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Authority in Christ

by Jeff Davidson

When we look at our situation, we realise that we are far from living out God's plans for our lives. Of course we need more of Him, so we demand more of His power. However we must think about our request.

Two things occur to us:

  1. is God late?

  2. is it up to us to enter into what He has accomplished?

Then we can ask the Lord: 'Send more of your power for what you have sent is not enough', or 'Work in my life so that I can enter into your power!'

Our way of thinking is going to change our relationship with the Lord. It will be one of two things, either we make Him responsible for what we lack, or we take hold of the 'all is accomplished'' of Jesus for ourselves.

"But you will receive power [dunamis] when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

If we have received the Holy Spirit, we already have the power we need. Our need is more a need for authority, i.e. the authorisation to use this power.

Relationship between power and authority

In Genesis 1, it is the creation:

"The earth was without form and void; there was darkness over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the waters" (Genesis 1:2).

We see that the Spirit of God was moving over the waters. He was brooding over the earth as a hen does over her chicks. But the Holy Spirit was waiting for something. He was waiting for the word of God in order to act. "God said", and the authority was released. The Holy Spirit then moved with power on the word of God. For where there is the authority of God, there is the power; power always follows authority.

"One day Jesus was teaching... and the power [dunamis] of the Lord was made manifest through healings. And behold, some people, carrying on a litter a man who was paralysed were seeking to get him in and to place him in His sight. As they did not know where to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up onto the roof, and they lowered him down through an opening, with his bed, into the midst of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said: 'Man, your sins are forgiven you'. The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason and to say: 'Who is this, who utters blasphemies? Who is able to forgive sins, if not God alone?' Jesus, knowing their thoughts, began to speak and said to them: 'What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is the easier, to say: Your sins are forgiven you or to say: Rise up, and walk? Now, in order that you may know that the Son of Man has power [exousia, authority] on the earth to forgive sins: for your sake I will give the order, He said to the paralytic, 'Arise, take up your bed, and return to your home'..." (Luke 5:17-26).

The power of God was present to heal everyone, unfortunately, only one was healed. Jesus saw the faith of the paralytic's friends who did not hesitate to open the roof of the house to get their friend down into it. Jesus liked that, not the Pharisees who judged that this act was not "politically correct". Jesus likes boldness. He likes it when we go beyond a refusal; we see the same thing also with Bartemeus who cried out to Jesus when the others were telling him to be quiet (Mark 10:46-52).

In Genesis 1, the power was there for Jesus was here in authority.

Connection between power and authority

In Luke 5:24, the Greek word exousia means authority more than power. Jesus has authority on the earth and power follows on from it. In the authority of God, to heal or to forgive are the same. The power of God has the capability for all things. Power follows on from authority, the power was there for Jesus was there with authority.

Jesus healed this man so that we may know that the Son of Man has authority on the earth because it has been given to men. As a result, if we stand with this authority which comes from Jesus, we shall live in the same power for we are sons of man. If we believe in God, then everything is possible.

"For as the Father has the life in Himself, thus He has given to the Son also to have the life in Himself; and He has given Him authority [exousia] also to judge, because He is the Son of Man" (John 5:26-27 Darby).

The authority was given to Jesus because He was the Son of Man. The Judgement of God has two facets: we see it first of all in the aspect of God's anger, but there is the positive side, for example, you will be saved you and all your household. A judgement is a decision, not a punishment. It is set against the love of God, that can also be healing.

"The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim a year of the Lord's grace (favour)" (Luke 4:18-19 and Isaiah 61:1-2).

The good judgement of God is salvation, it is the fact that He has sent His Son. Jesus was there to accomplish the will of God and His judgements because He was the Son of Man.

"Then God [Elohim] said: 'Let us make man in our own image, according to our likeness, and that he may have dominion [radah, govern, reign as sovereign] over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the earth, and over all the reptiles that crawl over the earth" (Genesis 1:26).

"Elohim" is "God" in the plural and He says: "Let us make man in our own image and that he may have authority (the authority of God)". Without authority we lack the image of God, the Church lacks God's authority.

"God created man in His own image, He created him in the image of God,He created him male and female" (Genesis 1:27).

God created man male and female. He created more than Adam, He created humanity. And man was created to have dominion (to have authority) over all the works of His hands (Psalm 8:4-6).

Adam lost his authority at the fall but that did not change God's plans by means of which he had given authority to have dominion. Adam did not exercise his authority in relation to Eve, and he therefore lost that authority. If we do not use the authority which is imparted to us, we will systematically lose it. It is in this way that Adam gave his authority to Satan.

In Luke 4:5-6, in the course of the temptation in the wilderness, we see that authority has been given to Satan. Jesus knows it but uses the Word to put Satan in his place. He proclaimed the Word of God to overcome the situation. If men have lost the authority they have the Word of God; the authority is in His Word according to the Old Covenant, and the authority is in us according to the New Covenant, because of Jesus who lives in us. Authority resides in us because Jesus resides in us.

The authority taken back by Jesus

"I am the first and the last, the One who is alive. I was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore. I hold the keys of death and Hades" (Revelation 1:18).

Jesus has taken back the keys from Satan, therefore He has taken all authority over Hell and over death. The keys represent authority, that is why we have the power to bind and to loose for Jesus possesses the keys (Matthew 16:18-19, the authority to bind and to loose on the earth that which has already been accomplished in the heavenlies).

Let us get a good understanding of the authority of God in order to live in its power. Without the authority how are we to be in His image? From Genesis 3:15 onwards, God announces the coming of Jesus to take back the authority. Under the Old Covenant, the authority resided in the Word of God; when men obeyed it they were living out its authority for it was coming in them. Now, thanks to the New Covenant, we can continually move forward in this authority and experience it, for Jesus is alive and possesses the keys.

In God's creation, no provision was foreseen for death; death found its way into creation with the sin of Adam (Romans 5:12).

"And Jesus, coming near, spoke to them, saying, All authority [exousia] is given to Me in Heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18 Darby).

Jesus was crucified and after three days, He look back the keys, and so He took back all authority from Satan. He tells us to go with His Authority for it has been given to us, it is for us (Matthew 28:19-20).

In Ephesians 1:17-23 the apostle Paul prays so that we may know three things:

  1. the hope of our calling, and there is one for each of us,

  2. the fullness of the glory of our inheritance,

  3. the infinite greatness of His power [dunamis] which is at work on our behalf.

This power which raised Christ from the dead and which caused Jesus to sit above all authorities, was not present at the time of Jesus, but it is available today for the Church. It has put all things under the feet of Jesus, it is the beginning of the Body of Christ. Jesus is the Head, we are His Body; we are the fullness of Jesus. Without us the fullness is not complete, for without his Body Jesus Christ is not whole.

Jesus is above, and His position of authority was already reserved before the foundation of the world. By nature we were dead, sinners, rebels and enemies of God (Ephesians 2:1-3). But God has made us alive in Christ, and He has made us sit in heavenly places in Christ; we therefore benefit from His authority (Ephesians 2:4-7). Our position is to be seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Father.

"For as the body is one and has several members, and as all of the members of the body, in spite of their number, only make up one body so is it in Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:12).

The head has need of the body to express its authority. Jesus is the Christ, and we are Christ. We are all Christ (collectively). Without His Body, Christ is not complete. Jesus represents man (as God intended him to be), and Christ represents Jesus + the Church.

A new name

"This is why also God has sovereignly raised Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in the heavens, on the earth and 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).

Because He has become man, because He has humbled Himself and because He has been obedient (Philippians 2:5-8), Jesus has received the Name (title) which is above every name with respect to his new position (exalted by God). This name was reserved for Him, He has become Lord, and this name contains the attributes of God: "Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:5).

When we pray it is in the Names which belong to Jesus and which have all authority ("and the domination [mishra, the authority] will rest upon His shoulder" Isaiah 9:5). That is why we pray in the Name of Jesus; and so we pray all that this Name represents.

We have received something precious: the Name of Jesus, in order to use it in our prayers. And so Peter was able to say: "that which I have, I give to you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk" (Acts 3:6). Jesus is our tutor, He gives us His authority to sign and proclaim in His Name. Jesus has obtained this Name (which is) more excellent than the angels by means of His inheritance (Hebrews 1:4).

As a result, while being a child of God, we are coheirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). And the Spirit that was upon Jesus when he was sent (Luke 4:18), is upon us when He sends us with His anointing to accomplish His mission (John 17:18). The aim of Jesus is to see His sons enter into His glory and into His abundant life.

Bringing into reality what is accomplished is of the greatest importance

"But you will receive power [dunamis], when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

We must start by establishing this authority in our own lives; that is to start with Jerusalem (the Shalom, peace with God) or our own sphere before widening our field of action. Our old man must first of all be buried, this is already crucified since it is dead in the waters of baptism. We must take authority over the old man, as we do for the enemy; for the old man is the son of the devil.

Let us pray so that the Holy Spirit reveals our old man for we must no longer leave him the possibility of living. The more we establish the authority of Christ in our own lives or our own sphere, the more we will be able to expand. According to 2 Corinthians 10:13-14, we have a field of activities with governance and boundaries. When we are effective in an area in establishing the authority of God, our field will be expanded. Let us work with Jesus, for without Him we can do nothing, and without us He will not act.

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