John 20:27,28).
    And numberless other saints have their record written. And that is, they have owned His Lordship. They have bowed the knee unto Him and have acknowledged that He is very Christ. He is Lord.
The Reprobate Shall Bow
    Without going through the Scriptures to verify that all reprobate will one day bow before Him and own Him as Lord, we will simply declare that the Scriptures affirm that they will.
    We cite this text to establish the above statement. "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:11- 15).
    " And whosoever was not found written in the book of life ..." Awesome prospect. All reprobate, each and every one of them are here included.
    Consider these, who according to Scripture were passed by and left to themselves. Will they bow the knee unto God?
    What about Cain? And Ishmael? And Esau? And Pharaoh? And Judas? And the unrepentant thief? And all unrepentant thieves?
    What about them? They too will one day submit. And they too will bow their knee unto Him and their tongues shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Amen, and amen.

(The Baptist Herald - March, 1991)