Friday, February 05, 2010

The final authority

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Corinthians 15:20-34

TO CHEW ON: “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:24-26

When you have a problem with the service you get in a store, you don’t lodge your complaint with the janitor, the boy who stocks shelves, or even the cashier. If you want action on your issue, you go to the person who has the authority or power to make a difference – the supervisor, manager or, if it’s serious enough, the president of the company.

The verses we’re looking at today talk about who has ultimate authority over the universe. They speak of a time in the future – a “Then…” telling us it’s not yet so.

For reasons known to God, He has for a time allowed Satan some authority on earth. When we witness sickness, chaos, confusion, hatred and death, we see evidences of that authority. But Satan's authority won't last forever. Our verses speak of a time when God rescinds or puts an end to all other rule but His on the earth.

The Greek word for authority used here is exousia. One meaning for exousia is the right to use dunamis – another authority word that means “strength.” We could paraphrase “He puts an end to all rule, and all authority and power” by saying “He (Jesus) puts an end to all rule and all the right / permission to use strength and power.”

I love how my Bible’s footnote to verse 28 expands on this: “The goal of history and the consummation of the covenant will occur when the kingdom is delivered up to God. When creation will be completely free of all dissident antilife forces.” (The New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1603 - emphasis mine)

Nice thoughts. But how do they impact you and me today? Here are three ways:

1. We can choose to live under ultimate authority – the authority of the Kingdom of God – now. (Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels are full of the ‘laws of physics and gravity’ of that kingdom.)

2. We can appeal, in prayer, to the One with the highest authority.

3. We can live with hope and expectation, knowing that someday God’s authority will be established in real time on earth.

PRAYER: Dear God, I acknowledge Your ultimate authority over my life, over history, over the earth. Help me to live out this belief today. Amen.

Chris Tomlin sings “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name”

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