Will unbelievers ever bow before God?

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By BibleAsk Team


The question of whether unbelievers will ever bow before God is addressed in the Word of God. To look into this topic, we must explore relevant biblical passages, theological perspectives, implications and applications.

The Unbelievers Will Bow Before God

Paul wrote, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Here, the apostle was quoting from Isaiah 45:23 and speaking of a time at the end when all people including the devil and his followers will kneel down to worship God “And every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11). Just before the final judgment: “every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13–14).

It is not love to Jesus that inspires the homage of the wicked but the force of truth pushes these words from their unwilling tongues. The wicked will clearly see the love of God in contrast to the darkness of sin and the loving character of God will be vindicated before the whole universe. It will be clear to everyone that the consequences of sin are not holy independence and eternal life, but bondage, destruction, and death. By their wicked lives, the wicked have professed: “We will not have this Man [Jesus] to rule over us” (Luke 19:14).

The evil doers will see what they have lost by their life of inequity. They rejected the eternal rewards of glory when God offered it freely to them. And now they deeply regret their unwise decisions. And they will see that their exclusion from heaven is fair and just.In contrast, the redeemed will rejoice saying, “Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3); and, they will kneel and worship the Prince of peace.

Implications for Eschatology

The question of whether unbelievers will bow before God has significant implications for eschatology, the study of end times.

  • Eschatological Fulfillment: The acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty by every knee bowing is often associated with eschatological fulfillment, signaling the culmination of God’s redemptive plan and the establishment of His kingdom in its fullness. This universal acknowledgment underscores the final victory of God over sin, evil, and death, ushering in a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness reigns.
  • Divine Judgment: The acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty by every knee bowing may also be associated with divine judgment, as described in passages such as Revelation 20:11-15. In this eschatological scenario, unbelievers are judged according to their deeds, and their acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty may occur in the context of divine judgment and accountability for their actions.

Pastoral and Evangelistic Application

The question of whether unbelievers will bow before God has practical implications for pastoral ministry and evangelistic outreach within the Christian community.

  • Pastoral Comfort: For believers, the assurance of God’s ultimate victory and the acknowledgment of His sovereignty by every knee bowing can provide comfort and hope in the midst of trials and tribulations. The knowledge that God is in control and that His purposes will ultimately prevail offers reassurance and confidence in the face of adversity.
  • Evangelistic Urgency: The prospect of every knee bowing before God underscores the urgency of evangelistic mission and outreach to those who have not yet heard the gospel or embraced the lordship of Christ. Christians are called to proclaim the good news of salvation and to invite others to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, thereby participating in the fulfillment of God’s redemptive purposes for humanity.
  • Prayerful Intercession: Believers are also called to engage in prayerful intercession for the salvation of unbelievers, recognizing the importance of prayer in the process of evangelism and spiritual awakening. Through prayer, Christians can petition God to soften hearts, open minds, and draw individuals into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, ultimately leading to the acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty by every knee bowing.

    In conclusion, the question of whether unbelievers will bow before God touches upon profound theological truths regarding the universal sovereignty of God, the nature of eschatological fulfillment, and the destiny of humanity. Biblical passages such as Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11, and Philippians 2:10-11 affirm the universal acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty by every knee bowing. Christians are called to proclaim the gospel message, engage in prayerful intercession, and live as faithful witnesses to the lordship of Jesus Christ, trusting in the ultimate fulfillment of God’s redemptive purposes for humanity.

    In His service,
    BibleAsk Team

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