What is the legal ground we kneel upon when praying for the lost? In Ezekiel 18:4, God declares, â€œBehold, all souls are mine.â€ According to the Psalmist, Godâ€™s proprietorship over us is attributed to His creation of us (Psalm 24:1; 100:3). It is Godâ€™s ownership of all souls that justifies our prayers for their salvation.
Though God rightfully claims His ownership of all souls on the basis that He created them, Godâ€™s creation was betrayed into the hands of another when our original parents committed high treason against God in the Garden of Eden. In his temptation of Christ, the devil claimed that â€œthe kingdoms of the worldâ€ had been â€œdeliveredâ€â€”the Greek word means â€œbetrayedâ€â€”into his hands. Interestingly, Jesus does not dispute the devilâ€™s seemingly outlandish claim.
Ever since the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden, Satan has exercised dominion over the world. He may have acquired it by treachery, but he acquired it nonetheless. This explains why Jesus called the devil â€œthe prince of this worldâ€ (John 12:31; 14:30), the Apostle Paul called him â€œthe god of this worldâ€ (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the Apostle John taught that â€œthe whole world is under the control of the evil oneâ€ (1 John 5:19 NIV).
In spite of Satanâ€™s treachery, God has prevailed in this legal battle for menâ€™s souls. The central message of the Bible is that God sent His Son into the world to redeem mankind. To redeem something means to buy it back. Everything lost to Satan through manâ€™s treason in the garden has been bought back for God by the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ upon the cruel cross of Calvary.
In John 12:31, Jesus said, â€œNow is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.â€ Jesus made this statement in plain view of the approaching shadow of the cross. He knew that His impending death would be the devilâ€™s undoing. By shedding His blood on the cross, Jesus stripped Satan of all legal claims to any earthly possessions. It is Christâ€™s shed blood that has â€œcast outâ€ the â€œprince of this world.â€
In Revelation chapter five, John sees God seated upon His throne with a sealed scroll in His right hand. This scroll represents the title deed to the earth. A search is made for someone â€œworthyâ€ to open the scroll and to break its seven seals. Finally, one is found, â€œthe Lion of the tribe of Judah,â€ who is also identified as â€œthe Root of David.â€ When John looks to see this mighty Lion, he is surprised to behold â€œa Lamb as it had been slain.â€ While John watches the Lamb go to the throne and take the scroll from Godâ€™s right hand, all of heaven erupts in â€œa new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.â€
It is Jesus Christ who holds the title deed to the earth. It is His shed blood that has redeemedâ€”bought back for Godâ€”everything Adam and Eve betrayed into the hands of the devil. Therefore, Godâ€™s claim to the earth and its inhabitants is indisputable, thanks to Christ our Creator and Redeemer. As Jesus Himself emphatically affirmed, God has the legal right to â€œcast outâ€ (evict) â€œthe prince of this worldâ€ wherever he is now found trespassing.
The legal ground we kneel upon when praying for the lost is at the foot of the cross. From this blood stained soil we can legally cry out for the salvation of immortal souls and for Satanâ€™s eviction from menâ€™s lives. Nothing is more important in our prayers for the lost than our pleading of the blood. It is our pleading of the blood that proves Godâ€™s ownership of lost souls and forces the devil to vacate the premises.