The Bible speaks about authority in a number of places, but it begins with our position. The reason we have the right to wield God’s authority is our Sonship (Romans 8:16)—not just as ones who have been adopted in, but legitimate children, made so by Jesus Christ. When Paul spoke to the Romans about adoption, he knew they understood the permanent and irreversibly binding rights and authority a child received when he or she was adopted, but when he wrote to the Jews he was not speaking about adopted children, but rather that we are born from above and are new creations with God’s DNA within us. Jesus spoke the same to Nicodemus, saying he must be re-born from above (John 3:5-8). As legitimate children, we have all of the rights and responsibilities of God’s heirs; we are heirs alongside Jesus (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7).
To understand what this means influences both how we use authority and how we live in general, so we need to grasp what the Bible says about sonship with God. Galatians 4:1-2 explains it like this, “What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.” In other words as God’s children, we have to have others watch over us—and not just other believers, but Holy Spirit and even the angels to help us grow into maturity. In the same way that we wouldn’t let a three year old have full reign of the house, likewise God doesn’t necessarily give us everything without some limitations early on. This isn’t to keep us from things, but to safeguard us until we mature.
This idea holds true when studied out in the scriptures. The New Testament uses a few different words that usually translate as “child”—the words nepios, teknon, and huios. A nepios son is basically an infant or young child and needs constant supervision. A teknon child is like those mentioned in Galatians 4:1-2 above—one who still needs an authority figure to watch over him and help him with daily affairs, but who is no longer a baby. A huios son (or daughter) has become a mature member of his household and is able to wield the full authority he possesses as an heir.
To understand our authority and role as believers we need to know the difference between nepios, teknon, and huios sons. Not all the verses in the Bible that refer to sonship and being children of God can be read the same way. 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” The word child here refers to a nepios son—one who is literally a baby and is extremely childish in his ways. Romans 8:16-17 says that we are teknon sons of God, who are older but still need assistance. The verses state, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” The point I believe Paul was making here was that as immature sons and daughters of God that we are still heirs—not having yet inherited the fullness, but that Holy Spirit resides within us and marks us with God’s seal, designating us as His children for all time and allowing us the legal right to inherit the fullness He has planned for us. This is as differentiated from a huios son, which Paul mentions only two verses prior. Romans 8:14 says, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” The word children here is better translated as mature children or mature sons/daughters of God. Even Jesus, when it states that he is God’s only begotten son (John 1:18, 3:16, 3:18; 1 John 4:9), is referred to as a huios son.
Those huios sons and daughters, led by God’s Spirit, are brought into maturity and are able to wield their authority as heirs of God’s estate, and His estate extends beyond the earth into the entire cosmos, even the heavens. (Faith To Raise The Dead, pp 81-83)
The above text is an excerpt from my book Faith To Raise The Dead. I hope it has encouraged and brought clarity to you regarding our authority as God’s children. To learn more, click on the link above or the image below.