Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Kingdom Civics

His Enemies under His Feet

His Enemies At His Feet

The King’s Business (11)

The LORD says to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Psalm 110.1

The King and His business
Exalted to the right hand of God, Jesus Christ has been anointed as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is busily about the work of bringing His Kingdom to fruition on earth, as it is in heaven, and we have been examining the ways He does this.

We have seen that He upholds the creation as the great staging-ground for unfolding the divine economy. At the same time, and with the Spirit of God, King Jesus intercedes for His saints that they might be free of the burden of guilt and shame to serve Him with joy in His Kingdom. And we have seen that, with the Father, Jesus sends His Spirit to indwell, instruct, and empower His saints, building the Body of Christ in unity and maturity as He equips individual believers to do the work of ministry (Eph. 4.11-16).

These are truly great works, works befitting a King of such exalted majesty and might as our Lord Jesus has attained. It should not be difficult for the followers of this great King to identify their role both as objects of His Kingdom progress and instruments of the same. King Jesus is working to increase righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit in each of those who call upon His Name in sincerity and truth; and, through them, He is working to establish His reign more firmly and visibly within the affairs of men and nations, until the knowledge of the glory of God fills the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2.14).

What an unfathomable privilege and awesome experience to belong to this Kingdom and to be involved in its ineluctable power and progress in human history! The more we understand the King’s business in this time before His imminent return, the better we will be able to use our time, talents, and treasures on earth, making the most of every opportunity to advance the rule and glory of our King and God (Eph. 5.15-17).

We turn, then, to consider yet another facet of the King’s business in which, as with all the rest, we have an active interest and concern.

The enemies of the Lord
As Jesus reigns over all creation, every nation, and all peoples, the Father Himself is at work with and through the Lord and the Spirit to put the enemies of Christ under His feet. Who are these enemies of King Jesus?

In one sense, all those who have yet to acknowledge the Kingship of Jesus are His enemies. Indeed, even all those who sincerely believe in and love Jesus Christ were at one time His enemies (Rom. 5.10). It’s not that we sought to stamp out His Name, suppress the faith, or assail His people. Rather, our ignorance and indifference alone qualified us to be enemies of the Lord. As He Himself said, those who are not for Him, actively and entirely, are against Him, and are His enemies (Matt. 12.30).

Other enemies are more overt and aggressive in their opposition. Those who deny the claims of Christ and seek to realize life’s hope and their own purpose apart from the Lord certainly qualify as His enemies. These, having heard the revelation of God in created things, nevertheless refuse to acknowledge His greatness and goodness and to thank Him for His steadfast love and faithfulness. Instead, they make idols of their own devising, and then chart a course for their lives, apart from God, that seems right to them (Rom. 1.18-32). Needless to say, all such chosen ways of life end in the grave, apart from God and without hope (Prov. 14.12; Eph. 2.12).

More aggressive still are those enemies of Christ who work to suppress the faith of King Jesus. This they do through propagandizing the Lie in various forms and by persecuting the saints of God. Such enemies of the Lord show themselves to be most intimately in league with the powers of darkness, although they may neither recognize nor admit this to be so (cf. Matt. 4.1-11).

The ultimate enemies of the Lord, at work within all His human foes, are those spiritual forces of wickedness in high places, together with the corruption and death they wreak upon humankind. And like all the enemies of King Jesus, these shall all be placed under His feet, until the very last enemy, death itself, is destroyed at His coming (1 Cor. 15.25-28).

How then does the Father, with the Lord and His Spirit, overcome these enemies of our King?

A four-pronged assault
Our heavenly Father and His King, Jesus Christ, are diligently in pursuit of the destruction of His enemies along four simultaneous fronts.

First, the Lord works by His Spirit and His Church to shame and convert His enemies, thus making them no longer enemies but friends (Ps. 83.16). Through the preaching of the Gospel and the demonstration of good works, many who at one time never knew the Lord, or even denied or opposed Him, are being brought to salvation as the Gospel and the Law expose their sins, demonstrate their need, and point to the only Savior Who can redeem them.

A second way that Jesus works to subdue His enemies is by surrounding and constraining them through the good works and increase of the saints of God (Ps. 81.15). As the ranks of believers increase and the Church grows in unity and maturity, the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy advances in a given location, and even those who do not love the Lord are constrained to live within the parameters that Kingdom establishes. Many may even confess faith in the Lord – although this is but a pretense – if they sense it will be in their best material and social interest to do so. Thus their rebellion is contained and their enmity nullified by the powerful presence of the Spirit and Word in the Church.

The third front of the Lord’s assault against His foes is that of removing His grace and Spirit so that their rebellion increases, leading to dissolution, despair, and death (Rom. 1.18-32). Even the enemies of God, those most adverse to His claims and spiteful of His grace, receive the benefit of His steadfast love and faithfulness as He upholds the world and all things – and everyone – in it (Ps. 52.1). Yet the more they harden their hearts against Him, plunging ever more deeply into the abyss of sin, the more He will give them up to their folly, until their foolish chosen way destroys them and others (Prov. 14.12).

Finally, in certain cases, the Lord and His Father subdue those who stand arrogantly against them by simply removing them from the stage of history and consigning them to eternal death (Acts 12.20-23). The Lord raises up kings and He puts them down; those who stand most notoriously against Him should fear that they may fall within His crosshairs. We, the Lord’s ambassadors, must be diligent to warn the wicked and call them to repent.

Within reach of grace
At all times, however, as long as they live on this earth, the enemies of the Lord are not beyond the reach of His grace. We think of such men as Nebuchadnezzar and Paul and realize that God’s great power to save is able to subdue even the most aggressive of His foes. And this makes our work as ambassadors and preachers all that much more urgent and exciting.

Knowing that the Lord is subduing all His enemies as He advances His reign on earth, let us be diligent to warn the recalcitrant, inform the ignorant, and to call all men to repent and believe the Good News of our King and His Kingdom.

And, as we do, let us stay mindful of the fact that the Lord has bound our most furious enemy, and His, even the devil Himself.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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