Carl H. Stevens Jr.
Table Of Contents
- The Standard of Grace
- Rest Brings Results
- From Glory to Glory
Man was created to glorify God. Still, so many people wander through life oblivious to their purpose on earth. Great debates have been waged over our place on this planet and how we, as human beings, are supposed to behave upon it. The Bible, however, is crystal clear regarding our position on earth.
God intended that man would have dominion. According to Genesis 1:26-28, He made us to rule over the earth and all that is upon it.
Adam and Eve lost that privilege when they fell, choosing instead to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. When they lost their authority, it was taken by Satan. But after Christ was crucified, buried, resurrected, and ascended, God took back the authority — over the earth and over hell and death (Revelation 1:18). Now, as believers who are hid with Christ in God, we have a new authority and a new dominion in Him (Matthew 16:19).
God redeemed mankind through the Blood of Christ so that if we believe and accept Him as Savior, we might rest in His love and reign with Him in the midst of this world’s system. When we grasp this, we will respond with worship and with a testimony that glorifies God.
The Standard of Grace
“And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, “They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
“Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
“This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not” (John 8:3-6).
The Pharisees came to Jesus with a woman taken in adultery and asked Him what He had to say about it. But Jesus, knowing that they were trying to trap him, stooped down and wrote something on the ground. Trying their best to provoke Him, the Pharisees kept badgering Jesus with questions. Finally, He lifted Himself up and made one of the greatest statements in all of the Bible: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7).
With that, Jesus issued the standard for judging others, making it very obvious as to what He meant. Then He went back to writing on the ground.
Now, the Bible does not say what Jesus drew in the dust while He was stooped down. My opinion, however, is that the first time He bent down, He wrote the word “LAW.” “What do You say we should do to her?” the Pharisees quizzed Jesus. They were trying to get Him to contradict His own words. Jesus had presented Himself to them as a Rabbi — one who understood, proclaimed, and followed the Scriptures — and the law said that an adulterer must be stoned. Based upon John 1:17, I believe that the second time Jesus wrote in the dirt, He wrote “GRACE.”
Though the Law came by Moses, grace and truth had come by Jesus Christ.
Here, Jesus established a great standard and set every born-again believer under His policy of grace. Obviously, He didn’t mean that we should continue in sin that grace may abound, but He did put all of us under His grace policy.
He knew that the only way we could have dominion was by receiving His gift of grace.
First Fruits for God
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
We worship God because He is the Lord of everything. In Deuteronomy 26:10, the children of Israel worshipped God when they “brought the first fruits of the land” as an offering. To have dominion over the earth, which is temporarily under Satan’s rule, God and His Kingdom must be put first in our lives (Matthew 6:33).
Psalm 96:9 declares that we are to worship God in the beauty of His holiness. Yet, there are many people who cannot worship God. They do not understand who God created them to be.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28).
God created us in His own image, after His own likeness. He created us to have dominion over every living thing that creeps upon the earth, over all the fish of the sea, and over all the fowl of the air. The cattle, the birds — everything was created for us to rule over. After that point in creation, on the seventh day, God rested.
From Dust to Dominion
Two things that God wants us to understand are these: one, that He has a plan for us, and, two, that He always desires to give us rest in that plan.
In Genesis 1, we were created to have dominion. Genesis 2:7 tells us that He made us out of the dust of the earth and breathed into us, giving us a spirit and making us a living soul. But in Genesis 3, man failed and lost his right to have dominion over the earth. And even though Satan had already been banished from heaven for his rebellion against the throne of God, now that old serpent was cursed for tempting man.
His punishment was to eat the dust (Genesis 3:14). This means he was cursed to feed on our weaknesses. In a sense, he has permission to “chew” on our weaknesses.
Redemption was not the result of a change in God’s plan; rather, Redemption fulfilled God’s plan. Man’s dominion was lost. Satan usurped his authority, but God took dominion and restored it when He redeemed man through the perfect sacrifice of His Son. Now, God says to the believer, “I want you to have dominion in Christ.” He rests in His Finished Work of Calvary. He rests when His people have dominion through His Word and the Holy Spirit.
Rest Brings Results
“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)” (Romans 5:17).
“And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee” (Exodus 25:21).
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1).
God’s men and women were made to reign (Revelation 5:10). God desires that we would rule in Satan’s domain as God’s guests of honor (James 4:7). God teaches us to reign as we receive the abundance of His grace and the gift of righteousness in the Lord Jesus Christ. God rests in the fact that you and I represent His reign over Satan. The Lord has already defeated the devil, and we are to rest as we reign over him.
He gives us His testimony, which speaks of His requirements, standards, provision, and policy.
As we have received God’s policy of grace, we declare His testimony.
God is not a man that He should lie. What He has said, He will do! (see Numbers 23:19). As we have learned, God calls on His people to be witnesses for Him in the courtroom of heaven.
Satan is the one who is on trial — not us — and he foolishly stands for his own defense. Jesus Christ is the prosecutor in this case that is already decided. But, when the accusations come like a flood against those of us who are believers, He is our advocate. Then, He calls on us to testify. Our proclamation is the Holy Word of God, which declares the truth of our position according to Redemption.
The testimony of Jesus Christ is fulfilled, and God wants us to rest in what His Word has already proclaimed. After forty-nine years of farming the land, Israel was supposed to let the land rest for seven years. This allowed the soil to be replenished of the nutrients that had been depleted in the fruit-bearing process. This plan, which is detailed in Scripture (see Leviticus 25), has made all the difference between abundance and poverty throughout generations in farmlands around the world.
If we really understood the character of God, we would learn what it really means to rest. In Mark 6:31, Jesus told His disciples to come away and rest a while. In Matthew 11:28-30, the Lord said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He gives us the rest of reigning, and we can indeed reign.
And as we reign, we worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth, because any authority we have is from Him and through Him.
Relaxing in the Word
“To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
“To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
“To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” (Proverbs 1:2-4).
The Word of God beautifully explains worship in Proverbs the first chapter. Worship is hearing, growing, receiving, loving, responding, and worshipping the living Word of God. The result is that we enter into praise, and praise expresses faith-rest — an attitude of being totally relaxed and occupied with Jesus Christ.
To worship because of God’s testimony is a key element of reigning with God. God wants us to receive and enjoy His character as we keep His testimonies.
I read an article recently that spoke of a woman who came down with Alzheimer’s disease just before she was fifty years old. She was a Christian lady with a husband and two children who were also Christians. As the family gathered around her one day, this woman came out of her world of Alzheimer’s and said to her husband and children, “Come here and let’s worship God.” She would never regain any capacity for recognition of her family again, but in that moment of clarity she was able to sit up and say, “Let’s worship God.”
That is the kind of testimony God desires from His people in the spontaneity of His love.
The Word of God in this woman’s soul enabled her, if only for a moment, to reign over a terrible disease as she worshipped Him.
Triumph and Testimony
One of our young people was attending a local community college and was told to write a paper defending homosexuality. Another assignment required her to explain why young girls need to have as many sexual experiences as possible in order to learn how to relate to men.
This girl refused to defend these practices. I never heard what grade she received for that class, but if she got an “F” from the teacher, I know she will get an “A-plus” from God for reigning in her testimony.
From Glory to Glory
“Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified” (Isaiah 49:3).
“Glory” speaks of the place where God’s essence is realized, experienced, and practiced.
It reveals the presence of His character. It refers to the presence of God saying, “I will indeed give you dominion in Christ. Through My testimonies, I will give you dominion that you never knew you had. I created you to have dominion in My kingdom. And, since I redeemed you, I can rest in My love (Zephaniah 3:17). Because of My omniscience, I know without a shadow of a doubt that as you turn to Me, you will have dominion and I will be glorified.”
God rests in all that He has done for us. We just come to where He rests and He gives us dominion. He wants us to reign as His children. He wants us to rule as a new creation in Him. That gives Him glory, and this is why we were created.
Giving Him Glory, No Matter What
“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:23).
The Word of God says we are to glorify God in worship and praise. We are even instructed to worship God in our afflictions and trials (see 1 Peter 4:16). We can worship God in our sickness (John 11:4) and in our healing. As we learn to understand the character of God and His deep love for us, we can glorify God even when our healing does not come.
A woman with terminal cancer pleaded with her family to take her to church. There wasn’t much left of her and her family was afraid she might take a bad turn so they wanted to sit in the back of the congregation.
“No, I want to be right up front,” the woman said. There, she worshipped with all of her heart and with all of her soul during the song service.
During the sermon, she worshipped and praised with all of her heart and voice. Then, at the close of the sermon, she went home to be with God.
Just like that. She glorified God in her condition because she received grace to have dominion over her circumstances.
A longtime TV pastor who had cancer and is now home with Jesus told a story of visiting a certain woman in the hospital. He said to her, “The doctors say you probably have a year to live. In my business, I prepare people to live. But today, I have to prepare you to go home to be with God.” He went on to tell her of the great reunion awaiting her in heaven and the marriage supper of the Lamb. He told her that her life on earth was all in preparation for the most magnificent event of all, when she would be introduced to the Bridegroom as His beloved — face to face.
The woman took these things to heart and somehow managed to get hold of a white gown.
One morning the nurse came in and found the woman, with her countenance radiant, worshipping and praising God and wearing the gown.
The nurse left the room for a moment, and when she returned, that lady who was so sick had died. God had taken her home. A note the woman left behind said, “I knew I was going to meet Him today, and the white gown was for Jesus.”
She glorified God in the midst of her sickness right until the end.
Testing Brings Out the Best
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5).
As I think of Jesus Christ today, all I can think of is how He deserves my worship. He wants me to keep His testimonies and glorify Him. For this, I was created: to glorify God. And with that, He gives us dominion over the enemy.
Every time we enter into our reign with God, we can be sure that we will be tested. In our testing, we will not be perfect people. God saw Job and bragged about him to Satan: “I have this mature man. Test him and see how he turns out” (see Job 1).
Job succeeded in the first couple of trials, but in his third trial, he failed six times. Finally, in the fourth trial, Job came to the full understanding of reigning with God, and God gave Job an A-plus on that test because he used rebound and prayed for his friends who had condemned him and turned against him.
Yes, we have an enemy, and he is real. But we have been given grace to overcome the trial we are facing, and we have been given mercy to release us from the sins of the past. By the power of His Word and the indwelling strength of His Spirit, we can reign over every circumstance that comes our way. As we learn to rest and be replenished, we will understand that we were, indeed, created to have dominion.
My prayer is that this booklet helps us to see the privilege we have of living in the dominion God has given us through faith-rest in Him.
Having faith-rest is knowing that the work of God is finished.
Having faith-rest is believing that the work is done — once and for all.
Having faith-rest is receiving wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity (Proverbs 1:3).
Having faith-rest is when the Lord Jesus Christ reigns supreme in my heart.
By the grace of Almighty God, we can learn to truly love Him with all of our heart, soul, and body. Then, as we worship and keep His testimony, we develop a desire to glorify Him. This is what man was created for and how we were intended to live — through the policy of grace and the gift of mercy, robed in His righteousness and crowned with His glory.
Dear Lord, thank You that we do not have to wonder about where we stand with You. You have shown us Your heart’s desire for us to live as kings and queens because You delegated the authority of Your kingdom to us. We pray for wisdom to choose life and to always speak and operate by the authority that rules in love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.