Saturday, March 26, 2005

Authority vs Power: Job 40:10-14

"Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity, and clothe yourself with honor and majesty. Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud, and make him low. Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him, and tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them in the dust together; bind them in the hidden place. Then I will also confess to you, that your own right hand can save you." (Job 40:10-14)
When it comes to judgment, there is a difference between authority and power. A friend of mine once explained it to me this way. Authority is when a police officer yells, "STOP", and the suspect stops. Power is when the suspect refuses to stop and the police officer shots him to make him stop. We may think we have authority, wisdom, and understanding, but what matters is our power. Paul, in speaking about certain rebels in the church of Corinth, said, "But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power ." (1 Corinthians 4:19) Job was very generous about handing out judgment. He was quick to find wrong and judge others for their faults. But he lacked the power to execute that judgment. God not only judges, but He has the power to execute that judgment in our lives. He has the power to discipline us and humble us until we acknowledge His lordship and repent of our wicked ways.

While we can reason with others, we do not have the power to move someone to repentance. It is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction (John 16:8) and the Father who grants us repentance (Acts 5:31). I have often wished that I could make others repent for their ways, even at times my own children. But I've come to realize that it is God who grants repentance, not us. We can share the truth. We can pray for them. But their conviction and repentance is between God and them. We must never assume to take the place of the Holy Spirit in the work of conviction, nor the Father in the work of repentance. Let us leave unto God what is God's.

David Robison

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