Home Menu

The Timeless Sovereignty of God

The topic of "authority" began to intrigue me some time ago as I was reading the account of Jesus’ encounter with the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8. Verse 9 captured me where the centurion states, "I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go’ and he goes." Wait a minute! Did he say under authority? He surely meant to say, "I, too, am a man with authority…" I believe the Holy Spirit revealed to me that it was through submission that the centurion gained the authority he had over his men. He had been granted authority due to his submission to authority.

When a sergeant gives an order to a private, the sergeant represents his captain, his general, his president …indeed the entire United States. He can back up his commands with plenty of force should the private resist his authority. But this unregenerate centurion knew something that I had never seen. He had earned it over the years by submitting. He never arrived at such a point of power that submission ceased to be the key to authority. And Jesus said, "I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel." The centurion clearly understood the source of Jesus’ authority to be His submission to the Father, and that authority is earned via submission. You earn authority in the kingdom of God by submission to authority, as unto the Lord.

Earthly Implications of Spiritual Authority

The principle is so clear once you see it in the world! We are granted authority in the realm of the spiritual in proportion to our submission to all authority as unto the Lord. "Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant…" (Matthew 20:26). Jesus Christ actually earned His Title via submission to the Father’s authority by obedience unto death (Phil. 2:5-11). Verse eight points out His obedience and verse nine states that for this reason God bestowed upon Him His Name…and that Name is "Jesus Christ is Lord!" Praise His Lovely Name! He is the Lord Creator of the universe, yes, but He laid it all aside and took on the form of a servant man when He came to earth. He then earned His Title through obedience (Hebrews 5:8,9).

Years ago I recall tuning into the TV program "Dallas" to see what all the hoopla was about. I saw on that show the graphic contrast of how the world views authority. The old patriarch, Dad Ewing, chairman of the board of Ewing Oil, had made one of his sons, J.R., president of the company. There was about $20,000,000 in the general fund, and J.R. had pulled a slick deal to purchase oil leases obligating the major portion of the twenty. Meanwhile, the old man had worked a side deal with an old cronie for other leases and he had used most of the twenty for his deal. At the showdown in the Petroleum Club J.R. angrily tells his dad, "You had no right to do that! You gave me authority over this company!" Whereupon the patriarch grabbed him by the coat lapel, jerked his shorter frame up to his height, and with fist in face spat out, "Listen! Nobody gives you authority! You take it!" Case dismissed! I thought, "Lord, how true. That’s the way it works in Satan’s kingdom. You get authority in his rat race by running over people with power plays, but authority in Your Kingdom comes only by submission." The exact opposite of what Satan tries to make us believe! But then, would we expect God to operate in any other way than the opposite of Satan’s way?

Submission in the Real World

I have sat under some teachers who, quite frankly, have not seen some of the truths that God, purely by His grace, has shown me. There have been times in my Christian walk where Sunday morning has been the most difficult time of my week as I’d sit and listen to "salvation by grace" served up with a heavy side of "law gravy" to motivate the flock into obedience." Motive good, method bad. Ultimately, God began to get through to me that despite this misinterpretation, here was a chance to just love this dear brother (instead of getting frustrated with him) and submit to his authority over me. What a neat opportunity!

Oh, it’s easy to submit to authority that I admire and respect! But the Lord had me closed into a mini-laboratory where I was given a chance to learn to submit to authority when I felt I was more mature in the faith! And after I had earned his respect by loving him and submitting to his authority via gentleness and kindness, God gave me opportunity to share some of the truths with him that the Holy Spirit had taught me. I believe my encounter never would have happened without my practicing submission, yet never compromising convictions, and always watching my tone of voice if the occasion called for taking a stand.

All authority on Planet Earth, indeed in the universe, is established by God (Rom. 13). I believe that in many ways we are to see our earthly experience as simply a laboratory wherein the Father choreographs the circumstances (even sometimes by allowing the devil more latitude to work) so as to teach His children to act more like family (Rom. 8:28-29). The world, the flesh, and the devil say the pathway to authority is muscle; God’s Word teaches that authority is gained through submission to authority. We Christians will one day sit as co-regent with the Lord Jesus Christ as His bride. Now is the time to learn how to gain and use authority in an eternal social order, where agape reigns as the order of the day. Humble yourself, dear Christian. You are standing on God’s gracious tutoring ground for granting you authority and rule from here to eternity (1 Peter 5:6).

According to Ken Cummins, our Thanksgiving celebration is a wonderful illustration of CHANGE AND THE UNCHANGEABLE.

Recently I realized that Thanksgiving, one of the biggest holidays we celebrate in the USA, is both about change and things that never change.

Have you noticed when God is at work things change? Those who fear its consequences often fight it with vigor or retreat in denial. On the other hand, those who embrace the changes that spring forth from a revelation of truth find it offers new hope and a richer, more meaningful life. Our Thanksgiving celebration is an event born of inspired revelation, tumultuous changes, courageous vision, and obedience to the heart of God.

As we study the history of Thanksgiving we find connective threads that run from Martin Luther challenging papal authority to the Puritan landing at Plymouth Rock. Though one hundred and four years separate these events Martin Luther and the Puritans’ shared the same heart and mission. In their heart, they were prepared to face whatever changes resulted from their convictions. They were labeled heretics. They were excommunicated. This because they resolutely identified with and kept their focus on the immutable mission they shared with Jesus.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are downtrodden, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18,19)

They knew, as we do, that the mission Jesus was on as He walked the hills of Israel 2000 years ago is the same mission He was on 600 years ago in Germany, 500 years ago at Plymouth Rock, and today wherever a heart is surrendered to Him. When we share the heart of God; when we experience the freedom that truth brings; when we witness the destruction of lives that high sounding lies have produced; everything changes.

About the Author

Bill founded Lifetime Guarantee Ministries to encourage people to experience the reality of Christ as life. His transparent, humorous, down-to-earth style and sense of humor made him one of the most effective teachers of his time. He communicated with great clarity the full extent of what God accomplished in Christ and what that means for the Christian identity. Although Bill passed away in June 2011, his messages are timeless and will continue to impact generations to come.