THE BELIEVER’S AUTHORITY II

God created man to have and walk in authority, having dominion over all things He had created. Man has a desire in himself to be in charge and to be in authority. It’s no surprise because it is a God given right but most at time we do not know how to use it, and therefore abuse it. We were not given authority over each other, neither male nor female. We were also not given authority over angels or demons in the heavenly realm. We were given authority over everything on earth.

This means that if angels or demons were on the earth then we had authority over them. Man’s authority was restricted to the earth (including everything in it). He was created in the character and likeness of God. Man was a reflection of God (mirror image); he reflected God’s glory. He was given the mammoth task of being God’s representative on earth. He was God’s extension and representative ruler in the earth realm. That’s why God made him to look like Himself with the ability to communicate like Him. God formed Man of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). God did not this to any of His creatures, not even angels. This is what makes us unique!

Man has the Spirit of God in him and he has authority over everything on earth. He was created as ruler over this planet or he was the god of earth. God wanted someone He could fellowship with as an equal (not that man is equal to God because he isn’t); someone He could share himself with. For this reason, He created man to be like Himself, with the same ability to communicate with words. This is the decision the Lord God took for Himself; nobody asked Him to. How far man has fallen from that original plan. Satan knew everything the Lord had given to man, so his main intent was to destroy him. The only way to do this would be to make man disobey God. Adam and Eve were the seed of mankind, and if he could corrupt the seed then all mankind would be corrupted. Before God formed Eve He said to Adam: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

Here was the fall: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:1-6).

Adam was the main problem. He knew what God had said and he didn’t stop what was going on; he was the one with the authority and with him was the breakdown of authority. It is strange to see a serpent talk, because mankind was the only creature on earth that God had given the ability to speak. In the garden was the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was only permitted to eat from the tree of life to live forever. Everything God created was very good (Genesis 1:31), but how come the serpent was said to be cunning or crafty than all the beasts of the field. The reason is because Satan inhabited the serpent for his purpose. The word translated serpent is the Hebrew word “nachash”, which has other three other possible meanings. It can be used as a noun to mean “one who practices divination; shining brass.” It can also mean “to shine” or “to glow”. This word then could also be translated as the shining one.

Paul called him the angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). From these instances we get to know that the devil is a deceiver, liar and a usurper of authority. Eve was tempted in all three arena: spirit, soul and body. She looked and it was good for food (flesh); it makes one wise so it’s good for knowledge (soul) and one will be like God after taking it (spirit). Eve failed in her role as helper to Adam. Not only did she fall into the trap of the devil but she also offered the temptation to Adam. Adam could have done something about the offer but he also failed. The moment the devil twisted the Word of God he should have challenged him. He had the authority to put the devil to flight! Adam failed in his role as overseer of the earth and allowed God’s enemy to gain control. Adam failed God, he failed the woman that God had given him and he also failed all of mankind.

We are the seed of Adam, so when he failed we were in him. It was credited to our account. You know what, fret not! We have a different story today, for “…the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14). God is our Father (Matthew 6:26), and we are doubly His children. We are His offspring by creation, and are His sons by adoption in Christ. Hence we are privileged to call Him, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2). He’s our Father! The apostle uses the perfect tense and says, “Who hath saved us” (2 Timothy 1:9). Believers in Christ Jesus are saved. They are not looked upon as persons who are in a hopeful state, and may ultimately be saved, but they are already saved. We just discussed how that Eve was tempted in all three arenas: Spirit, Soul and Body. But what does that mean?

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Paul is praying for these Christians to be completely sanctified and he specifies the three areas which make up total human personality: spirit, soul and body. The distinction between these three elements of our personality is little understood by most Christians. Yet the Bible provides us with a unique kind of mirror which reveals their nature and interrelationship, and shows us how each is intended to function. Failure to use this mirror correctly exposes us to much inner frustration and disharmony. In the initial creation of mankind God said, “Let Us make man in Our image,” and “according to Our likeness.”

Image refers to man’s outward appearance. In a way that is not true of any other creature, man reflects the outward appearance of God. It was appropriate, therefore, that when the Son of God came to dwell on earth, it was in the form of a man – not an ox or a beetle – and not even in the form of some heavenly creature, such as a seraph. Likeness refers to man’s inner nature. Scripture refers to God as a triune being: Father, Son and Spirit. Likewise it reveals man as a triune being, consisting of spirit, soul and body. The account of man’s creation reveals how his triune nature came into being: “…the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7) – more correctly, a living soul. Man’s spirit came from the inbreathed breath of God. His body was formed from clay, transformed into living human flesh. Instantly he became a living soul.

The soul thus formed is the ego, the individual personality. It is usually defined as consisting of three elements: the will, the intellect and the emotions. It has the responsibility for making personal decisions and expresses itself in three phrases: “I want,” “I think,” “I feel.” Unless touched by the supernatural grace of God, all of human behaviour is controlled by these three motivations. Sometimes the Bible refers to the spirit of man as the heart. Man is able to reason because he has a soul, and able to believe because he is a spirit. The body contacts the soul through the five human senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. The soul, through the mind, gives intellectual interpretation to the messages or signals from these senses. In brief, what the brain is to the body, the mind is to the soul. The soul, through the mind, also gives intellectual interpretation to messages received from the human spirit.

However, man contacts God through his spirit and not with the mind or his senses (Romans 8:7-8). Only the spirit can accept spiritual realities, and has the capacity to believe. The human spirit isn’t limited by the human senses like the soul, which argues and often rejects what it doesn’t understand. Thank God, that believing is with the spirit. The Word of God is meant for your spirit. If the Word can get into your spirit, even when your mind doesn’t understand it, you’ll surely believe. Once you believe, the next necessary action would be to speak. This is the reason why we are not to be talking the world’s talk. When they say that things are down, we say things are getting better (Job 22:29). So even if you have pain in your body, you say: “I am strong in the Lord.” Why? Because the real you (spirit) is strong! This is faith, and that’s how we’re supposed to be living.

When you keep complaining about pain or lack, then you know you are operating from the flesh and not the spirit. God wants us reigning all the time! You see, faith makes you look foolish a while, but wait until you get what you want. Mankind was created for personal fellowship with God, but his sinful disobedience produced disastrous effects in all three elements of his personality. Cut off from contact with God, man’s spirit died. This was in fulfilment of God’s warning (Genesis 2:17). The physical death of Adam’s body, however, did not follow for more than 900 years. Through exercising his will in direct disobedience to God, man became a rebel in his soul. Since that time, every person descended from Adam has inherited the nature of a rebel.

Paul describes the results of rebellion that have affected every one of us in Ephesians 2:1–3: “And you… who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” As a result of sin, we have all been dead in our spirits. In our souls we have all been in rebellion against God. Our bodies, too, have become subject to corruption – that is, to sickness, decay and death. Yet the boundless love of God is such that He continually longs for the restoration of His fellowship with man.

“He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us” (James 4:5). Furthermore, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, God has opened a way for the restoration of that fellowship which was lost. In Ephesians 2:4-5 Paul goes on to describe the outworking of salvation in our spirits: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ…” The spirit, being reunited with God, are alive once more. At the same time, our souls – through repentance and faith – are released from rebellion and reconciled to God. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:10-11).

When we realise that we have all been in rebellion against God, we understand why there can be no genuine salvation without repentance. Repentance means laying down our rebellion and submitting ourselves to God’s righteous government. Salvation also makes provision for the body. Delivered from the slavery of sin, our bodies become temples in which the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 3:9, 16, 17; 6:19; Ephesians 2:22) and our members become instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13). Finally, at the return of Christ, our bodies will be transformed into immortal bodies like that of Christ Himself! (Philippians 3:21). Hallelujah! We are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 12:5). Listen, dear reader, salvation is not a blessing to be enjoyed upon the dying bed, and to be sung of in a future state above, but a matter to be obtained, received, promised, and enjoyed now.

The Christian is perfectly saved in God’s purpose; God has ordained him unto salvation, and that purpose is complete. He is saved also as to the price which has been paid for him: “It is finished” (John 19:30) was the cry of the Saviour ere He died. The believer is also perfectly saved in His covenant head, for as he fell in Adam, so he lives in Christ. Our God is a God of life. God’s loving plan of salvation was that the Son would die to bring us life (John 3:16). This life is brought to us, and He wants us to minister life to others. We are life-givers because life (God) dwells on the inside of us. This is too big for religion. “The first man, Adam, was created a living being; but the last Adam is the life-giving Spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). Jesus is the federal head of His elect.

As in Adam, every heir of flesh and blood has a personal interest, because he is the covenant head and representative of the race as considered under the law of works. So under the law of grace, every redeemed soul is one with the Lord from heaven, since He is the Second Adam, the Sponsor and Substitute of the elect in the new covenant of love. The apostle Paul declares that Levi was in the loins of Abraham when Melchizedek met him (Hebrews 7:10). It is a certain truth that the believer was in the loins of Jesus Christ, the Mediator, when in old eternity the covenant settlements of grace were decreed, ratified, and made sure for ever. Thus, whatever Christ has done, He has wrought for the whole body of His Church. We were crucified in Him and buried with Him (Colossians 2:10-13), and to make it still more wonderful, we are risen with Him and even ascended with Him to the seats on high (Ephesians 2:6).

If Jesus is seated at the right hand of God (Ephesians 1:20), we are there with Him now. And you know what: the right hand of God is glorious in power and smashes the enemy. At the same right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Exodus 15:6; Psalm 16:11). In other words we take both authority and pleasure at the right hand of God. Hallelujah! Stop looking down on yourself. What they say about you is not necessarily God’s thoughts about you. God regards us with complacency, for He views us in Jesus, and does not look upon us as separate from our covenant head.

Christ is the head and we are the body (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:25). Now, how do you separate the head from the body? It’s impossible! You call them one. Oh, no wonder the Word declares: “…he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17). Did you get that; we are one with God? That’s mind-blowing!

We’re not done yet; there’s more! Let’s keep studying.

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