by John M. Frame
Last week we discussed God’s biblical name: the Lord, who rules by power, authority, and presence. This week, let us consider the Lord’s authority. Power is might; authority is right. God’s power controls all things (Eph. 1:11); his authority is his right to do that. So it is his right to our obedience and trust. We must obey his commands, believe his statements, trust his promises.
When God gives Moses his name, the Lord, he also reveals an authoritative Word: God will free his enslaved people. At Mount Sinai, God identifies himself as Lord (Ex. 20:2) of Israel, then gives them the Ten Commandments. He declares his Lordship to Israel (Deut. 6:4-5), then immediately tells them to center their lives around his authoritative words (6-9).
God’s authority is absolute: (1) beyond question (Job 40:1-5, Rom. 4:18-22), (2) transcends all other loyalties (Deut. 6:6-9, Matt. 8:19-22, 10:34-38), and (3) covers all areas of life (1 Cor. 10:31, Rom. 14:23, Col. 3:17, 2 Cor. 10:15). We never have the right to shut God out of our lives. In everything we think, say, or do, we should ask how we can glorify God. If we don’t accept Jesus’ comprehensive authority, it is meaningless to claim that he is our Lord. Of course, such absolute authority is unpopular today! But the Lord deserves nothing less than total obedience.
Human history is all about God speaking authoritatively and people responding. Adam and Eve believed Satan’s words rather than God’s. But Noah, Abraham, and others trusted God’s words, despite apparent evidence to the contrary. Then Jesus brought the good news, that God saves those who trust his shed blood. His promise has the same authority as his law, so it is absolutely certain. For that fact, we should overflow in thanks and praise.