In all facets of life, it is essential to learn and to know who has authority. In the schoolhouse, it is essential to know who has authority. In the home, it is essential to know who has authority. On the sports field, it is essential to know who has authority. In the workplace, it is essential to know who has authority. We can readily understand how and why that is so important.
So, what about in religion? Who has authority (specifically—ALL authority) in religious matters today? Is it the preacher, the pastor, the elders, the church council, our family, our friends, a church manual, a creed book, my personal opinions, my personal beliefs, some church tradition, what is popular, what I feel in my heart, OR something else? How would we determine the answer to this crucial question? Let us see what the Bible has to say!
First, Jesus Christ has all authority in religious matters today because He created all things. “By Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth” (Col. 1:16). Nothing exists that Jesus Himself did not create (John 1:3). “He is before all things,” therefore, “in all things” He is to have “preeminence” (Col. 1:17-18). Jesus truly has all authority!
Second, Jesus Christ has all authority in religious matters today because He came down from heaven. When Jesus came to the earth, those who heard Him preach “were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matt. 7:28-29). The God of heaven announced, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matt 17:5). Everyone who will not hear Him “shall be utterly destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:22-23). Jesus truly has all authority!
Third, Jesus Christ has all authority in religious matters today because He was raised from the dead. After His resurrection and before He ascended back into heaven, Jesus proclaimed, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). Jesus was then seated at the right hand of God, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named” (Eph. 1:21). Jesus truly has all authority!
Fourth, Jesus Christ has all authority in religious matters today because He will judge all mankind. The day will come when we will “all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10). Jesus has been “ordained” by God to “judge the world” (Acts 17:31) at the end of time, and it is His word that “will judge [man] in the last day” (John 12:48). Jesus truly has all authority!
Whose authority should we follow in religion today? Whose standard must we use to acceptably serve God? There is no human authority or human standard that has been given all authority or will judge us in the end. Only Christ has all authority! Therefore, we must turn to Him, respect Him, submit to Him, follow Him and obey Him!