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From God Or From Man? December 2, 2006

Posted by rattazzimedia in Christianity, Church, God, Religion, Spiritual, Spiritual Overview, Spiritual Study, Spirituality, Theology.

There are some who say that the Bible is from God and therefore speaks to us with authority.  Now some people object to the use of the word “authority” in any spiritual discussion, but the point I am trying to bring out is that if some sort of instruction is from God then who can disregard it?  Who is a higher power than God?  Now is this line of reasoning my own idea or did I get it from somewhere, from God perhaps?  When the religious establishment in Jerusalem challenged Jesus and questioned his authority he posed this question:

“I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things.  John’s baptism — where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?”

Jesus is focusing their thinking on the only true source of spiritual authority when he poses the question: From God or from man?  In other words, if John the Baptist was just acting on his own initiative or if it was his own idea to go into the desert, preach repentance and start baptizing people, why should you have to listen to him?  But if he was doing the will of God, if it was God’s idea to do this, then we had better pay close attention to what is going on.  Christ got to the meat of the question concerning the authority of any religious teaching or spiritual mind set.  From where does it come, from God or from man?  If you read the entire passage from Matthew chapter twenty one that the above quote comes from you will see that the religious “authorities” that were questioning Jesus did not want to answer the question.  Things are much the same today.  Many religious instructors don’t teach the line of thinking Jesus establishes here because they do not want this test (Is it from God or man?) being applied to what they are teaching. 

This is the key question even more today because people can dream up all sorts of things.  People will advance their ideas with a great deal of zeal and conviction.  But if these ideas, no matter how heartfelt, have their origins in the imagination of man then why should I be bound by them?  Especially in the realm of religious activity it is necessary to make a distinction between what is from God or from man. The religious leaders who challenged Jesus did understand that instruction from God must be followed, as opposed to instruction from man which does not have the same absolute authority. In fact a characteristic of religious instruction that has wandered away from God is this lack of clarity and authority. Jesus Christ taught with authority and this was in sharp contrast to the religious establishment in Jerusalem that had wandered away from God.  This was the reaction to Jesus’ teaching:

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

This is another observation we can apply today.  Much teaching today is unclear, confusing or lacks a firm foundation.  These ara all qualities of religious teaching and tradition that has wandered away from God.  Jesus spoke with authority because his teaching is from God. Jesus made this reply to his amazed listeners who asked how he got such teaching:

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

Jesus Christ adds this additional insight to this question, the one who has set his heart on doing God’s will can start to understand what is the source of Jesus’ teaching and wisdom.  The one who chooses to bring himself into agreement with God will be able to answer the question concerning Christ’s teaching or any other teaching for that matter: is it from God or from man?


1. Tomas - December 2, 2006

Thank you for the topic. You have indeed touched there the key question. In spite of that, I think it has no answer that will satisfy all people alike.

When we call to God in faith, questions of authority cease exist of itself. and Gods Words become not the rules we must obey, but as if the most precious desires of our own .
Those, who question the authority now, will continue their rival in eloquence, but those, who have replied personally to God’s call in Jesus Christ, already know what is what in spite of how it looks outwardly.

There is no substitute for the need to respond personally to the precious gift of salvation that we receive in Jesus Christ.

Depth of our steps is defined by our love, but not the wisdom of our musings on life.

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