The Authority of Christ

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Jesus, just before He ascended to the Father, said: ” All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Mathew 28:18). By this He meant that God had given to Him the right to exercise all authority in matters pertaining to heaven and to the earth. It is under Christ’s authority that we serve God today. What Jesus has spoken, both in the Gospels and through His representatives in the rest of the New Testament, is the law by which we live as Christians today. We serve God through Christ and by doing Christ’s will we do the will of God. Often we say that we seek to do God’s will, but more literally, we are doing the will of Christ, which is the same as and does not differ at all from the will of God.

Jesus also said: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (John 12:48-50). This is a profound passage that lets us know that Jesus and the Father are one and whatever the will of the Father is, Jesus carries it our, speaking only that which God has told him to speak.

When Jesus was transfigured before three Apostles, they saught to build a tabernacle to Moses, Elijah and Jesus, but God speaking out of a cloud said:  “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Luke 9:35). By this we know that God “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” (Hebrews 1:2). It is the words of Christ that will judge us at the last day and those words we must live by to be pleasing unto God. Christ has the authority to rule as king over us, as given to Him by God.

Jesus is also head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22,23). We need no other head but Him and, in accordance with the scriptures, reject all human institutions that seek to  exercise religious authority other that of Christ. We do not accept a Pope, or Cardinals, or Priests, or even any institution to centralize or otherwise organize individual Churches in ways contrary to the way they are portrayed in the New Testament. Each Church is autonomous and under its own authority as exercised by elders, which are authorized by scripture (1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5;1 Peter 5:5; etc.). Any organization except that authorized by Christ through the New Testament, you will not find in true Churches of Christ today.

This is because Christ is ultimately and intimately the head of the Church, His kingdom, and He rules the Church and its member, individual Christians, with the authority that was given to Him by the father at the end of His earthly ministry. Remember, the will of Christ and the will of God are one, so to do the will of Christ today is to do the will of God.

We also approach God in prayer through the authority of, or in the name of, Christ. Ephesians 5:20 says: “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (see also Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus is our High Priest and our only priest for today by which we may have access to God and boldly approach His throne. So we should always be careful to pray in the name and by the authority of our Savior, Christ.

We are baptized in the name of Christ (Acts 19:5). This is because we are required by Christ (and thus, God), to obey Him in baptism for the remission of our sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). When we do so, it is by the authority of Christ that we are forgiven of our sins and able to stand pure and holy as saints before our God. If you have not obeyed Christ in baptism, you should do so while you are able to do so. Once this life is over it will be too late. (Please see “Plan Of Salvation” through link above and take the time to read and study the steps as discussed under the category of the same name to the right on this website.

May God bless and keep you until next time.

 

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