NASB – He who is the blessed and only sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords
NIV – the blessed and only ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Living Bible – only Almighty God, the King of kings and Lord of lords
1 Timothy 6:15
King of kings and Lord of lords is a statement of God’s sovereignty. Every king, president, governor, ruler and any other person in authority is subordinate to the great King and Lord of heaven and earth. They all depend on the sovereign King and Lord God Almighty. He has brought down rulers from their thrones” (Luke 1:52).
Just before the 4th of July each year television, radio, newspapers, internet and literally every form of communication writes or talks about celebrating Independence Day. It is my belief that Christians around the world ought to celebrate dependence day rather than Independence Day. These are a few thoughts to ponder relative to this important concept, commonly called independence.
As a national holiday, Independence Day, is the occasion to celebrate the absolved relationship between the 13 confederated colonies, which is now called the United States and the throne of Great Britain. The despotic and tyrannical rule of King George III provoked the colonies to dissolve the relationship.
It is said that Thomas Jefferson was primarily responsible for drafting the declaration of independence. Thomas Jefferson’s individualism is probably responsible for his use of the word independent.
You will not have to put forth much effort to discover the truth about Thomas Jefferson. He denied the authority of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and God’s spiritual nature. In a letter to John Adams, Aug. 15, 1820 Jefferson said: “To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know.” For Jefferson, the existence of God equals nothing. I am aware Jefferson said many things about God, but he did not believe the basic tenets of orthodox Christianity.
Jefferson’s religion was individualism. Jefferson’s individualism emerged to become the most prominent religious view in western civilization. The formula for its success has an American and European contribution. From the American Revolution came “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” From the French Revolution came “liberty, equality and fraternity.”
Jefferson’s declaration says “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” An independent God gave the words life, liberty, happiness, equality and fraternity to dependent people. An individual or a nation will not acquire them without the generous hand of God.
Individualism is a worldview and I believe is the predominant religion in the United States. This destructive religious view comes couched in terms like individual freedom and independence. It stresses the worth of self and individual ability to engage in political, social, and religious life. The individualistic independent worldview produces a democracy. Democracy literally means people rule. Democracy stands in opposition to theocracy. Democracy means “people rule” and theocracy means “God rules.”
Is any person independent or any nation independent? The answer is no! God alone is independent. All existing matter depends on God’s independency.
Am I advocating that the United States stop the great celebration every 4th of July. No! If I had been alive during the revolutionary war, I would have supported the separation from the tyranny of an ungodly ruler like King George. I would have called it separation from the British Throne day. I would also call for another celebration. “Dependence on God Everyday and Forever” which if put into practice would insure freedom from tyranny in the right sense. Paul told the philosophers at Athens what the people in the United States need to hear: “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
The Bible paints a vivid portrait of mans dependence on God. The spirit of individualism says I am, but God says I am! Babylon, the great nation that ruled the world believed in the religion of individualism. A good example of the “I am” religion of this country in found in the book of Isaiah. The king of Babylon spoke arrogantly what most people keep to themselves; “I am and there is no one else besides me” (Isaiah 47:10).
How many times have I heard people, professing Christians, say “pray that God will bless America.” Why not pray “God bless Iran, Afghanistan, and India? These countries need God to visit them with His grace and mercy just as He did the 13 states that originally formed a confederation, but later a federation, commonly called the United States, however un-United they may be today.
The Bible is replete with words describing God as the only independent, necessary, self-existent being. While King Nebuchadnezzar was flaunting his independence, God said to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and the seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes” (Daniel 4:31-32).
Every person will have to decide whether to celebrate the independence of God or the independence of self, or the independence of the United States. The only way to celebrate the independence of God requires an understanding of His nature and character. However, the concept known as “independence” belongs to God and to Him alone.
Another aspect of His being is simplicity and unity. God is not a compound being with various parts. It is a theological truth that has practical applications.
There will be millions upon millions people who may otherwise believe in God, yet on the 4th of July they will steal a portion of God’s unique character, his independence, and give it to a nation referred to as the United States.
Before I explain how that will happen, it will be necessary to affirm the independence of God. Then we affirm His unity. The Bible says, “God is spirit” therefore unlike humans He is not a composition of parts. God is one God. He is incapable of being divided into parts. Every nation is “divisible” even if the Pledge of Allegiance affirms this nations “indivisibility” but God’s kingdom cannot be divided and God alone is “indivisible.”
Now back to robbing God of His unique character. I am as guilty as anyone because I have said it so many times when I would recite the pledge of allegiance: one nation indivisible. I have stopped using the term “indivisible” in reference to any material substance.
Every nation on this planet is divisible. Every material substance is capable of division. Even the atom is divisible, even though it cannot be cut into pieces. God and God alone is indivisible. The independence and simplicity of God are not merely caricatures that misrepresent who He is. They are very real, but Christians often fail to recognize them.
Words have lost much ground in the wake of a culture that has crowned the queen, “image is everything.” Words like independence, indivisibility, and united in a culture that is absolutely dependent and remarkably divided does not make sense. This country is divided by religious faith: Protestant, Catholic – Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, et al. This country is divided politically: Republican and Democratic parties and many more. This country is divided over social issues that consist of a long list of cultural wars: Abortion, Law, and Education, to mention a few.
Many evangelicals believe the Christianity has lost its influence in the western world. I interpret that to mean God’s blessing has departed. It is not so much that God has departed. God has simply allowed the individualism to rule in the land. It is as if God said, “You want to do it your way, have at it.” However, there will be undesirable consequences.”
The doctrine is clear, the application is overwhelming, so what shall we do? The answer is simple. Do what the Lord said to the nation of Israel many times over nearly 600 years of their history: return to the Lord! Returning to the Lord is something that should happen every day. The first place to start is to know the Lord. He has revealed Himself in His Word. Re-discover His nature and character.
The first necessary step to overcome the Jeffersonian individualism and return to God is with the recognition that God actively provides for His creation. Eighteenth century Deism argued in favor of the generous providence of God. However, the deist believes God is not active in the universe, especially among individual people. They believed God created natural laws that give us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The deist believes it is those laws that regulate life, not God’s active hand.
Today the 309 million people in this country ought to celebrate God’s generous providence. They ought to say this is the day that we depend on God for life and all the joy associated with God’s blessing.
Professing Christians ought to scream from the housetop, “The doctrine of God’s providence replaces individualism.”
Psalm 103:19 – The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all
Job 12:23 – He makes nations great and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them
The Bible explains God’s providence in terms of His 1) sustenance 2) government 3) provision 4) concurrence
1) Sustenance – What God creates he sustains. He holds all things together.
The universe and everything within it is dependent upon the being and power of God for continuity of existence as well as origin of existence.
The Universe was not created and left like a clock ticking away to point of expiration, as many deists believe.
2) Government of God – God is the Supreme Governor who rules the world because of his absolute authority and power to govern.
When King Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses he said that:
God’s dominion is an everlasting dominion
His Kingdom endures from generation to generation
His government is the directing and disposing of all things that come to pass.
The adversarial disposition of man is to reject the government of God.
Man rejects absolute authority.
Man rejects the power of God.
Common sense and the Bible tell us to respect the government of God because He provides.
God, whose foreseeing of all things is based on his foreordination of all things, is the provider who prepares a future for his people. Not only prepares a future, but meets all their needs. God provided the ultimate need of his people by sending his only Son to redeem his people. The ultimate provision was the substitionary atonement to satisfy the wrath of God. The biblical pattern is that the Lord provides and His people are grateful.
So far: sustenance – government – provision
One concept of God’s providence often overlooked:
4) Concurrence – God bring his plan to pass by his sovereignty through human means. For example, the sons of Israel sold Joseph into slavery. Later Joseph explained: And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Christians ought to take first things first. Do not undertake the study of any field of science until the nature and character of God is understood, believed, and defended.
His simplicity and unity
On the 4th of July thank God for His generous provision, His unwavering patience, and for giving us hope for the future. Celebrate the dependence of everything, especially this nation, on the one and only independent God.