We generally recognize the need for a standard. It would cause mass confusion if each person was allowed to set his own standard as to measurements (how long is one foot or the area of one acre, etc.), weights (how much is one pound or one ounce, etc.), and other areas of our lives. Religiously we have such a standard. Man has not been given the right to do as each one pleases. In the days of the Judges it often states, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Jud. 17:6; cf. 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). Because each tried to do that which was right in their own eyes, God would send an oppressing nation upon them. A great question for each of us today concerns our religious standard: What is our religious standard?
The Bible establishes that Christ and His Word is that standard of religious authority for all men today. After His resurrection, Jesus informs His disciples, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mat. 28:18). He is claiming for Himself all religious authority (both in heaven and on earth). Paul adds that God “hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). Headship denotes authority. Since Christ is the head of the church, and headship denotes authority; Christ is the sole authority relating to the church. Additionally, since Christ is in heaven, and He is the one who is head of the church, there are no earthly headquarters for Christ’s church. Any religious group which claims to have headquarters here on earth cannot be the church which Christ built (Mat. 16:18) and which He is going to save (Eph. 5:23).
The authority of Christ in religious matters resides in His Words. Jesus said:
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak (John 12:48-50).
Those words of Christ are found in the New Testament, and it is the New Testament which will judge each one of us on the last day. “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). Let us realize that Christ has all religious authority and make sure that all we do religiously is in harmony with what He has revealed and authorized within the pages of the Bible.