...to exercise authority.

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Ge 1:21)

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Ge 1:26)

Man was created not just to be under authority, but to exercise authority. On the fifth day, just after he created the sign of his authority in the heavens, God created the fish and birds. These are listed first among the things that man was to have dominion over.

In fact those who understand the nature of the kingdom of God know that being under authority and exercising authority are not disconnected, but are one and the same. Since all authority derives from God, there is no authority that exists separate from his line of delegated authority. To exercise authority we must be under authority.

A soldier in uniform displays that he is under the authority of his superior officers, and ultimately to the monarch of his land. But it also gives him the right to discharge his orders with the full authority of those superiors and his monarch behind him. In the same way, as we submit to our elders and to God we are empowered with God's authority to bring in his kingdom rule. A Christian who is not submitted to the eldership of a local church, is like a soldier out of uniform. Those who are not under authority have no authority.

This was the great insight that the centurion had into the nature of Christ's own authority. Because he was a man under God's authority he could speak with the authority of God behind him, just as the centurion, a man under Caesar's authority could speak and act in the name of Caesar.

But the centurion replied, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." (Mtt 8:8-9)

In giving man authority over fish and birds first we have an interesting theme that is developed in the rest of Scripture. For the creatures of the deep, are often linked to the powers of the abyss, and the roaring sea to the nations in rebellion to God. Likewise the birds of the air are linked to the powers of the air that keep men blinded to the truth and snatch away the word of truth before it can take root.

Not only does God reveal that he has sovereign authority over all powers, even the powers of the enemy. But he has given this authority to man. It is as we submit ourselves to God, that we are given his authority over all the powers of the enemy!

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. (Lk 10:9)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Jas 4:7)

1 comment:

Kev C said...

This is great stuff Chris and a real blessing, keep it coming...