authority of God
4) authority of the Son
You alone are the
Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry
host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.
You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
God the Son: the executor of authority.
It is Jesus Christ,
as God the Son, who possesses the ultimate statement of authority: the executor
of God's judgment. As the Messiah of the Old Testament was prophesied to
do, Jesus came to die for our sins. As the Old and New Testament both prophesy,
Jesus will come once more, but this time to destroy everything that opposes
his authority. He will sit in judgment of humanity and set up a new world
in which he and those living in harmony with his authority will live forever.
do we know that Jesus possesses this authority?
We know it by the fact
that God the Father raised Jesus to life again after his crucifixion. That
was proof of his worthiness of authority. We also know Jesus possesses this
- Jesus is the Messiah,
- the Messiah is equivalent
in authority to God the Father, and
- Jesus very clearly
laid claim to that authority.
1.) Jesus is the divine Messiah (Christ).
do we know this? Jesus unmistakably claimed to be the
The woman said,
"I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything
to us." Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." (John 4:25,
Jesus claimed to be
the fulfillment of Scripture which was the role of the Messiah:
Do not think that
I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish
them but to fulfill them." (Mat. 5:17 NIV)
Even others recognized
Jesus to be the Messiah:
Philip found Nathanael
and told him, 'We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and
about whom the prophets also wrote-- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.'
(John 1:45 NIV)
2.) Jesus has authoritative equivalence to the Father.
Jesus plainly stated
Philip said, 'Lord,
show us the Father and that will be enough for us.' Jesus answered: 'Don't
you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:8-9a NIV).
Even Jesus' enemies
noted that he expressed equivalence to the Father:
When Jesus saw
their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." The Pharisees
and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this
fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone? (Luke
Additionally, as the
Father and the Spirit are referred to as the Giver of eternal life,
so did Jesus describe himself:
study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal
life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to
come to me to have life. (John 5:39, 40 NIV).
Jesus also claimed
to be the embodiment of life itself, as well as claimed to be synonymous
with the Father:
'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From
now on, you do know him and have seen him'" (John 14:6, 7 NIV).
3.) Jesus declares he is the executor of God's judgment over mankind.
Jesus clearly states
his authority to judge comes directly from the Father:
Moreover, the Father
judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,... I tell you
the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal
life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
(John 5:22, 24 NIV)
This authority which
Jesus claims is both complete and all-encompassing:
Then Jesus came
to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given
to me'" (Mat. 28:18 NIV);
The Father loves
the Son and has placed everything in his hands." (John 3:35 NIV)
Jesus is not only the
executor of God's judgment, he is personally identified as the judge
before whom everyone will answer for their life:
He commanded us
to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed
as judge of the living and the dead." (Acts 10:42 NIV)
On that judgment day,
each of our words and actions will be revealed before God:
This will take
place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ,
as my gospel declares. (Rom. 2:16 NIV)
2.6 The Bible's most frightening passage.
The preceding paragraphs
illustrated the Bible's case for the authority of God. If one rejects the
authority of God after reading this, it could be that I have failed to persuade
(most likely) or that one rejects God for other reasons. If, however, one
professes to acknowledge God's authority, there remains a verse to carefully
Many people on the day
they die will experience the absolute horror of discovering that their good
deeds, church attendance, or wonderful lives completely missed the point
of existing in a living and personal relationship with the Lord. Jesus explains,
Not everyone who
says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he
who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on
that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name
drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly,
'I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!' (Mat. 7:21-23 NIV)
This last passage is
very frightening for those who recognize Scripture as God's true Word. It
speaks of people who were certain of their standing before God, but suddenly
learn that they had only deceived themselves. While it is possible to be
truly saved, and know you're saved, it is also possible to be self-deceived.
Consider this comparison:
Self-deception is much
like a husband or wife who has spent excessive time at the office at the
expense of being with their family. The excessive work effort may have been
genuinely made for the purpose of pleasing and providing for their family,
but at the end of a long and thought-to-be successful career, they are sued
for divorce. They discover, too late, that their family was dying of loneliness
for them every extra minute they were gone.
Their family actually
despised every expensive gift the extra work paid for because the overworking
spouse was never there to enjoy it with them. The family had not wanted
the gifts so much as they had wanted the giver. The gifts were nice...
as gifts, but were hollow replacements for what should have been a lifetime
of growing closer together.
In the same way, the
Creator is even more jealous for our affections. God is not as interested
in what we can do for him, or in what we can outwardly give him, as much
as he is primarily interested in seeing us inwardly embody his own characteristics.
We are then to outwardly express those characteristics to one another through
the living-out of our lives. As God states, "For I desire mercy, not
sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings" (Hosea
6:6 NIV). In God's
case, we can't really give him anything which he doesn't already have except
Perhaps some readers
have professed faith in Christ so long ago or shown so little evidence of
it that they feel the need to do something to make it up to God. Perhaps
others have only recently professed faith and have done nothing to live
out the life of Christ. Perhaps still others are contemplating belief even
now. For all these readers I have a shocking piece of advice: Don't do anything
for God...until you have acquainted or re-acquainted yourself with him.
Enter the Lord's presence
in his written word, in prayer, and in quiet concentration on his principles
as they apply to your various life situations. If you do this, then he will
provide you the opportunity and direction for the actions you may take.
You don't need any programs, or cold-as-dead formulae for living, or even
this site. The Lord is alive and can himself impress upon you direction
in the ways you should go.
NEXT: The authority of the Bible
Biblical authority and humanity
Conclusion: A story of the S.S.