By Kevin Parker
Editor, Baptist New Mexican
Many times, when Christians speak of faith, they refer to one’s trust in God’s abilities to provide, to care, to perform miracles, to demonstrate strength and such.
Likewise, “belief in Jesus” often boils down to accepting the facts of Jesus’ messianic/savior identity, accepting the story about His birth, life and death, and believing the gospel message about forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
I agree with all of those things. Believing in Jesus in that way and exercising that kind of faith saves a person for all of eternity. It secures forgiveness and God’s favor.
But there’s more.
Authority is different from power. Power is an ability or strength that one carries within himself or herself. Authority, on the other hand, comes from outside. It is bestowed. One cannot exercise authority unless it is granted from a superior authority or a group of people collectively request a person exercise authority over them. Essentially, they commit to being followers.
A study of Jesus’ authority reveals the vast realms in which He has full command.
He has authority to forgive, to heal, to teach and preach, to give life, to encourage, to rebuke and correct, to drive out demons, and to cast someone into eternal hell.
The Father granted Jesus those authorities. Ultimately, the Father granted Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth.
‘God is the only source’
Temporal sources of power abound: physical might, wealth, armies, armor, weapons, knowledge, mental ability, manipulation, moral fortitude and conviction, to name a few.
But God is the only source of authority. Even the authority of powerful governments flows from God, Scripture says. No authority exists apart from Him granting it. Jesus made that clear.
Luke 7 teaches that full-fledged faith also includes belief and trust in Jesus’ authority.
What does that do? It generates obedience and faithfulness.
Jesus came to save. But He also came as the ultimate ruler of the heavens and the earth. He has “Creator” authority, an authority greater than any other authority.
All faith in Jesus is good, but without faith in His authority, saints cannot follow Him fully.
Editor’s Note — This column is an excerpt from an opinion piece first published in the Baptist New Mexican and is reprinted with permission. To read the full column and more pieces by editor Kevin Parker, visit GoBNM.com.