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Power and Authority

Bible Topics

Power and Authority

Bob Yandian

At the moment of the new birth, the instant you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, God gave you authority through the name of Jesus.  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14).

Authority became yours when you became a child of God, and every believer has authority.  It’s not something you earned or deserved; it was given by grace.  And because authority is part of the foundation upon which our faith rests, we’re going to study and see what the Word of God has to say about your authority in Christ.

What is the difference between power and authority?  Simply stated, authority is the channel through which power operates.  You cannot have authority without power to back it, but neither can power work without a channel of authority.

I like to use the illustration of electric lights.  Across town is the power company, where they generate electric power to our buildings.  Connecting the power company with our buildings are wires, which the power company uses to get electricity from their generator to our buildings.  You could say the wires are the channels for the power coming from the electric company to the buildings.

Now if the power company represents God’s power, and the buildings represent the world we live in, then the wires are the believers who have the God-given authority to bring His power to the world.  Although God can manifest His power in many ways without using a believer, and He has done so many occasions, He prefers to work through His people.

God’s Power

Have you ever wondered why there are so many scriptures which tell us about the incredible power God possesses?  I believe there is an important reason the Bible tells us over and over how great and powerful God is.

In order for you to be confident in your God-given authority, you must first have a solid trust in the awesome power of God which backs up that authority.

The Apostle Paul was well aware of the importance of believers understanding and trusting God’s power when he prayed the following prayer for us in Ephesians 1:15-19, “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”

In the New Testament, the Greek word used for “power” is dunamis, which means “ability and might.”  Ephesians 1:19 could be translated, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his ability and might toward us who believe.”  (Notice that God’s power is demonstrated through believers.)

In the Old Testament, Isaiah 53:1 talks about the amount of power God has in just His arm; “Who has believed our report?  And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”  I like to say it, “The arm of the Lord is revealed to those who believe the report.”

Those who believe the report are Christians.  They have believed Jesus is the Messiah and have received Him as their Lord and Savior.  Therefore, the “arm” of the Lord is revealed to them.  They have the ability to comprehend the power of God wielded when He raised Jesus from the dead and purchased their redemption.

In the Bible, the arm of the Lord is always a reference to the power God used in salvation.  (See Exodus 6:6, Psalm 77:15, and Isaiah 52:10 and 59:16).  In contrast, the band of the Lord refers to the power God used when He created the universe.

Hebrews 1:10 says God created the earth with His hands, and Psalm 8:3 tells us He created the universe with His fingers.  Obviously, the arm is much stronger than the hand or the fingers, and so God displayed much greater strength when He redeemed us.

When God created the universe, He didn’t use all of His power.  He only used his hands and fingers.  But when He raised Jesus from the dead, when he bought us back from Satan and defeated him, God unleashed the exceeding greatness of His power.

If the arm of God exhibits the exceeding greatness of His power, we can hardly imagine all of His power!  And His dunamis power is working through us who believe!  But how does that actually happen?

Romans 8:11 says, “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 dwells in you.”

The power of God, the Holy Spirit – the arm of the Lord – raised Jesus from the dead.  And anybody who believes in Jesus Christ has that same dunamis power, the Holy Spirit, living and working in them!

Meditate and study on the dunamis power (ability and might) of God.  His power is embodied in the Holy Spirit, who lives in you.  Knowing the Holy Spirit lives in you is the rock-solid foundation of your understanding and security about your authority as a believer.

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