I wonder which part of Paul’s life he was referring to when he said, “the life I live in the body”? Which part had he crucified and given to Christ? I ask because it seems that many have drawn the conclusion that there is some sort of separation between our spiritual life and our everyday, regular life. Paul made no such distinction; Christ reigned in every aspect of his life. When he said, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God”, he confirmed that he had authority from Christ for everything that he did, both in regards to working with other Christians and in his personal life.
Anything done “by faith” is done according to the word of God (Rom 10:17). In Hebrews 11, Abel, Noah, Abraham, and Moses are all said to have done things “by faith” (Heb 11:4,7,8,23), that is, they did things according to God’s instructions. If we are to live our lives by faith in Christ then we must have authority from Christ for all that we do. Many articles have been written on authority as it relates to the works of the church. Sermons have been preached showing the need for authority in all that we do as a church, showing from scripture that the silence of the scriptures is not authoritative. Such articles and sermons are good and needful but we don’t need to limit the discussion of authority to the works of the church. That’s not to say that every article written on the subject must go further in its scope, but as Christians we need to see that we need biblical authority for all that we do.
The following are some examples of how some fail to live by faith in that they have no authority for the things which they practice.
Weddings – “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb 13:4) God has shown his approval for marriage from the very beginning (Gen 2:24) and along with the marriage, a wedding. But what type of wedding do we have authority for?
From scripture we have authority for the wedding of a man and woman (Gen 2:24; Rom 1:26,27) who have not divorced a previous spouse (except for the cause of fornication (Matt 19:3-9)) and who have not been put away themselves. However, we do not find authority for the bride and her maids to dress immodestly; for lasciviousness in the form of dancing; or having a drinking party after the wedding. In fact, the scriptures clearly teach against such actions. The works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21 are sadly found alive and well at many weddings today. Such a beautiful occasion marred by unauthorized and condemned practices.
If Christ lives in us we walk after Him, wherever He leads. Would He lead us to do such things? Special occasions are not occasions to lead ourselves.
Vacation – “and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God” (Eccl 3:13) God has blessed us and it is right for us to enjoy those blessings. Vacations can be a time for families to draw closer together as well as a time for visiting brethren in other areas. There is much good that can come from taking a little time off from our busy lives.
But do we have authority for taking a vacation from God? Can we go where we will not be able to worship with brethren on the first day of the week? Do we have authority to put ourselves in harm’s way (spiritually) by visiting places where sin and temptation abound? Certainly not! We do not disconnect from Christ when we pull out of the driveway and say, “see you when we get back home.” He is Lord and Master of our life every step of the way, even while on vacation. Remember, we no longer live, but Christ lives in us (Gal 2:20).
Work – “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thes 3:10) Not only do we have authority to work, we are commanded to. But what type of work can we do? Remember, “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”, which shouldn’t be hard since He is supposed to be leading the way.
“The sleep of a laboring man is sweet” (Eccl 5:12a) Hard work is good but is it possible some are working too hard? Do we really have authority to regularly miss services for work? Many would point to Luke 14:5 and say their ox is in the pit and they must pull it out. Before using that verse as authority we must ask ourselves, “How did the ox get there?” Jesus uses the illustration of an animal that had “fallen” into a pit. We should understand there are times when circumstances cannot be avoided such as an animal falling but there are times when we create the circumstance by pushing the animal in. Jesus did not give authority for just any type of work to be done on the Sabbath, and we must not use Luke 14:5 as authority for all work related missing of services.
We cannot work all the time and we cannot work at just any job. Where would we find authority for working in a business that provides sinful services to its clients? Could we possibly find the authority to engage in sinful practices in the name of providing for our family? We do not have authority for either of these yet many Christians have no problem going to work every day doing just that. Is Jesus leading them there?
The list could go on but I hope the point is made. Our relationship with Christ does not pause when we walk out the door of the church building. When we have been crucified with Christ, He is to lead all the way, every day. We must have authority from Him for all that we do, that is, unless we really haven’t been crucified at all.