On May 7, 1945, in Reims, France (and a few hours later in Berlin), Admiral von Friedeburg, General Jodl, Field Marshall Keitel and General Stumpff, representatives of the German High Command, signed the instrument of unconditional surrender in the presence of the British, Soviet, French and American Allied Forces High Command.
Later that same year, on Sept. 2, 1945, on the deck of the USS Missouri before the Supreme Allied Command, on behalf of Emperor Hirohito of the Japanese Empire, Mamoru Shigemitsu attached his signature to the instrument of unconditional surrender. Yoshijiro Umezu, chief of the General Staff of the Imperial Japanese Army, subsequently countersigned it.
The Axis Powers and the Japanese Empire absolutely and unconditionally surrendered themselves and yielded themselves to the mercy and judgment of the Allied Forces who had conquered them.
Unconditional surrender is not an easy state of mind to bring into being. Someone must come to really see that he (or she) has been totally and absolutely conquered and that his only choices are unconditional surrender, imprisonment or death.
Members of the Body of Jesus Christ, or those who are in the process of coming to conversion and baptism, understand or are coming to understand that they have been conquered, bought and paid for, and have become a bond slave of Jesus Christ.
Of course, Jesus Christ is our Elder Brother, our High Priest, our Healer, our Chief Shepherd, our Friend, our Hiding Place and our Savior.
However, Jesus Christ is also our Master, our Lord and the soon-coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords to whom we, at baptism, have unconditionally surrendered, placing our individual lives into His loving, capable and merciful hands. He has bought and paid for us—ransomed us from the death penalty that we have earned and deserve—by giving His very life through His sacrifice for all of mankind.
We have been defeated—God let Satan test us to see if we would sin, and we lost. We earned the penalty of death. When we realized that, we truly saw that we were conquered, but have we truly and unconditionally surrendered to God, Jesus Christ, God's government, God's laws and God's way of life?
This is a question we must be asking ourselves every day for as long as we live.
What is the ultimate purpose and result of our unconditional surrender?
God requires the unconditional surrender of those He calls. Remember, before our calling and repentance we were enemies of God and God's way of life (Romans 5:6-10). Bear in mind as well that our human nature is exactly opposite and opposed to God and His way (Romans 8:1-8). The Greek word translated "enmity" in verse 7 is echthra, and means hostility, opposition and hatred.
After God the Father calls a person out of this world, each individual must come to a point that he is willing to do anything and everything required by God in order to obey Him. When God the Father initially called us out of this world, we studied and prayed daily for forgiveness and asked God to grant us repentance and baptism. We counseled with God's ministers. We began the process of unconditional surrender to God and God's government as outlined in His Word—the Bible. We were then baptized.
We must now continue to live a life of unconditional surrender to God with the same zeal and commitment we had when God first called us. And, as we shall see, there is a very great reason and purpose that God is working out in each one of us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Also, God does not expect any more of us than He has expected from all of those He has called out of this world from the beginning.
Abraham Proves His Surrender
Let's first look at Abraham. When God called him out of his native land to move his entire estate to the foreign land of Canaan, he simply obeyed with no "yes, buts," "whys" or "do I have tos." Abraham simply obeyed (Genesis 12:1-9).
Later, when God tested Abraham, asking him to offer up his son Isaac—the one who had been miraculously conceived with his beloved wife Sarah—again Abraham obeyed (Genesis 22:1-19). Abraham obeyed because he was unconditionally surrendered to God. Of course, God spared the life of Isaac and provided a proper animal sacrifice for Abraham to offer. However, before God told Abraham not to slay Isaac, Isaac was as good as sacrificed in Abraham's mind.
Abraham also knew that God's promises were to be fulfilled through Isaac and his offspring, and that God would be able to resurrect Isaac in order to fulfill His promises. Abraham's mind's eye was focused on the future, the Kingdom of God, where the promises would ultimately be fulfilled (Hebrews 11:17-19).
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego
Daniel's friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego are another example of individuals who were unconditionally surrendered to God. When King Nebuchadnezzar had a 90-foot-tall golden image erected in the middle of Babylon and required all to bow down and worship the image whenever they heard all the instruments play, they absolutely disobeyed. By rejecting the king's command, they incurred the death penalty in a fiery furnace.
When the political yes-men brought Daniel's friends before the king and accused them of not bowing down to the idol, the king was outraged. His veins began enlarging around his neck and his face began to turn red in anger. When the king asked Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego if the accusations were true, they answered the king in this way: "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up" (Daniel 3:16-18).
At that, the king became outraged beyond comprehension, his face now turned to a shade of purple and the veins on his neck and forehead bulged out. He commanded that the fiery furnace be heated seven times hotter than normal. The king then ordered some of his mightiest men to throw Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego into the fiery furnace. The furnace now was so hot that it killed these mighty men as they threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego into the furnace.
However, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego did not burn up at all. In fact, when the king was able to look into the furnace he saw four men, not three, with the fourth looking "like the Son of God" (Daniel 3:25).
The king then promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego to high governmental positions in Babylon and gave praise and honor, saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!" (Daniel 3:28).
Beyond showing their faith, obedience and giving the king a tremendous witness of God's power, there was a much greater purpose and goal for Daniel's three friends. Their hearts were firmly fixed on the Kingdom of God and their future positions as spirit beings, servant leaders in the Kingdom (Revelation 1:6).
The Ultimate Example
Finally, we have the example of our Savior and soon-coming King, Jesus Christ.
Just before His arrest, which led to His ultimate sacrifice for all of mankind, Jesus and His disciples went to the garden to pray. And Jesus Christ went off by Himself and prayed for guidance and for the strength He would need to go through the trial He would face during the remainder of His life on earth as a human being.
He asked God that if it were possible, if the Father were willing, that the trial He faced could be removed from Him. He prayed so fervently to God the Father that His sweat was as "great drops of blood" (Luke 22:44). Yet Jesus Christ prayed, "Not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:41-42).
Jesus Christ was unconditionally surrendered to God the Father and the Father's will. Jesus Christ was not only surrendered, He was totally obedient to God the Father: "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). Because of His commitment to being unconditionally surrendered to God, He has become our Savior, High Priest and the soon-coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
A Higher Purpose
What then is the purpose for your and my unconditional surrender to God? Is it just so we will be good and obedient children while we are here as human beings? Or is our unconditional surrender for a much higher purpose?
After Jesus Christ was baptized, and following His battle with Satan the devil, the first thing He did was preach the good news of the Kingdom of God. He came saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15).
He explained to His disciples that after His sacrifice and death He was going to prepare a place, offices of servant leadership, for those who would be called to follow Him and His way of life. "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-3).
Certainly Jesus Christ, our Savior, paid the penalty of death earned by every member of the human race since creation. And through this sacrifice, those God the Father calls and who then truly repent and are baptized are granted the free gift of unmerited pardon and eternal life.
However, the ultimate purpose—the end result of our unconditional surrender—is to be of the greatest service to God and humanity in the Kingdom of God as members of the family of God.
The apostle Paul fought hard battles daily, as we must, against the pulls of human nature, the temptations in the world and the darts of Satan the devil (Philippians 3:8-15). Paul further tells us to look to things on a much higher plane than what we currently see on earth. "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:1-2).
Let's continue to strive daily to remain unconditionally surrendered to God and His way of life so we will receive the awesome potential God has set aside and prepared for you and for me in the Kingdom of God. UN
This article previously appeared in the April/May 2004 issue of Virtual Christian Magazine (on the Web at www.vcmagazine.org).