The promise of being indwelt by God and indwelling God is a central element in New Testament salvation, ““Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.””(John 14:23 ESV)1) See also Jn 15:4-5, Jn 14:20, Jn 17:21,23,26; Rom 9:1; 12:5; 1 Cor 4:15; 12:13; 2 Cor 2:17; Eph 6:1; Phil 1:1; Col 2:6-7; 1 Thess 1:1; 1 Thess 2:14; 1 Jn 2:24, Jn 3:6; Jn 5:20; 1 Peter 3:16; 1 Peter 5:1,10,14; 2 Peter 1:3-5 etc.
The Christian is in Christ as Christ is in God (e.g. 1 Cor 3:21- 23; Col 3:1 & 4) or, to put the same thing a little differently, as the Son is in the Father (John 14:10; 20; 17:23).2)We indwell God and Christ by grace, the Father, Son and Spirit mutually indwell by nature. “I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you (John 14:20); ““I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.””(John 17:20-23 ESV).
This can mean nothing less than sharing in the inner eternal life of the Trinity (2 Pet 1:4). A number of important conclusions flow from this truth. The first involves the recognition that authority is a gift. The crowds recognised that Christ’s authority was given by God; “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” (Matthew 9:6-8 ESV cf. John 3:2).
Jesus constantly confessed that his authority was a gift from the Father; “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” (John 5:26-27 ESV; John 10:18; John 12:49; John 14:10; John 17:2; Matt 28:18).
THE AUTHORITY OF ALL NEW COVENANT TESTIMONY AND MINISTRY IS ONE THAT IS “GIVEN”3)Even the Spirit does not speak on his own behalf; ““When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”” John 16:13 ESV
(Matthew 10:1; Luke 10:19; Luke 19:17; 2 Cor 10:8; 2 Cor 13:10; Rev 2:26; Rev 11:3; Rev 20:4).
If the authority that a Christian possesses is a grace-given share in the authority of Christ, we cannot place a limit on such authority.
A Bible teacher and revivalist known to me once challenged a group of pastors with words something like this; “Do you fellows believe the word which you speak is the Word which created the world.”
This is surely biblical; “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.” (1 Pet 4:11).
Since “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Rom 10:8), we are united with the authority of him who created the universe, sent the prophets, “who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.” (Apostles’ Creed)
The limitless gift nature of spiritual authority means that those who would grow in the exercise of authority must abandon all human effort to earn or establish such authority; whether this be trust in personality, spiritual gifts, theological education or any other human attribute. In the thought world of scripture God alone has ultimate authority; “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1 ESV cf. Psalm 62:11; 2 Cor 4:7).
Even the most hideous powers of evil are “given authority” from heaven (John 19:11; Rev 6:8; Rev 13:2, 4, 7, Rev 17:12-13).
The foundational Reformation slogans of grace alone, faith alone, scripture alone and Christ alone are as true today as ever before.
This is why Paul prays for the Ephesians that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Eph 3:17).
He does not mean that they lack Jesus’ indwelling presence, but that through faith in the finished work of Christ he will dwell more intensely in them and as such their knowledge of God’s power and authority will grow.
In other places the apostle uses the expression “the obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5; 16:26), this has a special reference
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|1.||↑||See also Jn 15:4-5, Jn 14:20, Jn 17:21,23,26; Rom 9:1; 12:5; 1 Cor 4:15; 12:13; 2 Cor 2:17; Eph 6:1; Phil 1:1; Col 2:6-7; 1 Thess 1:1; 1 Thess 2:14; 1 Jn 2:24, Jn 3:6; Jn 5:20; 1 Peter 3:16; 1 Peter 5:1,10,14; 2 Peter 1:3-5 etc.|
|2.||↑||We indwell God and Christ by grace, the Father, Son and Spirit mutually indwell by nature.|
|3.||↑||Even the Spirit does not speak on his own behalf; ““When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”” John 16:13 ESV|