Understanding your authority in Christ
And how to get it back if you think you’ve lost it.
The Christian life is one of simplicity when it is left in God’s hands. We worship and serve by His strength and find rest for our hearts while in His care. Like little children, we are poised to play at His feet and delight to be embraced by His loving kindness. There is certainly a great measure of solitude when Jesus remains our focus.
Now if you can hold on to this childlike picture for a moment we want to add another element. You see Jesus is not only Savior but also King of Kings and Lord of Lords. At one time He came as a sacrificial lamb, however by passing through death, burial and resurrection He now declares that all authority and power belong to Him. This is significant, because it tells us that there is a God that rules both heaven and earth. Everything is subject to His magnificent will and every kingdom on earth, both physical and spiritual must now bow the knee.
We, on the other hand, are already at His feet and we willingly remain pliable to His call. As sons and daughters who are loved by God we find refuge in a heavenly family and our citizenship is now properly set in heaven. What we want to emphasize here is each believer is invited to participate in the divine nature and that allows us to move forward in the victory that is in Christ.
Jesus (Yeshua) is the victorious Head and we are the victorious body.
What now determines a successful Christian life is our intimate connection with Jesus and our position within His environment of grace. But what also helps is thinking and acting new about the life we live. In this case we have to start thinking in spiritual terms. You see the kingdom of God remains not of this earth, God also describes Himself as a spiritual Father, Jesus (Yeshua) has conquered spiritual worlds and we became a spiritually equipped new creation.
So how do we begin to function with a new spiritual mindset?
It’s actually very easy; we go to the Word and identify all the ways in which Jesus gained the victory for us and then we agree in prayer that His victory should be applied to our lives.
“Jesus apply your victory to my life”
This is really no different then when we first got saved; we came to understand the Bible’s salvation message and then simply agreed with that message in order to gain eternal life; only then was God able to act on our behalf. It is my hope that you will find refuge as well as true purpose in the life of Christ based on this simple principle. Such a pattern of trust allows us to embrace every blessing that comes from above and experience fulfillment as it has been handed to us by God.
Now one significant blessing that is often over looked relates to the authority of each believer. When we got saved the authority of Jesus was given to us through a supernatural connection. Jesus became our source of life and faith as we were brought into the family of God and His authority became our source of authority.
Ephesians 2:6-7 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Seated with Christ means two things; it means we have ceased from our own works and our own abilities, since Jesus has offered us a full and rich alternative to mankind’s dominion. Secondly it means that we have gained a spiritual position in Christ that is raised above the dictates of a fallen world. We can literally hold on to the perspective that the kingdoms of this world remain under our feet. Now that should help us not only take responsibility for our faith but also make choices that allow us to continually abide in God’s favor. However there is one thing that stops us from living in the blessing; it has to do with our dependence on our old man’s flesh and blood nature. Let me explain.
At one time humanity received a body and a commission from God to be fruitful and take dominion, and this was a good thing. However as man sinned and lost connection with God, his natural ability to take dominion failed him. Left to his own devices he became a slave to a temporal world and to numerous false gods.
As believers this should concern us for one reason. Even though we have been invited to rest in the kingdom and partake of that which is spiritually victorious in Christ, God’s promises are only as effective as our willingness to agree with Him. The dividing line between true success and failure does depend on our responses. Will we allow the accomplishments of our natural man to define us or will we be known by the life of Christ. The Apostle Paul helps make a distinction by saying;
Romans 8:5-6 (NIV) Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set in what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Now I’m becoming more and more aware of my own limitations and the choices I have made in the past have actually set me under many forms of worldly oppression. When I thought naturally about the world, its inhabitants and my place in the scheme of things I was actually only seeing myself as under its power and as a victim of past, present and future history. Under that umbrella I might hope to avoid evil men and dark circumstances, but realistically I’ve been thinking naturally since birth. However, as a believer in Christ the Holy Spirit is at work in me to change how I think and act so that I can see with new eyes and walk with new spiritual authority. But what do I do if the world already owns me? As a Christian is there a way to shed the world and many of its fallen ways?
After years of living under the weight of poor choices I discovered that Jesus had made a way for me to regain a place of confidence in Him. The answer is present in what He did on the Cross.
Our way of escape
There are many benefits that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus provided for us, all of which helped us sever our umbilical cord with Adam (fallen mankind). Since we were desperately owned by a corrupt world, God sent His son in the likeness of frail man to save us all. In this case Jesus was fulfilling the will of the Father by becoming a sacrifice for mankind’s sin, but he was also providing a way for us to come out of the limitations of this fallen world.
So how did we get set free?
As it happens Jesus wasn’t the only one that died on the Cross; as believers we also gained freedom from the world by participating in that one event. No, we didn’t die physically; instead Jesus supernaturally took us into His own death so that we could also experience His life. Here are some verses describing this marvelous way of transformation.
Romans 6:2…………….. We died to sin.
Romans 6:3…………….. You were baptized into His death?
Romans 6:6…………….. The old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with.
Romans 6:7…………. Anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:8…………….. Died with Christ… alive with Him.
Romans 6:11…………… Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 7:4…. You also died to the law through the body of Christ.
Romans 7:6…………….. By dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law.
1Corintians 5:14……… Christ died for all; therefore, all died.
Galatians 2:19………… I died to the law so that I might live for God.
Galatians 2:20………… I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
Colossians 2:20………. You died with Christ to the basic principles of this world.
Colossians 3:3………… You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
2Timothy 2:11………. If we died with Him, we will also live with Him.
Colossians 1:22………. You were reconciled by Christ’s physical body through death.
Colossians 2:12………. You were buried with him in baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God
So here’s this powerful (often over looked) aspect of the gospel which shows us how we were set free of the old life and were loosed from the effects of many of our poor Adamic choices. These were matters that had laid hold of us in physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual ways and subjected us to slavery. Yet the Cross set us free not just once, but every time we notice that some worldly lie or worldly master still wants to own and control us.
How do we take an issue to God?
Romans 8:12-14 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live 14. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
To separate from any improper ownership all we have to do is agree that it was severed in Christ and at the Cross. We then ask God to intervene on our behalf.
Jesus, the scripture says that I died with you so I ask that by your Spirit you will put to death where I remain improperly owned and made subject to men, organizations and even to a demonic realm.
What is also important to note, Jesus doesn’t leave us in the grave; instead He provides a way to be “born again” and renewed in how we live, move and have our being; (out with the old life and in with the new).
Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
So what is established is a long term relationship with God that allows us to mature in our faith as He intended. He made a way for us to shed our old life in order to partake of life and faith which is made in His image.
Now if we are going to address any issue of worldly “bondage” we want to bring attention to two main components that often work in tandem. The first component is our self centered Adamic nature. We often are looking for something in the world to satisfy an itch; thus man’s initial commission to take dominion was replaced with an attempt to dominate creation for personal gain.
The second refers to the Devil and his own involvement in such endeavors. He is known as “the god of this world” and remains master of something we now call “the world system”. Please notice the distinction here; God rules heaven and “earth” but the “world system” is based on the Devil’s own agenda.
So when the Devil engaged mankind he took man’s natural fleshly abilities, desires and appetites and supercharged them. Hence a bond was formed between man and spirit which gave man a sense of counterfeit power and purpose, but this also allowed the Devil and his minion’s to gain ultimate control. This is an important point of union because it reveals how most of man’s actions get moved along by a corrupt and wicked spirit. For this reason Paul the Apostle says;
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms
Please notice that he is not just talking about personal bondage, but rather an on going source of contention for those that would live by the standards of this world. There’s a spiritual realm out there that wants to influence society and it has no intentions of giving up any ground. The ground we speak of can best be described as a zone where a demon has gained a certain amount of control and influence. If one enters that spiritual zone then it has a tendency to weaken our resolve and eventually we will find ourselves playing into its hands. (Two biblical examples of territorial control can be found in Daniel 10:20 the prince of Persia and the prince of Greece) So the combination of bad company, both human and spiritual, are what corrupt good morals and sets the stage for us being “under” various degrees of oppression and defeat.
Now besides people offering us a questionable fleshly/spiritual zone of influence, there are households, organizations, cities; states, governments, countries, nations, and continents, all of which were formed in the same manner. But it’s the dominant rise of our nation, our government and a new world order that we want to address here, simply because it is becoming one of the most pronounced battles we face in preserving our faith.
In God’s hands government represents an extension of His Righteous and Holy nature; His seat of power and His rule is orchestrated from Heaven. The government of God is founded upon a Person, who delivers justice and mercy based on His own Eternal dominion. This is where the believer should dwell at all times; in the government of God which provides sovereign rights, privileges and authority for all those that would enter. In this environment both the common man and leadership both thrive and are blessed in their efforts (Great foundation!). However when a nation becomes corrupt we discover that equality among men is lost and a pursuit of power ensues. Any system of government that shifts from serving the people to serving it self is going to create an inordinate amount of unnecessary physical and spiritual bondage.
Corruption is also the result of man serving his own base desires and when a government adopts the same goals, lust, pride and greed become rampant. Here’s where America eventually sold out.
Just after the Civil war the Act of 1871 was passed which set into motion a change in the direction of our nation. The ten square miles of Washington DC established itself as a corporate power. America then became known as THE UNITED STATES; the letter capitalization is important because it signifies it as a corporate entity and distinguishes it from the original Republic. The Corporation has also made changes to the Constitution in the same manner which signifies it as a separate contract serving financial and business interests rather than the sovereign right of each individual. (US CODE TITLE 28.3002 #A describes the United States as a corporation.)
Now corporations are created entities for the sole purpose of acquiring wealth; it’s all about buying and selling. The problem here is simply that a corporation, since it has no soul, devalues human life for the sake of its financial gain. The more emphasis placed on gain, the more human casualties fall at the hands of the system. So when our government adopted such behavior we were being introduced to a system of control as well as a form of spiritual oppression. This process of decay is called “Corporatism” or “Corporate Fascism” (The merger of corporate and political power.) But the bible has another name for this type of control; it’s called “Babylon”.
Babylon was once a physical kingdom but at the end of the age it has given birth to spiritual agenda that covers the earth. Now, Babylon doesn’t simply limit its reach into financial worlds, but rather, it emphasizes the buying and selling of the souls of men. Its form of bondage explores every way in which mankind can be subdued all the while promising them a dangling carrot of success. So whether it’s economic Babylon, governmental, or religious in nature there is an agenda that feeds man’s appetites and brings him into bondage and under spiritual control. Please notice the contrast here; the free gift of God sets us above the dictates of a fallen world, but for the right price Babylon will gladly make you a slave of its system.
Now certainly a decadent society with a Babylonian complex is not going to stop being corrupt, so the question at hand is “must we continue to be a victim of its economic, political, and religious rule?” For the record, there is no way for us to physically or naturally save ourselves from Babylon. The complexity of having been sown into the fabric of a fallen world system requires that God be the One that sets us free. But I would like to point out that He is leaving that choice up to us.
Revelation 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say:“‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
By handing this matter over to Jesus we can find freedom at the Cross from the kingdoms of Babylon. In our most humble request we are asking that a spiritual God severe the effects of a physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritually corrupt world empire. Only then are we able to see with His eyes full of faith and are then able to guard our hearts as He intended.
- Jesus, by your Spirit, I ask that you put to death where I remain improperly owned by the Babylonian and corporate system.
- Put to death where I remain owned by men and their many physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual “one world” agendas.
- Lastly set me and my family free of any demonic influences that hold us captive to this oppressive economic, governmental, or religious one world order.
- Jesus, I now trust that you are the resurrection power that saves me and my household. What just transpired?
In a nut shell what has now been restored to us is an authority that can say “no” to future worldly advances. The power of God has once again seated us in heavenly realms and spiritual Babylon is now under our feet. All of this was accomplished by believing in the power of a spiritual God rather than a physical world.
Now I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that the world just got the memo that we were set free. Certainly God by His Spirit is able to bring about a healthy amount of separation from worldly trouble and that should be expected of Him. However He may also need for us to ponder where we still think and act out of our natural reason.
For example; men as a whole believe that in their actions they are doing right. That standard of “right” comes about when a man enters any organizational zone looking for physical and spiritual reward. But if you want to play the organizational game then you must play by the rules. In fact playing by the rules also means being governed by the rules and even being disciplined by the rules when you don’t play right. Every good and evil construct of man is based on these same principles. However as we are discovering the kingdom of God isn’t about playing any of these man made games, instead God is intent on removing our feet from the snare of such worldly reward and punishment. As Paul the Apostle points out;
Colossians 2:20-22 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
Paul further suggests that our citizenship is one that is set in heaven (Philippians 3:20). So it is in our best interest to ask the question which man made zone and unnecessary manmade rules still have to govern us.
For example: human nature wants to be accepted and we’ve been looking for approval all our lives. If it was not in an attempt to be accepted by family, the high school team or some other social group it may have been about gaining a better promotion in a job. Yet every time we bow the knee in an attempt to succeed in these natural arenas we are giving a part of ourselves away. So as we ponder where physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual freedom has been lost, know that God is able to free us from unnecessary rule; we can still be in the world and not be of it. However on this very note I must ask the question “is it then even advantageous for us to identify ourselves as an “American” or a citizen of the world? As the world slides into greater degrees of depravity will we be condemned right along with it for choosing to play its game?
Jesus, by your Spirit, I ask that you will put to death where I place more emphasis on being an American or a citizen of the world than I do on being a child of God and a citizen of heaven.
There is good reason for setting our citizenship in God’s hands, for if we remain in the proverbial box then a physical and spiritual world will own us and move us around as it sees fit. On a good day that means we’re blessed and are able to partake of the fruit of the land, but on a bad day it means we become the main course.
On this note, it may come as a surprise to you but good men and women are being called to serve up unjust discipline for this very reason. When evil and ever shifting laws are adopted, the peace officer, the soldier and the civil servant find themselves obligated to serve a corrupt system rather than actually protect the rights of the individual. From a natural perspective they are just doing their job, however from a spiritual perspective they are slaves to a power that hates God and God’s people.
So as we pray in earnest we ask Jesus to not only remove our feet from the snare of the American Corporation but also shield us from the injustice and evil that is present in Babylon.
Now such a statement isn’t seeking to promote anarchy instead it’s seeking to offer each believer a greater standard of righteousness and peace which comes about as we separate from the games men play. That also means that in Christ the battle has already been won. In other words we don’t need to pick up a stick and beat an oppressor the old fashion way. We can simply trust that Jesus has provided us an authority “in Spirit” to quell a natural enemy. Let me say it like this; a physical confrontation does not need an equal and opposite physical defense in order to win. There is still room for learning that God’s Spirit is capable of winning every skirmish and already has. In a nut shell God is Spirit and He won every spiritual battle for us. So as we hold on to and exercise our spiritual authority in Christ we also win.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ
So far we have been talking about getting our house in order by recognizing and applying the importance of the Cross to our circumstances of life. In this way we are able to find greater rest from a wicked world and freedom from worldly threats. However if we are planning on winning future battles in Christ we may also need to call upon the Name of Jesus.
The Name of Jesus (Yeshua) is our last line of defense against human and ultimately spiritual aggression. It is not merely reciting the name that is powerful, but rather it is the authority that is behind the Name and our position within it that makes the difference.
John 17:11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
When we proclaim the Name of Jesus we are letting both heaven and earth know that we are joint heirs with Christ and are declaring our Family Name! In such an environment of grace we have the authority to command spiritual violence and murder to cease in its advance against us. Furthermore we can even demand that an advancing human oppressor be set free of the very same spirit that controls their violent actions. (Check out Acts 16:16-18 as an example.)
Presently within our society there are sources of violent contention brewing and ready to pounce. So in the days ahead you can expect that there will be opportunities to stand in Christ and oppose various forms of oppression. I say “stand” rather than advance, simply because we need to trust that God is on our side, so we really don’t need to pick a fight. However I will also say that it doesn’t mean we turn off our ability to discern when an enemy of Christ is so blatantly plotting against God’s people. At times like these we don’t seek to move men; but rather we seek to move God. Let me give you an example of how God is capable of winning every battle:
A few years back I was meeting a friend of mine who was having some work done on his house. For the project, he had hired a man with whom he had previous business connections. Yet on this day the two had a disagreement and the hired man started to become quite aggressive, even to the point of becoming violent. Before the confrontation became ugly, the Holy Spirit prompted me to bind the spirit of violence that was on this man’s life. I didn’t bind the man, I bound the spirit. I said;
“In the name of Jesus (Yeshua) I bind the violent spirit that is at work in this man.”
Now I was about thirty feet away from this encounter and had whispered my command, but immediately the hired man turned to me obviously shaken and said, “ Wait a minute “we” don’t have a problem with you, our fight is with the boss!” My reply was; “That doesn’t matter you are now bound from being violent.” In short order the confrontation was over.
Whatever the battle, whether it’s as simple as having a quarrel with the man on the street, a confrontation with a violent oppressor or even if facing down a whole army we have a way of escape, we have authority in spiritual realms and we have the Name of Jesus on our side.
In the days ahead the individual Christian may not be able to depend on others as a shield against violent acts. Instead it is time that each believer develops their own set of leadership skills. That means, we each put on the armor of God and really settle in our hearts that God is for us and is able to set at bay any potential enemy. The first enemy was our self and our love for the world. As we took ownership issues to the Cross God was able to establish us within His righteousness, peace and joy. Yet the next enemy may just be a representative of politics, commerce or religious fanaticism. These persecutors are not men they are demons that have gained control over mankind and man’s self centered interests. If believers finally get a revelation that they are seated with Christ in heavenly realms, then evil will want to stay far from us. Based on a timely assignment from heaven it is very possible that some will call off spiritually inspired and aggressive armies with a simple word. But this all depends on where we choose to dwell. Which kingdom has been feeding us, which kingdom has been giving us permission, which kingdom has been rewarding us and which kingdom still has the right to persecute us? In each case we remain poised to trust in God and depend on His Name for our continued deliverance and assignment.