Understanding Our Authority in Christ
The body of Christ must come to a greater understanding of our authority in Christ. Only as we do so will we fully reveal Him on earth as His authorized church. All believers have the same level of authority regarding access to the Father and receiving the full benefits of Christ’s redemption. They do not all possess equal levels of representative authority. I hope to bring some understanding of this.
This is a fairly in-depth teaching. Most of the time, I endeavor to write posts that can be listened to even with the distractions of driving, housework, etc., in a sense, instructional devotionals that inform and lead up to prayer. This is a deeper teaching. If at all possible, try to find a quiet time and place to listen. Some will study it; others will teach this material. To help you, I have included 29 Scripture references (though I won’t take the time to read most of them) and several Greek and Hebrew words. First of all, let’s review:
In last week’s posts, I pointed out that when it comes to spiritual control of the earth, power has never been the determining factor. God’s power is and always will be infinitely superior to all other beings. Authority, the right to control, is the issue.
In Genesis 1:26-28 Yahweh stated that Adam was being given dominion here on earth. The Hebrew word adam (Strongs 120) literally means “humans” – humankind was being given dominion over the earth. Psalm 115:16 says, “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord; the earth He has given to the sons of men.” “Given” is the word nathan (Strongs 5414), which means “to give an assignment.” “Men” is the word adam. This verse is saying that God will take care of the heavens, but the earth He has assigned to humans.
Yahweh honors His Word. He did so when Adam surrendered this authority to satan, and when recovering this lost dominion, He also honored it. The Savior, who would redeem humankind and take back their authority on earth, would have to be human, a member of the human race. God so honors His Word that to redeem us demanded the incarnation of Christ. Jesus became human. He is now and forever the Son of God and Son of Man. There is no greater love!
This God-man, Christ, DID recover Adam’s lost authority. He now possesses, not only God’s authority, but regained the first Adam’s surrendered authority, as well. This is why Jesus said after the Cross, “All authority is now given to Me, both in heaven AND ON EARTH,” (Matthew 28:18-19). Christ took it all; satan lost it all.
However, God is still honoring His original decision to rule and work on earth through people. Therefore, Christ needs humans here on earth through whom to release and exercise His authority. These humans are His body, the church. He provides them the authority, Holy Spirit provides the power.
Authority is the right to rule or perform an activity; power is the strength or force needed to do so. Some illustrate this through a police officer. His badge is his authority; his gun is his power. Authority controls and releases power; power backs up and enforces authority.
Authority is also a representation. This word literally means “to re-present” or “present again.” One to whom authority has been given represents the one who delegated it, “presenting again” their will, wishes, laws, etc. A police officer doesn’t say, “I have decided that you aren’t allowed to drive this fast.” She says, “The law [decided and declared by the city, county, or state she represents] states that you cannot drive this fast.” She represents the will and authority of another.
PRINCIPLES OF AUTHORITY
Let’s look at the subject of authority in a little more depth. Spiritual authority involves 1) different facets, 2) different spheres, and 3) different measures. First, let’s look at two facets of spiritual authority. They are (and you’ve already seen these words) our rights and our responsibility.
Our rights involve our inheritance in Christ as His bride, His body, and His family. As such, He made us His joint-heirs (Romans 8:17). In His name or authority, every believer has an equal right to enter heaven’s throne room anytime and ask for this provision (John 14:13,14, 26; 15:16; 16:23; Hebrews 4:16). All believers have the right to ask for every blessing provided for ourselves and our families through Christ’s redemption (Ephesians 1:3). We have the right to resist the works and activities of all demons that oppose us (James 4:7), and the right to complete protection from them (1 John 5:18).
We also have the right, in Christ’s name, to involve ourselves in priestly intercession, petitioning heaven for others to receive these benefits (Matthew 5:44; Ephesians 6.18; Colossians 1:9; 1 Timothy 2:1; James 5:16; and more).
However, our authority in Christ also comes with responsibility as His Ekklesia. Many are still not aware that the word translated “church” in Matthew 16:18-19 (“I will build my church”) is ekklesia (Strong’s 1577), a word meaning a legislative, governing body. Christ was stating that His body, His family, would have the authority to represent His kingdom on the earth. This authority is pictured in the passage by “keys”. In this capacity, all believers do not possess the same level of authority. Our level is determined by our maturity (and our assignment, which we will look at in a later post).
A person with representational authority derives it from the one who sent them. Just as Christ represented the Father who sent Him, we represent Christ who sent us (John 20:21). Jesus operated in the Father’s authority, we operate in Christ’s.
This facet of authority involves our kingly ministries and activities, including intercession. It doesn’t involve priestly petitions offered heavenward for ourselves and others, but royal decrees issued earthward, enforcing the will of the King. With this authority, we command His Kingdom rule and will into the earth (Matthew 6:10). We are seated with Christ in His seat of authority (Ephesians 2:6), and from there, we release His authority over principalities and powers (Ephesians 3:10).
This is not the church functioning simply as a bride or family, asking for their promised benefits; this is the Ekklesia, those who possess the keys to the kingdom, authority to bind and loose, representing the King and His Kingdom against the powers of darkness. This is who Christ said the gates of hell can’t prevail against (Matthew 16:18-19)! These are those who reign in life by Christ Jesus (Romans 5:17), the “more than conquerors” army (Romans 8:17)!
Romans, chapter 8, contrasts these two facets of authority – rights versus responsibility. Verses 16-17 tell us, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him,” (Romans 8:16-17 NASB).
This verse refers to the “rights” aspect of our authority. Holy Spirit, through Paul, uses the Greek word teknon (Strongs 5043) in referring to us as God’s “children” and, therefore, His heirs. The word describes a family member not yet fully grown and matured, nevertheless possessing the full rights and benefits of the family.
In verse 14, however, Holy Spirit uses a different but very important Greek word, huios (Strongs 5207), in referring to the “sons” of God: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” A huios was a fully matured child, now ready for sonship, mature enough to run the family business. He was then given full authority to operate in the family’s name. (Don’t think of this as a gender issue, ladies. I’m part of Christ’s “bride;” you can be a “son.” In this regard, there is no male or female in Christ.)
This passage in Romans 8 tells us the earth is groaning, waiting – not for God’s children – but for mature “sons,” those mature enough to be “led by the Spirit of God.” These sons of God know His Word and ways, carry His heart, and can be led by His Spirit, enabling them to re-present Christ, not just themselves. These mature believers can exercise great authority and possess great influence, even discipling nations and bringing healing to the “groaning” earth. The entire family, even the children, enjoys the rights, blessings, and benefits of being in the family. But mature sons and daughters can carry greater responsibility, re-presenting Christ’s will on earth.
During the past several decades, the body of Christ has matured much in her bridal, familial, and priestly roles. We progressed greatly in increasing God’s family, fellowship with and teaching one another, and in our worship of God. We learned more about our rights and benefits as redeemed children of God. This has prepared us for a greater understanding of our responsibility as Christ’s Ekklesia. We are not as mature in this governing facet of authority; many do not understand what it means to be His Ekklesia. But this phase of restoration in the church will now go to new levels in the lives of millions of believers, resulting in much higher levels of authority. A church the gates of hell cannot prevail against will now emerge.