Of Authority and Christians

C H U R C H   R E F O R M    S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

The word Authority comes from the Latin word Auctor which means Father, Producer, and Progenitor. Therefore, the very idea of Authority requires an Authority Figure who establishes his rule by producing and enforcing laws that ultimately fit his purpose.

God is the Father, Progenitor, and Producer of all seen and unseen things. He is the One to whom we must look in order to understand and apply the laws He has stipulated for us to follow.

Jesus on trial

His laws touch every sphere of life: family, workplace, church (assembly), and earthly secular governments.

FAMILY AUTHORITY

The following two verses are the most important in the whole bible as pertained to the alignment of heavenly and earthly authority.

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your Father and Mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6: 1-3

1) The head of woman is man, not Jesus. The head of an unmarried woman is her father or the elder son if dad is deceased. The head of a married woman is her husband or whomever the husband puts in charge after his passing, usually the elder son who has the right of the firstborn.

“He shall acknowledge… the firstborn (male), by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.” Deuteronomy 21:17

For example, Jesus, who was Mary‘s firstborn male son and was looking after her upon Joseph’s death, asked his disciple John to take care of her when he was dying on the cross.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” John 19:26,27

2) When the Apostle Paul mentioned Children in Ephesians 6:1-3, he did not mean little kids only. The root of the Greek word for Children is Tikto which means to “produce”, as from a seed. Whether one is a kid or an adult, one is still the child or “product” of one’s parents.

“And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, [even] me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.” Genesis 27: 38

To Honor and Obey one’s parents does not stop after the traditional and arbitrary age of eighteen. Therefore, given the seriousness of parental authority God admonishes parents thus:

“Fathers, do not anger your children, but rear them in the discipline and in the teaching of Our Lord.” Ephesians 6: 4

Many hardcore cult leaders, disguised as preachers, often tell young and unmarried adults in their congregations, that if their parents are not Christians (read: not attending “their” churches), they can ignore their authority.

That’s their way of isolating these folks from their families in order to control them and steal their money through the erroneous tenet of church tithing, much like a pack of wolves separate and hunt down the weakest prey from the herd.

God never said to obey and honor one’s parents only if they’re Christians. He said to obey and honor. Period. Just because the Apostle Paul said to “obey your parents in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1) doesn’t mean that your parents are to be in the Lord. It means obey your parents because of the Lord, or because you are in the Lord, or because it is a command from the Lord.

“Honor your father and your mother.” Exodus 20: 12

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15

These “preachers” are twisting God’s word to fit their own agenda.

WORKPLACE AUTHORITY

Christians should submit to their bosses and be the best workers in the workplace.

“Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” 1 Peter 2: 18

Christian bosses and workers should always go beyond that which is required.

“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” Matthew 5: 41

Slaves (Servants), be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” Eph. 6: 5-9

The meaning of the word slave is the one which Christ used in the following verse:

“…but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave…” Matthew 20:27

In other words, a slave is a servant, or in today’s parlance an employee, who does all to please his master or boss. The Greek word Doulos which means slave is also translated as servant.

Neither a Christian employee nor a Christian boss should do anything that could be construed as being against biblical laws, especially if a Christian worker is asked to do something that is forbidden by God or that goes against his/her conscience.

“…their conscience also bearing witness…” Romans 2:15

“The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.” James 5: 4

CHURCH OR ASSEMBLY AUTHORITY

Biblically, the “church” is an assembly composed of Christians, hence not an institution. It is the Body of Christ.

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Cor 12: 27

Therefore, Christ is the head of His own body. No one else. The only Authority that exists in the church or assembly is Jesus Christ working though His Holy Spirit.

But you are not to be called ‘Teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called Leaders (or Masters), for you have one Leader (or Master), the Messiah.” Matthew 23:8-10

Simply put, the head of every man is Christ.

However, there will be those who will point to the following verse in order to commandeer Christ’s authority unto themselves:

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13: 17

Actually, the proper translation should be: “Obey them who esteem (care about) you…” And even if the above translation of “rule” were left intact, it would still need to match every other biblical verse that addresses the Authority paradigm, especially these:

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20: 25-28

Not that we have dominion over your faith…” 2 Corinthians 1: 24

[As a side note, please keep in mind that some verses concerning “Ecclesiastical Function” in the New Testament have been wrongly translated from the Greek using the English word “rule” or “authority” when it should be something else. Please exercise wisdom while using an appropriate Greek/English lexicon to guide you in your study.]

The only people who truly care and/or who can “rule” over anyone are the following:

1) God, head of Christ

“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5: 19

2) Christ, head of man

“If you love me, you (man) will obey what I command.” John 14: 15

“Cast all your care on Him, because He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

3) Man, head of woman

Wives, respect and obey your husbands…” 1 Peter 2: 1

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5: 22

4) Parents, heads of children

Children, obey your parents...” Ephesians 6: 1

5) Christ, head of the assembly

Christ is also the head of the assembly, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.” Colossians 1: 18

Every ministry worker, including Prophets, Evangelists, Overseers, and Teachers, are only servants, and they themselves must learn to submit not only to Christ but also to the body of Christ. See Understanding the Duties of Ministry.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Ephesians 5: 21

“But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12: 24-26

GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY

There is only one Government that controls everything on earth. It’s the Government of Christ.

“Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9: 7

True Christians are unequivocally under the jurisdiction of Christ’s government and thus under Biblical Laws.

However, because non-Christians do not follow Christ and His laws God has established sub-governments or governing authorities (i.e., federal, state, and local governments) in every country, with their own sets of laws to rule over these non-believers.

These governments or governing authorities are God-inspired institutions, which are also designed to better manage the people’s affairs, including meting out true and fair justice. Their existence is not meant to oppress a populace, even if they’re not Christians, or for unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of them for personal gains.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” Romans 13: 1-5

True Christians cannot be by any stretch of the imagination wrongdoers or evildoers; but, as Christ’s Ambassadors on earth, God has ordered His people to follow and obey the laws of the various countries in which they temporarily live.

However, Christian obedience to man-made laws of sub-governments or governing authorities is not intended to be absolute, since there will be instances of these laws that violate scriptures. Therefore, if such laws from Governing Authorities are contrary to God’s laws, the following principle applies:

We must obey God rather than human beings!” Acts 5:9

For example, if a Christian is asked to go kill in the name of the State in some godforsaken war, this would obviously contradict God’s commands.

“Thou shall not kill.” Exodus 20:13

“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” Isaiah 2:4

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.’ ” Matthew 26: 52

Consequently, insofar as man-made laws of Governing Authorities do not violate God’s biblical laws, Christians comply.

CONCLUSION

Authority originates with God, and His laws establish His governance which is rooted in love for the protection of those under its umbrella.

“God is love.” 1 John 4: 8

Likewise, all earthly governing authorities must have love at their core and as their essence, otherwise they will descend into authoritarianism or dictatorship (i.e., authority excised from God’s parameters) and ruthlessness (i.e., absence of love).

However, love in and of itself is not void of discipline.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Cases in point: 1) if a parent commands his toddler not to stick his finger in an electric socket, it is for the well being of the child, even if the child doesn’t understand why his parent is being so “mean”; 2) if a father does not approve of the dating partner of his child (adult or not) for reasons his child is too blind to see, the child must yield to his father’s authority and wisdom. See The Biblical Marriage Blueprint.

After all, if one cannot obey one’s earthly father whom one can see, how will one obey one’s heavenly father whom one cannot see?

Unfortunately, where there’s earthly authority there will be conflict. Hence, keep in mind this succinct formula we call Conflict Resolution 101:

Burned Angel Marital Conflict

Step 1

Love the other party as yourself.

Step 2

See step no 1.

Whether the scope of a conflict is personal, familial, marital, regional, or worldwide, there’s only the above two-step solution. It’s the easiest one in the world. Heed to it.

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13

The purpose of the authoritative system is to bring glory to God, as our obedience to His laws proves our love for Him. Therefore, let us ensure that everyone, whether in authority or under authority, elevates every sphere of life with love for the glory of the One who died for us.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 36-40

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Of Legalism and Christians

C H U R C H   R E F O R M    S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

In the past decades grace has been taught so much that many Christians have lost sight of God’s laws.

Unfortunately, the act of following God’s commands has been labeled by some as legalism, a pejorative term that is simply an excuse to avoid obeying God’s decrees.

Chrsit heals the blind

SUPERSEDED COMMANDS

Without the divine laws there can be no Kingdom of God and no Christian cultural dominion.

Everywhere we hear the “saved by faith not by works” mantra, but rarely do we hear preached the last words of our Lord Jesus before He was taken up to heaven.

“…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” Matthew 28:20

A command is a law and is by no stretch of the imagination a suggestion. Therefore, we must obey the whole law as remedied by the New Covenant, which renders many Old Testament ordinances – like the tithe – obsolete.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.…” Matthew 5: 38,39

Another example of a superseded command is how God now bestows salvation, which can no longer be received by sacrificing a lamb for Passover as was the case for the Old Covenant Hebrews. That’s been remedied by Christ’s New Covenant.

Eternal salvation is now the free gift by grace of the indwelling Christ in our spirit. We can’t work for that. We receive it free by faith. Hence those who try to obtain it through obsolete laws are engaged in a futile exercise that will yield no positive result.

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 2:8

ENDURING LAWS

The reason Jesus gives Himself to us as a gift is for the express purpose of making us like Him, a doer of good works and a conqueror. And the only way to do good works is to follow all of God’s enduring commandments.

“Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.”  1 John 2:4

The laws or commandments are for the believers to use properly, and for the unbelievers and lawbreakers to stand condemned.

“We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” 1 Timothy 1: 8-11

That’s why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit whose job is to quicken our spirit, mind, and body into all righteousness. In other words, it is to help us follow God’s laws and do the things we need to do.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:26

When we Christians become doers of the laws wonderful things take place, and society is content; but when we don’t, we become quite ineffective and fruitless. Nothing feels right. Nothing is right. A malaise creeps in with the unsettling palpability that things are heading the wrong way.

All because the salt (i.e., Christians) has lost its flavor.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13

Even biblical Church/Assembly Gathering Laws have become a point of contention for many Christians who prefer to cling to tradition instead of adhering to God-given commands. See Church Services Are NOT Biblical.

“Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” Matthew 15: 6

No wonder we are currently losing the battle for cultural dominion.  We can’t even get our own house in order.

“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the assembly? Are you not to judge those inside?” 1 Cor. 5: 12

JESUS AND THE LAW

I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.” Matthew 5:17

Many love to pull that verse out of context to support various obsolete laws of the Old Testament, such as the tithe and the election of “Jews” as God’s chosen people.

But what did Jesus mean?

He meant exactly what He said. He came to fulfill all the biblical laws, because no one before Him managed to do so.

“For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18

And accomplish them, He did.

“It is accomplished.” or “It is finished.” Matthew 19:30

And because He accomplished them, He was able to make some major changes. Consequently, He did away with the entire Levitical system.

“For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” Hebrews 7:12

Many laws – such as the tithe, the animal sacrifices, the Levitical priesthood, and the special status of the ancient Hebrews (today’s Jews are not Hebrews and no different than other non-believers) – have been done away with.

“By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete.” Hebrews 8:13

The New Covenant in Christ’s blood became the new law, while Christians became the new priesthood and the new chosen people – chosen to love and to do good.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood.” 1 Peter 2:9

Those who take Matthew 5:17 out of context are only beating a dead horse. The old body of the law has already been fulfilled… and then changed.

“I am not outside the law of God but am under the law of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 9: 21

CONCLUSION

Most Christians have lost sight of the Kingdom doctrine which purposes that we become conquerors by applying the divine commands.

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

All of God’s laws are for our edification so that we may build His Kingdom of love, peace, and morality on earth as it is in heaven.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

The only way to build God’s Kingdom on earth is to obey His laws, and the following is the most beautifully circular of them all:

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 1:6

[Keep repeating the verse and you’ll get the circular part 🙂 ]

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