Who Has The Authority Over Sin?

Apr 9, 2024 | Harold Sala, Lifestyle

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Authority in our world is as necessary to the survival of the human race as are good nutrition and clean air. When everyone is a “law unto himself,” there is no law; anarchy leads to chaos and chaos to annihilation. That’s why the history of humankind is replete with leaders implementing laws by which order and civility are made possible. From Hammurabi’s law code to the laws of Moses, from the Magna Carta to the constitution of your country, laws make life civil. Without certain ground rules or fundamentals, there can be no civilization. But life today seems to be a constant challenge to boundaries.  “By whose authority?” we ask in challenge.

What used to be taken for granted is often challenged, and in the realm of religion, the matter of authority is a red‑hot issue. Who says that you should believe this or disbelieve that? By whose authority do you challenge long‑held beliefs and practices? At the same time, it seems to me that many today lack any real authority for what they believe. For example, why are you a Christian and not a Buddhist, or a Muslim, or an animist? Why do you believe what you do?

Some appeal to their experience, saying, “I feel it down in my heart!” On Easter Sunday morning, millions of believers sing, “You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.” Or “Well, this is what I think!” not realizing that others, apart from Christians, also base their beliefs on experience and feelings. The person whose beliefs are resting simply on experience is on shaky ground. Their authority is at the mercy of someone with the facts or someone whose facts aren’t quite right.

Then the word of the Lord came to him…. Genesis 15:4

Is there a factual basis for validating experience or determining what people believe? For centuries, there has been a recognized authority by which men and women have a basis for morality and a measurement against which behavior can be seen: it is the Bible. In recent years, even this has been challenged. When Case Western Reserve University sent out 10,000 questionnaires asking, “Do you believe the Bible to be the Word of God?” 7,442 responded; 82% of the Methodists, 89% of the Episcopalians, 81% of the United Presbyterians, and 57% of Baptists and Lutherans said, “NO!” The majority of those who responded challenged the authority of the Bible.

Sadly enough, there is often more faith in the pew than in the pulpit, but does that mean that some religious leaders know something that laypeople don’t, or have they been taught by blind leaders of the blind?

The facts still assert the authority of the Bible regardless of some modern winds of unbelief that attack it. The case for the authority of the Bible is twofold: internal evidence supporting this authority, including what the Bible says about itself, its unity and indestructibility; and external evidence, which includes the correlation of prophecy and secular history, manuscript evidence, the verdict of archaeology, the evidence from science supporting the authority of the Bible, and finally the pragmatic test—what it does to those who follow its teaching.

I’ll leave you with one thought. This issue of authority is vital when it comes to your faith. Everything you know about God, what you know about Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and His power to save you from sin, hinges or rests on this book, the Bible. The matter of Biblical authority is not a casual one. It is crucial. Let’s focus on it.

Resource reading: Exodus 20:1-17.

Speaker, author, and Bible teacher, Dr. Harold Sala founded Guidelines in 1963. Pioneering the five-minute commentary on Christian radio, Dr. Sala’s daily “ Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living ” is broadcast in 49 of the 50 states and is heard the world over in a variety of languages.

Sala, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical text, has authored over 60 books published in 19 languages. He speaks and teaches frequently at conferences, seminars, and churches worldwide. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children and eight well-loved grandchildren.

You can read more of Dr. Sala’s articles HERE!

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