The Plea For The Authority Of Christ

W. Terry Varner
March 5, 2017

Being subject to authority—any authority—is not politically correct unless one is a liberal and then everyone is to be subject to their understanding and rulings. When it comes to religion today, the problem is not one of interpretation as much as it is the problem of authority. A person of average intelligence can read the Bible and understand a large portion of what he has read. He can understand what to do to be saved and how to live as God desires. God made it that simple!

The great question is, “What is the authority behind the words we read in the Bible and especially the New Testament?” Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). We must learn its meaning.

There is a story in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, with the scene of black slaves gathered in the evening trying to entertain themselves. A person who could read opened the Bible and read: “Come to Me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). An old man with bent form asked: “Them is good words, but who say ‘em?” Yes, the New Testament is a good book, but the important matter is, “Who gives these good sayings?” When Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, the people “were astonished at His teaching” (Matt. 7:28-29).

The Supreme Task for Us. If we are going to be “Christians only,” then the supreme task is to recognize and restore the authority of Christ. Authority means “the right to command and enforce obedience; the right to act by virtue of office.” The are two kinds of authority: Primary authority, that is, the source and Delegated authority, that is, authority transferred from the primary source to others. The source of Primary authority is God and He has chosen to exercise His authority to His chosen vessels.

Delegated Authority from God to Jesus. God “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Heb. 1:1). At the transfiguration of Jesus, God said to all: “Hear you Him” (Matt. 17:5, 8). In all matters of faith, we are to hear Jesus rather than others (cf. 1 Cor. 14:37).

Delegated Authority from Jesus to His Apostles. Jesus said at His temptation by the Devil, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Jesus said to His apostles that “whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 18:18). They were guided by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26-27; 15:26-27; 16:13; Acts 2:lff.) and wrote inerrantly.

Apostles Their Revelation from God in the Book called, The Bible. When the New Testament was completed, all revelation and inspiration ceased. No wonder John Wycliffe wrote: “The Bible is the only source of spiritual truth.” The truth that makes man free is the Scriptures (cf. John 8:31-32). Each and every person has not only the right but the duty to come to the New Testament as the only source of authority accessible to man. The Bible is the “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25) to which nothing can be added nor nothing can be subtracted (cf. Matt. 18:18; 2 Tim. 2:2; Rev. 22:18-20). Do you not believe that no man has the right spiritually to teach and require of another for which he has no “thus says the Lord” (cf. Gal. 1:6-9). Why would any man think his words are higher than God’s words?