BASIC AUTHORITY RANKING AS REVEALED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Posted by RJ Dawson
God has all authority. In His wisdom, He shares His authority through official delegation. Among people, there is an uncomplicated organizational order with spiritual authority ranking above secular rule.
NEW COVENANT AUTHORITY 101
The following chart reveals basic New Covenant authority and who ranks where. It is not complicated. There is no hierarchy. Like everything else in the New Covenant Scriptures this should be second nature for all Christians. But like everything else in the New Covenant Scriptures, the subject of authority has been shanghaied by interlopers and rewritten to suit themselves. Hey, if the Pharisees could do it regarding the Old Testament, and of course, they did, right in the midst of the Lord Jesus, with no reservations, what makes one think Christian Pharisees cannot do the same regarding the New Testament?
THE LORD JESUS:
He has all authority in heaven and earth. He is God. He is also Man. He is thus the Mediator between God and man:
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. [1Timothy 2:5]
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” [Matthew 28:18]
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. [1Corinthians 11:3]
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. [2Corinthians 5:19]
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” [Matthew 1:23]
“I and the Father are one.” [John 10:30]
THE COMMUNITY OF THE CALLED-OUT ONES:
The Lord Jesus shares His authority with those who have submitted properly and fully to His authority and places them in positions of spiritual authority. He set the example for this as a Man, the Last Adam, receiving spiritual authority from God. He was the first:
But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men. [Matthew 9:8]
Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. [Matthew 10:1]
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. [Galatians 3:26-29]
The Lord gives authority to those in legitimate positions of civil authority as recognized by Him who honor their positions appropriately and are generally supported by the people. As a check on civil authority by the Lord’s people, see Peter and John’s response in Acts 4:19-20. This proves the authority of the Lord’s Community supersedes governmental authority.
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.
But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. [Romans 13:1-7]
Each individual has personal authority over his or her own life as granted by the Lord. Each person has the freedom to make his or her own choices, including whether or not to be delivered from sin, to be His disciple, and to possess eternal life. Where one ends up when this short life is over is strictly and fully up to the individual who alone has the power to make that choice. God has given every individual a free will to choose his or her own eternal fate.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:7-14]
© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.