Authority: Which Father?

WHICH FATHER?

ULTIMATELY ALL AUTHORITY FLOWS THROUGH CHRIST TO US FROM THE FATHER:

there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Cor 8:6 ESV cf. Eph 4:6).

The passage in Hebrews which relates Christ’s perfection to his passion (Heb 5:7-10) points back to Gethsemane.  Here Jesus prays in the most uniquely intimate way; ““And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.””(Mark 14:36 ESV)

Unlimited anguish1)“And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.””Mark 14:34 ESV is united to the tenderest awareness of the heart of God as Father, “Abba”,2)This does not mean “Daddy”, but something like “Dear Father”;https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/RelEd/article/viewFile/2041/1961 with an acknowledgement of sovereign power, “all things are possible for you.” It is this complex of revelatory truths actualised in the midst of suffering that deepens Jesus (human) faith that God has the authority “to kill and to make alive”, that is, to crucify and resurrect him from the dead (Deut 32:39; 1 Sam 2:6; 2 Ki 5:7 cf. Acts 2:23; Acts 4:28).

THIS MEANS THAT THE GOSPEL OF DIVINE FATHERHOOD IS THE FRAMEWORK FOR ALL LEGITIMATE EXERCISE OF AUTHORITY.

God has moral and spiritual authority over our consciences because he is revealed as a faithful Father.
This loving authority is the only true authority in the universe.

The revelation God gave Paul of the gospel, that God raised Jesus as his Son from the dead in the power of the Spirit, is the foundation for his apostolic authority; “(Christ Jesus) was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Romans 1:4-5 ESV).3)This is functionally equivalent to the Great Commission. The resurrected Son imparts authority to apostles to command obedience from the nations Matt 28:18-20

Paul makes the connection with fatherhood more explicit when he writes to the troublesome Corinthians, “I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me.” (1 Cor 4:14-16 ESV)4)For similar language see, 1 Cor 4:17; Eph 5:1; 2 Cor 6:13; 12:14; Phil 2:22; 1 Thess 2:11; Phlm 10; 1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1:2; Tit 1:4; 1 John 2:1, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 5:21; 2 John 4

Exactly what this means for Paul is expressed more passionately in his letter to the Galatians, “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!”(Galatians 4:19 ESV).

This is a spiritual father who is like a mother in the pains of child birth.

The sort of mature authority that God is looking for in his Church today is one that faithfully images suffering freely borne for the sake of others.

It is only the indwelling Word from a suffering father that can communicate the whole counsel of God, the fullness of election, adoption, justification, sanctification and so on (Acts 20:27).

In a time when there are many pressures to “professionalise” ministry only this form of authority is uniquely Christian.

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References   [ + ]

1. “And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.””Mark 14:34 ESV
2. This does not mean “Daddy”, but something like “Dear Father”;https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/RelEd/article/viewFile/2041/1961
3. This is functionally equivalent to the Great Commission. The resurrected Son imparts authority to apostles to command obedience from the nations Matt 28:18-20
4. For similar language see, 1 Cor 4:17; Eph 5:1; 2 Cor 6:13; 12:14; Phil 2:22; 1 Thess 2:11; Phlm 10; 1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1:2; Tit 1:4; 1 John 2:1, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 5:21; 2 John 4

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