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Our Authority

Are there limits to man’s authority on this Earth? Are there consequences if we step outside our authority? Perhaps the question to begin with is, “Once we are Christians, can our wrong actions be held against us?”

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1 AKJV)

While this verse says that there is no condemnation for Christians, there is a stipulation as to which Christians are not being condemned: those “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” It does not say that we can do anything we want or that any sin in our lives is acceptable. If we are walking with the Spirit of God, He will lead us out of sin. To find out what “condemnation” this is referring to, we must continue reading:

But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11 AKJV)

Paul was speaking about the consequences of sin by which we are sent to Hell when we die. Christians were being persecuted: they were hung on crosses and fed to lions. The apostle who founded the church was reassuring them that, in the end, all would be okay if they clung to their faith in Jesus. Many times, this verse is combined with being “co-laborers” with Jesus. The entire verse reads as follows:

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building… (1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV)

We are what God uses to do His work on this Earth. A field cannot plant its own crops or do things on its own. God is the one directing what needs to be done, not us. We need to be sure that we are doing what God wants us to do.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in Heaven and in Earth. Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost... (Matthew 28:18-19 AKJV)

For many years I believed that “all authority” was given to me because so many noted preachers said it was so. Recently, God has shown us that assumption is not supported by the Word of God. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that WE have been given all authority, only that Jesus was given “all authority” after He rose from the grave. I urge you to check the Word and see if you can find any scripture that states "we" have been given all authority. I began the journey by asking some questions:

  • If an earthly king has authority, do those under him have the very same authority?

  • How about his heir; does the son of an earthly king wield all the power of the king?

  • Why would we assume to have the exact same authority as our Heavenly King?

With these questions in mind, let’s look at one of the common verses used to support the assumption that we have all authority:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; (Romans 8:17)

Since we are “joint-heirs” with Christ, it is often assumed that we have the exact same authority that Jesus does: all authority. There is a second half to this verse that many leave off:

...if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

This puts the statement in proper context. Paul is still talking about enduring suffering for what is to come because we are “heirs with Jesus” and will be glorified as He was when He rose from the grave. You inherit something and receive your inheritance when you die. Christians were giving their lives when they refused to deny Christ, so Paul was encouraging them of their future: When they die, they would inherit eternal life in Heaven.

What position do we hold in Heaven?

And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus... (Ephesians 2:6 NKJV)

This verse is quoted, and a huge leap is taken when we say that because we are seated with Him, that we have the same authority He has. Then many people take it even further, claiming that since we are seated in Heavenly places, we have the right to command things in Heaven.

There are zero examples from the Bible of people commanding things in the Heavens. We only have what our Lord gives us, what is stated in the Bible, and what He did on this Earth. You must keep reading to find out what this verse is speaking of:

That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:7-8 KJV)

The position we hold in Christ isn’t that we have all the authority that He has. It is saying that God’s grace is being displayed in our right standing in Heaven by what Jesus did! The topic is our salvation through faith, not power and authority. To add to that verse and say we have the same and equal authority He has, is very presumptuous. Think about it:

If the millions of Christians on this planet could actually see what all the demons, principalities, and dominions were doing in the heavens, would we really know what to do with them? If everyone tried to bind and loose them, there would be total chaos.

Likewise with God’s armies and powers. they belong to God, so why would we think we know better than Him how and when to command them. Would we know if they already had another assignment? We would create so much chaos in the spirit realm. Our authority is here on the planet Earth. We must remember that and stop trying to tamper with the spirit realm.

In Luke, when Jesus sent out His disciples, they were to preach the Gospel and prepare the way for Jesus by breaking Satan’s authority to ready the people to receive from Him. They returned, so excited at the power and authority they wielded in His name. Jesus explained:

Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19 AKJV)

The two times “power” is used in this verse actually comes from two different Greek words:

  • power to tread: (exousia) This can mean the power of rule (authority), specifically over mankind because of the power of judicial decrees.

  • all the power of the enemy: (dynamis) This is the same root word for dynamite. It is the creative power to do miracles, the power and influence that comes with wealth, or the power of an army.

Before the Lord sent out the disciples to a specific place for His purpose, they were given power over the enemy. He dispatched them with specific tasks: to prepare the way for His coming and to empower His devoted followers to get the job done. The reference to serpents and scorpions is strictly metaphorical and not literal because there are no examples in the Bible, New Testament or Old, of people actually walking upon these deadly creatures.

  • Serpents refer to crafty and cunning people. Jesus and John the Baptist referred to the Pharisees as serpents.

  • Scorpions hold poison in their tail. A tale is also a story. This remark refers to people who relate deadly and poisonous stories.

The authority to overcome these types of attacks was given to those the Lord sent out for this particular task. The disciples were able to conquer the enemy because Jesus gave them power to perform miracles by healing the sick and casting out demons (from Matthew). This not only proved they were from God, but it moved Satan out of the way.

The Lord did empower His disciples after He rose from the grave and ascended to Heaven. Paul reports the disciples were empowered to do the work of the Lord. It shows the type of authority we are given:

For [of course] I will not venture (presume) to speak thus of any work except what Christ has actually done through me [as an instrument in His hands] to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, [Even as my preaching has been accompanied] with the power of signs and wonders, [and all of it] by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:18-19 AMPC)

Gentiles are those who do not know or have a relationship with God. The authority to overcome ALL the power of the enemy with signs, wonders, and miracles is given when Jesus sends us out to preach the Gospel to those who haven’t heard it yet. If a missionary is sent, it should be accompanied with these signs to confirm God’s love by delivering those oppressed by the Devil. If there are no miracles accompanying them, we must ask ourselves, were they sent by the Lord or was it a "good idea" that man had?

The simple truth is that we have not been given all authority to use whenever WE want, for whatever WE think should be done. We must be sent out by our Lord. Jesus states clearly what authority we have been given in the Great Commission:

Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race]... And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe (Mark 16:15-18 AMPC):
  • In My name they will drive out demons.

  • They will speak in new tongues.

  • They will pick up serpents.

  • If they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them.

  • They will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be made well.

This entire list is comprised of things that are affecting men on this Earth:

  1. Demons reside in men.

  2. You speak with your physical body.

  3. “Take up snakes” serpents are animals on this Earth or men acting like snakes.

  4. What we ingest will not harm us - in this world.

  5. Healing happens to our physical bodies.

Every one of these is something that is afflicting us in this physical world: it is touching our physical realm. In “Strong’s Concordance,” the Greek word “αἴρω” for “take up” can also mean to “remove from thy place.” Serpents are earthly animals and are often used to describe Satan and his forces as they act through people on this Earth. We are to remove them from their place here on Earth. How do we do that? By listening to the Holy Spirit who will tell us when the enemy is moving through a person.

All power was given to Jesus, our Lord, and He gave us authority in some earthly areas, not “all authority.” To state that we have authority in the Heavens would contradict God’s Word:

The Heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the Earth hath He given to the children of men. (Psalms 115:16 AKJV)

Notice that everything in the heavens are the Lord’s and only that which is on this Earth is what we have authority over. The Bible never tells us that we have authority in the heavens, Earth is man’s domain and Heaven is God’s.

Unauthorized Authority

The Old Testament shows us God’s ways which still apply to Christians today. The Tabernacle of God where the Ark was first kept was built according to God’s design. Ceremonies were conducted which were a foreshadow of what Jesus would later fulfill.

You shall not offer unauthorized incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering, and you shall not pour a drink offering on it. (Exodus 30:9 ESV)
and the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand...(Revelation 8:3-4)

Incense accompanies our prayers. Aaron was instructed to burn incense continually (Exodus 30:7), and we are instructed to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). According to God’s instructions, there was a right way to pray and an “unauthorized” way.

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. (Leviticus 10:1-2 AKJV)

When Aaron’s sons came before the Lord and brought before Him that which He did not command/ As a result, they were killed. If our prayers are assuming authority we have not been given, there can be dire consequences.

There are two ways we transgress concerning authority that hasn’t been given to us:

  1. Taking authority over principalities, powers, and wickedness in high places

  2. Commanding the heavenly hosts, the angels

Let’s look at each one of these in detail in their own section!

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