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What is the authority of the believer?

The notion of the believer's authority is employed in Charismatic groups to assert divine authority to perform miracles, acquire wealth, maintain health, bind Satan, and speak a new reality into existence, among other things. This is an erroneous interpretation of biblical teaching. True, the Christian believer possesses some authority, but over what? To what extent has God delegated authority to the believer?

Before we begin listing the things that fall under the power of the believer, it is necessary to recognise that the believer is, first and foremost, under authority. The authority is God. As Jesus tells us, "You, too, should respond, 'We are unworthy servants; we have just done our duty'" (Luke 17:10). Believers should emphasise God's sovereignty. The life of a Christian is one of complete reliance on God, as shown by the Son of Man (see Luke 22:42 and John 5:30).

In this world, God has appointed inferior authority. Parents exercise control over their children (Ephesians 6:1). Ephesians 5:22–24 teaches that husbands have control over their wives. Kings rule their subjects (Romans 13:1–7). Acts 4:34–35; Philemon 1:3) established the apostles' power over the church.

Certain individuals utilise the Great Commission to demonstrate the believer's authority: "Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.' Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all I have told you'" (Matthew 28:18–20). However, the verse plainly attributes authority to Jesus. He asserts "all authority" and then instructs those who are subject to His authority. According to the Great Commission, believers only have the authority to go into all the world, make disciples, baptise in the name of the Triune God, and teach Jesus' commands. The believer is simply obeying commands when he or she exercises this authority.

Apart from the authority to share the gospel, the believer's authority includes the right to be called a child of God (John 1:12) and the authority to confidently approach God's throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). We always keep in mind that Christ is Lord. "Let the boastful one boast in the Lord" (2 Corinthians 10:17).


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