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Spiritual Power and Spiritual Authority 

The two words ‘authority’ and ‘power,’ differ greatly. The Greek word translated as ‘authority’ is ‘exousia,’ and means to have the right to rule or govern. In contrast, word translated ‘power’ is ‘dunamis,’ meaning to have the strength or actual ability to bring about a desired purpose. A modern illustration may be seen in the roles of a truck driver and a traffic officer. An semi has inherent strength and so its driver has direct or ‘dunamis’ power at his disposal to perform his task. An officer has no physical power to stop a truck, but he has delegated or ‘exousia’ authority at his disposal. When the traffic officer stops the trucker, his gesture conveys the whole weight of the Police Department. 

Christ has not given us direct or ‘dunamis’ power to overcome the power of Satan. Instead He has entrusted us to wield the authority that is attached to His name, the name which is the greatest in all creation. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” (Key Bible Reading ). We may exercise the authority contained in the name of Jesus over the power of Satan. For instance we may, in the name of Jesus, cast out demons, or bind the powers of darkness away from our circumstances, or loose those who are held in bondage to the enemy. However, it is important to see that our authority to use the name of Jesus is closely linked with our spiritual state of union or relationship with Him. Just as a traffic officer is stripped of his authority if he steps outside of his jurisdiction, so too we lose our authority when we step out of an abiding relationship with Christ. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5). Before we can wield the authority of the name of Jesus we must be united and one with Him—so bound and yoked to Him that we are of one mind and one heart with Him. He must initiate, and we must respond in obedience. He then confirms our legitimate use of the authority of His name by instructing the Holy Spirit to perform the works that we have commanded. 

Our authority must be linked to God’s authority.  Obedience is the key to successful operation of progressive authority. If there is obedience throughout the chain, then each link is upheld by the authority of the links above it. However if one link in that chain is disobedient, then its authority can no longer be upheld by those above it, and the chain is effectively broken.  God is the supreme head of all authority. His ultimate omnipotence cannot be disputed.  Satan’s authority over mankind, however, is not absolute. It is proportional to the degree to which man chooses to disobey God. Because of the depravity and rebelliousness of fallen man, the apostle John conceded that, “…the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” 1 John 5:19. The fact is that we are not just dealing with Satan as a deceiver, a liar, an evil spirit, etc. We are dealing with him as one who is in authority over this present world. The only way an individual can be delivered from the authority of Satan is to submit to an authority that is higher than Satan! (Colossians 1:12-13.) 

No person is an authority unto himself. Regardless of where you are, someone has authority over you, usually depending upon your citizenship. Do not operate under false assumptions about your relationship with God. Obedience is not scalable. It cannot be mixed with disobedience. That brings us back to Jesus Christ.  Since obedience is at the heart of all true authority, it was appointed to Jesus to become a sacrificial offering—not only as an atonement for the sins of mankind—but as the ultimate display of obedience. His task of redeeming mankind was complete—a perfect work done in perfect obedience. By accomplishing His perfect work, Christ has laid the foundation for re-establishing God’s authority on earth.

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