What is your immediate thought when you hear the word "authority"? Being human, you likely think "control." Humans equate authority with control. Human possession of authority equals control. One controls because he or she has authority. Humans give the right to control by granting authority. Simply consider human authority figures: the military officer, the law enforcement officer, the C.E.O., the university chancellor, etc. To humans, authority equals the right of control.

Among humans, how one acquires authority is secondary to possessing authority. Regardless of how authority was acquired, it still conveys the right to control. You may seize it. You may be given it. You may win it. You may inherit it. You may acquire it by deceit. Regardless of how it is acquired, authority equals control: in the political world, in the business world, in world of education, in the church.

Thus we are accustomed to humans in authority who are less than honorable, less than honest, less than ethical, less than moral, and less than upright. We are accustomed to character "not mattering." Even if he or she is not honorable, the person still possesses the authority, still exercises the control. Authority equals control. Authority has little to do with who or what you are as a person.

Not so with God. Is God the ultimate authority? The ultimate authority is the sovereign God. Is everything under the sovereign God's control? Without question. Evil says differently, but evil asks you to consider only immediate circumstances and the short-term future, never the eternal. In terms we relate to, "Victory is not achieved by half-time scores, or scores after nine holes, or scores at the top of the ninth."

We assume that God is in control because God has the authority. We assume that authority gives God control. Why? Because that is the reality of the human world. Our assumptions are false. God's authority is based on His character. And so is His control. God is worthy to have all authority. God is worthy to be in control. He is the true One who keeps every promise. He is the righteous One filled with mercy. He is the just One who forgives. He is absolute purity and holiness. He is worthy.

Those who see God upon His throne fall before Him in awe. Because of His authority? His control? NO!!! Because of His worthiness!!! Read Isaiah 6:1-7 and Revelation 4. Heaven is filled with His glory because He is worthy.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 18 July 1999

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