All Authority Is In Christ

(Colossians 3:1-17)

Paul instructed us that we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God.  Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, ascended and sat down on His Father’s throne.  Jesus spoke those words to His servant John as He revealed Himself to John while he was in exile on Patmos.  Do you feel alone, exiled from the comfort of earthly family and friends, even from familiar brothers and sisters in Christ?  Christ Jesus wants to reveal Himself to you in that place.  Seek Him.  Turn your attention to Him.

I started with the fact that we are dead.  Without Christ, we are dead in our sins.  Sins.  Those acts, thoughts, ways of living that are not aligned with the One who made us.  Paul gave a more basic definition.  Whatever is not of faith is sin.  Unbelief is sin and is the basis of so much of our human failures.  We must believe and continue to believe on and in, and into Christ.  God has placed us into Christ and we are now seated with Him in the heavenly realms.  In that place, we have authority in His name.  Many years ago I came to understand that His name is not a charm to be brought into our situations to manipulate.  Eli’s sons, undisciplined young men, led Israel into a defeat thinking they could bring the ark of God’s covenant with them to grant victory.  They knew nothing of the Lord and were destroyed.

Real authority comes by knowing the Lord Jesus firsthand.  That is the only way to true victory.  We overcome by His blood, the words out of our mouths, and that we are not afraid of loss including our earthly lives.  That is my personal amplified version of that passage in Revelation.  His blood is the full measure of His covenant with us.  Authority, true authority comes out of covenant relationship with the Lord Jesus.  He gave His life, His blood to establish a covenant with us at a table of fellowship.  Remember that last meal He shared before His death?  Remember also that only His closest disciples were at that meal.  But now, by His Spirit poured out on all flesh, every person, man, woman, and child has the opportunity to come to Christ and become a disciple and enter into true covenant relationship with the Son of God.

As we go on following Him, heavenly authority will be given us to do good, to heal, to deliver people from addictions, even to raise the dead.  He has not stopped performing cures and miracles through His true servants.  He also continues to work through earthly authorities but, according to His wisdom, foreknowledge and plan for human history, earthly authority is breaking down.  The image Nebuchadnezzar saw had feet of iron and clay.  That is the time we live in.  To me, not much iron is left.  It’s mostly just clay.  God still works through earthly authority to perfect His people.

Consider Jesus.  A moment came where He was told that Herod wanted to see Him.  He knew an earlier Herod had wanted to kill Him when He was an infant.  That may or may not have been part of the motivation, but He, the Lord, responded this way.  “Tell that fox that today and tomorrow I perform cures (healings and miracles) and the third day I am perfected.”  How much is in those words!  Our Father used the Roman system, Pilate and the soldiers, to lift up the Savior, as part of this perfection process.  But more was to be done as on the third day.  We see Jesus perfected, resurrected, as the firstborn from the dead.  Ultimately, this is the perfection we, as believers, are all being brought to, that is, to the redemption of our bodies, to a spiritual body.

Our brother Watchman Nee gave a series of messages, compiled in a book titled “Spiritual Authority”.  He addresses earthly as well as heavenly authority.  Consider all the authorities we find ourselves under in this life.  Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered.  I heard an excellent teaching years ago regarding that word, “suffering.”  The old King James version includes this from Jesus, “Suffer the little children to come to me.”  That word means allow.  Jesus allowed John to baptize Him.  Jesus bore with the opposition of the Pharisees and with the blindness of the Sadducees, Herodians, and Essenes.  His ultimate suffering allowed the destruction of His mortal flesh.  He tasted death for every man.  We understand that for each of His servants, the Lord cuts short physical suffering.  He gives grace to bear it.  In His suffering, Christ won victory over death itself and was raised with an incorruptible body.

We will receive the same, that is, an incorruptible body.  That is reason to rejoice and look forward.  Yet I have found that if that is only a doctrine, a concept we have heard, it will not carry us.  We must have, we need, a present refreshing of His presence.  We learn to rely on His Spirit within.  “I have a friend, the Spirit breathing holy fire within, my ever-present help, speaking truth when I can’t find it.”  Thanks to a sister from Hillsong for those words.

Jesus has sat down at the right hand of our Father and says, “All authority has been given me in heaven and earth.”  He reigns above all principalities and powers, and every other name.  As we are continually being filled with His Spirit, He is imparting to us authority to overcome in every situation for our own souls and for those around us.  This walk of overcoming requires a constant connection with that One who calls us to come boldly to His throne of grace.  No true authority is exercised apart from His true grace.