Three Levels of Kingdom Authority
We have been looking at two forces Jesus promised to give His church. These two forces, authority and power, are not only essential to fulfilling the mandate of Heaven, they are fundamental to the very concept of the Kingdom of Heaven itself.
Although power and authority are distinct, they function closely together within the Kingdom of God. In the first article we looked at how authority and power are defined in the New Testament. If you missed that article, you can go back and read it here to bring you up to speed.
In the following articles we are going to continue to examine how authority and power are different, this time focusing on their distinct sources. In this article we will begin to examine the source of authority.
For the Believer, Authority and Power Have Different Sources
It is an awesome thing be empowered and authorized by God. But, before we can be the conduits of God’s power and authority, we must be the recipients. As a recipient, power is experienced and authority submitted to. Only this can qualify us to become conduits of the same.
Authority and power are not only distinct in their definition, they actually come from two different sources in the Godhead. Authority is given to us by Jesus while power is given by the Holy Spirit.
It is clear in the New Testament that Jesus, Himself, is the source of the believer’s authority. He declared “all authority has been given to me.” Having wrested all authority, only He can delegate its use. As we surrender to Him as Lord, we come under His authority and are transferred into His Kingdom or dominion. He, in turn, delegates this authority to His church (Ephesians 1:22). It is in this way that His Kingdom - His dominion as King - is advanced. As we yield to His rule in our lives, we become conduits aligned with His purpose and vehicles of His authority.
There are at least three levels of authority granted to men by God. First, there is basic human authority. It is clear that God designed the world “under man.” We see this in Psalm 8 and reiterated in Hebrews 2. In delegating authority over the earth to man, God never withdrew that authority. Yet as Hebrews 2 clearly spells out, man no longer fully functions in that role (Hebrews 2:8b). Having surrendered his will to sin, fallen man abdicated his authority to the enemy who is now referred to as “the god of this world” and “the ruler of this dark age.” Man without God is left a pawn manipulated by satan (Ephesians 2:1-3).
The second level of authority is the authority of the believer. Although the earth was under man in creation, in redemption it is under Christ. All authority has been given to Jesus, but Ephesians 1:22-23 tells us it is for the Church. In Christ, we have our authority reinstated through the new birth. In redemption man’s will is restored to yield to God and exercise His authority on the earth.
The third level of authority is that of assignment. Although everyone has authority, not everyone functions in the same measure of authority. This is true in the natural and it is true in the spiritual. In the Kingdom of God, the authority one functions in is determined by two things: assignment and faithfulness.
Many of us deeply desire to know our assignment, our purpose in God’s Kingdom. But what we need to realize is, faithfulness to what we already know is the key to discovering more.