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The Divine Hermeneutic

All Authority Resides in Christ
Larry H. Fain


It is interesting to study and gain insight into people's views of the Scriptures. Some see the authority principle clearly while others do not see it at all. From the beginning, God's relationship with man centered around a loving and all knowing God relating from a position of power to His creation, man.  "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth'" (Genesis 1:26-28).  God said what He intended to do and then did it. Though He said, “let Us,” He sought permission from no other power. He spoke and things were created. It all existed and came into being from nothing.  "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible" (Hebrews 11:3). This is the ultimate power.

The Bible story includes the transition of power from the Father to the Son for this age. The significance of the Son-ship of Jesus is two fold:

  1. It is a matter of His deity. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it"  (Matthew 16:18). The rock or foundation upon which the church was to be built was and remains the deity of Christ. The church had to be built to effect the eternal purpose of God, namely the salvation of man to live forever in God’s presence.  "To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:10-11).  The church of Christ exists today because Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30-31).  The miracles were to confirm Jesus as God’s Son. Such is the good confession required to be made of all who would enter that church. "Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, 'See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?' Then Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him" (Acts 8:35-38).  The only hindrance to the Ethiopian was his faith and a confession of the same concerning the Son-ship of Jesus.

  2. As the Son of God, Jesus, in the absence of the Father, had the right and the power to conduct all family business. As a lad, you recall the incident where Jesus was found in the temple sitting with the teachers. "So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, 'Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.' And He said to them, 'Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?'"  (Luke 2:48-49).  Jesus was doing His Father’s business teaching and learning of the will of His Father. This is the reason Jesus could say in the Sermon on the Mount at least six times in Matthew 5, “you have heard that is was said...” “but I say unto you...” (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, and 43-44). Jesus was conducting family business by assuming His position of power.

1 Corinthians 15 is an excellent source of material concerning the position of power which Jesus presently occupies. In the discussion of the resurrection, the theme of the great chapter, Paul addresses the end when the shift reverts. Consider:  "Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For 'He has put all things under His feet.' But when He says 'all things are put under Him,' it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all"  (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).  Notice “He must reign...”  Jesus must reign indicates that He is presently reigning and is in that position of power. All authority resides in Christ.

Again, Paul addresses the issue with Timothy as he encourages his son in the faith to continue in that faith. "I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen"  (1 Timothy 6:13-16). Ask your Mason friends why they call their leaders “potentates”? Jesus is the “only Potentate”, the supreme ruler possessing all authority.

What does the possession of power give one the right to do? As Potentate, as King, as Lord, Jesus naturally has the right to command. He is in charge. His word is supreme. If we seek to please God, we must submit to the supreme will of Jesus, God’s Son.  "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'"  (John 14:6).  To get to the Father, we must go through the Son. It is the way God wants it. It is the decree of God. The second Psalm says it best.  "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion." "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'"  (Psalms 2:6-9).  King-ship and Son-ship are inseparably linked. And from that position, He has the right to break with a rod of iron and dash into pieces all who oppose Him.

The final passage of reference to establish His position is one stated by Jesus Himself.  "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'"  (Matthew 28:18-20).  The Father gave Jesus the authority. It is universal. And from that position of supreme authority, Jesus is able to command, “Go, baptize, and teach.”

Where, then, is there any remaining power? Where is there any authority left? Men have tried with great futility to revert back to the Old Testament for their authority to act. It makes no sense whatsoever given what we have seen in the above cited scriptures. Jesus Christ possesses all authority in heaven and on earth for this generation. He and He alone has the right and power to dictate policy. And He has utilized that power. We could take and consider a myriad of issues that has and continues to affect the church.

  • Instrumental music, for example, is justified, not by book chapter and verse from the authority of Christ, but by the supposition of man or, if scripture is cited at all, from the Old Testament.

  • Infant baptism is based not on a “thus says the Lord,” but a woefully misguided attempt to shift blame away from self to a theology based on inheritance rather than performance.

  • Men seek to justify all sorts of practices based on tradition rather than authority. There is no command, example, or any other kind of authority for the fellowship hall, but so called brethren still build and use them.

  • You cannot find authority for the observance of the Lord’s Supper in any other setting than the assembly of a local church, but men still observe it in motel rooms, on golf courses, in hospitals, in parks, on beaches, in hunting camps, just anywhere we happen to be on Sunday.

  • The work of the church is limited to evangelism, edification and internal benevolence, but men want to expand that list to include relief of non saints, support of human institutions, and providing recreation to allure and keep people interested in “spiritual matters.”

  • The pattern for the worship of the church has been revealed. It includes singing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), prayer (Acts 2:42), Bible Study or preaching (Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7), and the First Day of the Week observance of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; Acts 11:18-ff). Local churches are likewise commanded to finance their work by collecting from its own members their free will offerings (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). You do not find there any references to clapping, cheering, or any other self-indulgent entertainment.

This author submitted for the readers of this journal’s consideration a set of sermon charts on “Bible Authority: How to Get it and Use It” accessible at this link: http://www.watchmanmag.com/0506/050602.htm. I would encourage another look at those charts.

All authority resides in Christ. We cannot change that (Galatians 1:6-9), add to that (Revelation 22:18-19) or in any way alter what He has said. It is simply up to us to submit to that authority and be content. May God bless us all to that end.

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