All In or All Out
You’re either with us or you’re against us. Hard words—they say there’s no middle ground, no possibility of being neutral. Either you’re fully committed or you’re not. Jesus says in Matthew 12, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (v. 30).
It wasn’t always this way. When God created the world, He saw everything that He had made, and it was very good. At that time, there was no evil. There was no alternative lord to serve, no other camp to which to give allegiance.
But by Genesis 3, Satan is tempting Adam and Eve to go against God. For something had happened: there was rebellion in heaven, and many angels turned against their Creator. This means war. Two lords now compete for the loyalty and worship of mankind.
Since that time, this world remains divided over two kingdoms. It’s the conflict between “the prince of this world” (John 14:30) and the Lord whom we hail as “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God” (1 Tim 1:17). It’s the war being played out in our time, every day and in every place.
And in a sense, Satan’s kingdom advances easily. Satan only needs people to stop hearing and doing God’s Word. Satan only needs us to stop giving glory to Christ. Satan only needs Christians to forget who we have become, and to conform to the pattern of this world. For remember, there’s no neutral ground.
Even in secular society, people acknowledge that you can’t really be neutral. In politics and business and relationships, you can’t sit on the fence. You need to commit one way or the other. You can’t dither or hesitate interminably.
Are you all in, or all out?
So you decide, knowing that your choice has a consequence. What’s not an option is saying that you won’t be on either side.
Imagine opting for neutrality in this war of two kingdoms. Fearing neither side, you would let down your guard against attack. Loving neither side, you would neglect spiritual preparation. And then the enemy appears, and you have no idea what to do, and he captures you quickly.
Instead, we pray (and we work) for God’s kingdom to come. For since the time of the Fall, the good King has been working to restore his good creation. This is why He sent Jesus Christ.
John says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8). He came to break the power of the devil. And Christ did it when He died on the cross and rose the third day.
The decisive battle is already history. Colossians 1 says that “God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (vv. 13-14). Today, God is still enthroned on high. Today, the universe He created is still his universe. The good King still governs his people. There are still thousands upon thousands of holy angels who do his will, every day.
But in our time we must not underestimate Satan’s anger, nor the power of those loyal to him. Recall the serious warnings in Scripture:
“Resist the devil” (James 4:7).
“Do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26).
“Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan’s one purpose is to destroy the works of God, yet his power simply cannot compare. I love what John writes, “You are from God and have overcome the evil one, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (4:4). We have God in us, and He is greater—much greater than the one who right now dominates the world. Satan fears the name of Christ, fears him more than anyone.
This is the way for us to stand in this war of two kingdoms: only when you go to Christ to receive his power and Spirit.
The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Once more, that sets before us the crucial decision. There’s a need to take a side. And you can’t not decide. A decision not to be devoted to Christ means a decision to reject him. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
Let’s realize that we’ve already been enlisted to be on God’s side. By our baptism, God has already chosen us for himself. We don’t enter this life as spectators and neutral observers, but we enter on the side of God. This calls us to take up the life to which we’ve been set apart—to answer God’s gracious call.
For the day is coming when God will punish Satan forever. He has already been cast down, and all that remains is to throw him “into the lake of burning sulfur where he will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev 20:10). So there won’t always be two choices or two roads to take. One day soon, the two destinations will be sealed tight. So Jesus says: “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24).
It’s clear which master you ought to serve. It’s clear which kingdom is best to work for, which is worth fighting for. The one kingdom is doomed, while the other is destined for glory. For in Christ, the Lord God has already won. His people are already more than conquerors through him who loved us.
So are you all in?