Knee Shall Bow
Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia Baptist
Decatur , Alabama
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."
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."
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."
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
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
"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
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."
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."
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)