I’ve heard a lot of people in the last few years talk about our identity in Christ, who we are in Him. They usually zero in on the power and authority of a Christian. They almost never mention the humility of a believer, nor do they mention the last will be first, and they never ever mention abiding in Jesus. Their main purpose is to stress the power and authority Jesus has supposedly given us. They are very appealing to people with the attitude of “What’s in it for me?”
They seem never to be interested in our walk with the living Christ. They just want us to know how much power and authority we supposedly have. I have said before that we don’t have the authority of Christ. I say this because it is not recorded as being so since the beginning of the church. Paul had much to say about the Christian life, but he never mentioned a thing about the authority of the believer. He did speak of his authority as an apostle, but he never even hinted of having the authority of Christ. Paul said the Spirit gives gifts to each person as He wills, and not every person has the same gifts. It seems to me that if every Christian has the authority of Christ, then every Christian would have all the gifts of the Spirit. Yet, the Word of God says otherwise.
With this in mind, please bear with me for a minute or two more. When Peter was questioned after the healing of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful he told the gathering crowd the man was healed on the basis of faith in the name of Jesus, Acts 3:16. The following day the rulers and elders and scribes asked Peter, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”, Acts 4:7. Peter replied that the man was healed by faith in the name of Jesus, vs. 10. Please notice Peter did not say a thing about his AUTHORITY in the name of Jesus, but merely said it was done by FAITH in the name of Jesus.
One would think that Peter, of all people, would have had the authority of Christ, but Peter didn’t mention it, nor has any other apostle ever mentioned it. Peter did have authority, but, as Paul, it was authority to build up the church. He had the authority of the office of the apostle, not the authority of Christ.
God gave Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth. Because of this we are able to preach the name above every other name, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.
I suggest to you that we do not need His authority today, we need only approach the throne of God in His name, and the gates of heaven will open wide for the simple reason that we believe in Jesus’ name, and we follow His commandments.
Dear friends, I have seen a man raised from the dead by nothing but faith in Jesus’ name; I have seen demons run at the mention of His name; I have seen many healings take place by nothing more than faith in the name of Jesus; and I have even witnessed weather storms change their direction through faith in the name of Jesus. I have seen many other things but I will stop with this: Everything I just mentioned were done by my faith in Jesus. They are things I personally experienced. I did not have, nor have I ever had, the authority of Christ.
Whether you believe I have seen these things, or not, matters not. Even if you think I am lying about them, I ask that you please don’t disregard the other parts of this letter. Please consider this also: If Christians have the authority of Christ, why did God not put the truth of it in the letters to the churches? It is one of the biggest and supposedly most important subjects being preached today, but it was never mentioned in the letters to the churches.
Thousands of people were following Jesus and He gave authority to only the twelve and seventy. He did not give them His authority. He gave them authority to accomplish what He was sending them out to do, which was to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and proclaim the kingdom of God was near. Jesus had not finished His ministry. He had not yet shed His blood and had not been crucified, buried, and raised from the dead, the veil of the Temple had not yet been torn in two, and the Holy Spirit had not yet been given. The kingdom of God had not yet come, it was only near. Therefore, in order to do what He wanted, they needed authority, otherwise they would not have been able to execute their assignment.
I submit to you that we don’t need the authority of Jesus, we only need Jesus. He is the Savior; He is the Conqueror, He is the King. Jesus has finished His ministry, the veil of the Temple has been torn in two, and the Holy Spirit has been given; we may now go straight to the throne of God and find grace to help in our times of need.
I’m inclined to believe that if those who say they have the authority of Christ were to ever see Him as He is now, they would never say it again. Having seen Jesus at least three times, I won’t so much as claim a promise in His name, much less suppose I am equal with Him in any way, authority or otherwise.
Finally, it is my experience that most people who want authority seem to want it to change their circumstances, but followers of Jesus submit to God in each circumstance and, trusting in Jesus, they learn the lessons contained in each circumstance. This is called walking by the Spirit; it is following the example of Jesus and learning obedience from the things which we suffer, Hebrews 5:8. “The Spirit Himself bears witness 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 in order that we may also be glorified with Him,” Romans 8:16,17.
The grace of the Father be with all followers of Jesus.