The one all-important note which is so manifestly lacking in the Church at this time is the note of authority. This was a recognized and acknowledged feature of the Lord’s presence and ministry when He was here in person. This also was an unmistakable characteristic of the Church in early days. The loss of this spiritual authority has let in many alternatives and substitutes, so that the present system is one of pretense, make-believe, show, striving after effect. The efforts and failures are pathetic.
But what is the essence of authority? It is not forcefulness of expression, neither is it strength of conviction. These and many other things may, or may not, accompany true authority, but they are not authority. The essence of authority is, that what is said or represented carries in its very truth the power of destiny. Sooner or later, that presentation will show itself to be a criterion. People and things will stand or fall according to the attitude taken toward it. In a time of upheaval, shaking, testing and trouble, people and work will stand or collapse, and the cause will be in either case that which God gave. The truth will be vindicated. This is borne out so evidently in Israel’s history. This is what lies at the root of the first three chapters of the ‘Revelation’. This is the explanation of the triumph or tragedy of so much that had its origin in God, and of many Christian lives. Authority is something that will have to be measured up to, you cannot get away from it. In spiritual things it is God. There can never be something of God present for which we shall not have to give an account.
The Holy Spirit always speaks with authority, and when He speaks, destiny is present. As “all authority,” has been given to Jesus, God’s Son, in Heaven and on earth, the Holy Spirit presents and testifies to Him as the Horizon of judgment and destiny. There is impact when Christ is preached in the Holy Spirit. The proof of reality is not in the form of teaching, however orthodox and right. Neither is it in the form of practice and procedure, however correct. Isaiah was told to “declare unto my people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins”, and then was added, “Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways” (Isa. 58:1, 2). The truth and reality is in the spiritual impact that brings people face to face with God.