Christians love to declare that Jesus is Lord, but we need to be much clearer about what we mean when we say it. In particular we need to be clear about what he is lord over, now. I can say that Jesus is my Lord. But I cannot say that he is another person’s lord, because I do not know their heart.
We need a clearer understanding of what Jesus is Lord means at this point in history. As I explain in Kingdom Authority, at the moment Jesus ascended into heaven, he had all authority in heaven and on earth. He was Lord of everything. However, the situation did not remain that way. Jesus could have sent out millions of angels and forced everyone on earth to do his will, by threatening to punish them if they chose to disobey, but he chose not to do that. He gave humans back their freedom that he had won back from the spiritual powers of evil.
Humans responded in two ways. Some surrendered to him and chose to continue following him. They made him their Lord by submitting to him.
Others decided to do their own thing, and unwittingly gave up the freedom that Jesus had won for them. By submitting to the spiritual powers of evil, they allowed them to get control of their lives again. That is still the situation now. Jesus is currently Lord of the spiritual realms (but not of the evil powers). He is not Lord of everyone on earth. He is only Lord of those on earth who freely submit to him and serve him by following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
God will eventually work out his purposes on earth. The day will come as Jesus promised when everyone will bow and acknowledge that he is Lord. God will accomplish his purposes, but not by force. He will do it by the cleverness and the power of the Holy Spirit. He is at work to accomplish God’s long-term purposes and he will be successful in the end. However, that does not mean he will achieve everything that he would like to achieve along the way. People who refuse to acknowledge that he is Lord will often frustrate his purposes, but that will not stop him from achieving his ultimate goal.
Therefore, we should not say Jesus is Lord, as a way of expressing that God will achieve all his purposes for America, or any other nation. He is not Lord of everyone in America, so there is no guarantee that he will always achieve his purposes there. It depends on whether people choose to obey him or reject him. America may have started quite well, but that does not guarantee it will finish well. Carthage had a strong beginning as a Christian centre when Augustine was bishop of Hippo, but the gospel was eventually wiped out there. Carthage is now a spiritual and physical desert. There is no reason why the same outcome could not happen in the United States. If America goes down the tubes that will not stop God from accomplishing his ultimate purposes.
In the modern situation, it might be more helpful to say what Jesus is not Lord of. The truth is that Jesus is not the Lord of the United States. It has chosen a system of government which gives authority to humans, and that is now working out to its logical conclusion and shutting God out. It would be more honest to say that Jesus is Lord of most of the church, but he is not the Lord of the president or the congress. There are many aspects of modern life over which he is not Lord. Pretending he is Lord of everything in America is a dangerous idea that leads to delusion.
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