Today's Foundations Devotional: Power plus authority

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Memory verse:

And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of

the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

(Acts 4:33)

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The New Testament observes a logical distinction between the primary results of the new birth and the primary results of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The primary concept associated with the new birth is authority.

But as many as received Him [Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

This passage describes the new birth, for in the next verse we are told that these people who received Christ “were born of God.” The Greek word here translated “the right” is exousia. Exousia denotes a being or a nature which is derived from some external source. In other words, the person who receives Christ as Saviour receives, in Christ, the being or nature of God Himself. The receiving of this new life or nature from God produces within the believer the new birth.

The English word most commonly used to translate this Greek word exousia is “authority.” This is the distinctive mark of the born-again child of God. He is no longer a slave of sin and Satan. He is a son of God. As such, he possesses a new authority. He no longer succumbs to temptation or opposition. He meets and overcomes these things by virtue of the new life within him. He is an overcomer. He has authority.

However, authority is not at all the same as power. The first disciples already had this authority from the time of Christ’s resurrection onward. They were already “sons of God.” They were able to lead godly, overcoming lives. They were no longer the slaves of sin. However, during the period from the resurrection to the day of Pentecost, these first disciples made very little positive impact upon the great majority of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. As a whole, during this period Jerusalem was very little changed or affected by the fact of Christ’s resurrection.

All this was abruptly and dramatically changed, however, by the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. As soon as the 120 believers in the upper room were baptised in the Holy Spirit, the whole of Jerusalem immediately felt the impact. Within an hour or two a crowd of many thousands had gathered, and before the day closed three thousand Christ- rejecting unbelievers had been gloriously converted, baptised and added to the Church.

What produced these dramatic results? The adding of power to authority. Before the day of Pentecost the disciples already had authority. After Pentecost they had authority plus power – they had the power that was needed to make their authority fully effective.

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Prayer:

God and Father, Lord Jesus, how inspiring it is that after Jesus'

death on the cross, Who obtained my salvation, Your Holy Spirit

was also given, Who then added dynamic supernatural power to

my salvation! Teach me to function in this, Lord! Amen.

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