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Monday, June 20, 2016

Divine Authority in the Church

 Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,  baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..." (Matthew 28)

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Both "authority" and "power" are used fairly evenly in the Bible as rendering of the Greek word exousia. The two concepts are related, and often both appear to make the meaning clearer. Clearly, authority without power to enforce the rights of authority is useless. Power without the authority or right to use it is destructive and immoral.

All power and authority in Heaven and on Earth rightfully belongs to God as the Creator and Almighty Judge of all creation. Heaven as the dwelling place and throne of God is the only suitable place for the exercise of the divine authority. Jesus is seated there at the Father's right hand, making intercession for us.

While on Earth, the Lord Jesus exercised complete divine authority and power. He is the God-Man who conquered death and ushered in eternal life, having eliminated the penalty and corruption of sins (Rom 7:23–8:29). His power and authority has not yet been fully accomplished on the Earth. 1 Corinthians 15:23–28 makes this clear:

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

The Great Commission is given to the Church with the same power and authority that Jesus has with the Father, one God, eternally existent. Divine authority and power are given to the Church to bring men into willing subjection through discipleship. The Great Commission provides direction for spoiling Satan’s dominion. Satan's power has already been broken by Christ’s work (1 Cor 15:1–4).

Jesus’ battle plan is to work in partnership with Him to capture a people for His kingdom (Titus 2:11–14). It’s method of operation is “the weapons of our warfare... casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Cor 10:4, 5).

The arena of battle is the mind, heart, and soul. The believing disciple who receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is given the honor of serving God with divine authority.

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