Religious Authority

If there’s one thing that really confuses me more than anything, it’s that people feel like they can say whatever they want to say about what God’s will is, how to be saved, how to conduct worship, among many other things. The one thing that especially comes to mind is baptism, and how many religious groups today have deemed it unnecessary to be baptized to receive eternal salvation. Many religious groups and denominations today also claim to have a leader or council that does have divine authority on earth.

Today what we’re going to look at is who has authority to establish religious law.  If the Bible is the inspired word and revelation of the law of God, who was authority to change it? Should we allow man-made religious laws and rules to guide us in faith and worship? Can the wisdom of man change divine law?


First and most important thing to understand is that all true religious authority comes from God. And as God’s Son and Lord of all things, Jesus Christ reveals God’s will for us today. Ultimate authority resides solely with God, and that authority is exercised through the teachings of Jesus Christ.

So then where can we find this divine authority? Divine authority is revealed in the scriptures. God has recorded His own will to guide us in our everyday lives. We know that Jesus promised the men who wrote the New Testament that they would be guided into all truth by the Spirit (John 16:13), and we also know that all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching  so that we may be complete and equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). Even Paul tells the church at Corinth while writing to them that the things which he writes are commandments of the Lord (1 Cor 14:37).

John 16:13

13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

1 Corinthians 14:37

37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.

The important fact here is this: the Bible completely reveals all of God’s will for us. Everything that God considers to be good and approved has been made clear to us. As we saw Jesus mention in John 16:13, the Holy Spirit revealed all truth to the apostles, which they recorded in the scriptures (John 14:26). All we have to do is look at what the scripture says to actually do pertaining to life and salvation, and as long as we do those things and continue in that work, we will be blessed (James 1:25).

John 14:26

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

James 1:25

25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it,and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

So who then has authority on earth to make changes to the law? That would be nobody! There is not a single person walking on this earth today who has the divine authority to change God’s will. We have the fully revealed word of God, and those who teach contrary to what the Bible says are dishonest people. It’s that simple. God’s wisdom is infinitely above the wisdom of man (1 Cor 1:25).

1 Corinthians 1:25

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

As mentioned at the start, in terms of salvation, there is a set of clearly defined requirements that we must follow. We must:

  • Hear
  • Believe
  • Repent
  • Confess
  • Be Baptized


You will find nowhere in the scripture where one of these things alone will save you. Lots of people like to use Ephesians 2:8 “by grace are you saved through faith” to justify some type of “Faith Only” salvation, but clearly the passage does not say “you are saved through faith only.” Again, this is adding words and changing the will of God, and this argument is defeated by itself.

I’ve also heard a claim recently that “nowhere in the Bible does it say you need to be baptized.” I challenge anyone who reads this and truly believes that to actually open your Bible and read Acts 2:38, or any of the conversion stories in the book of Acts. Even Jesus Himself gives the command in Mark 16:16 to be baptized, as well as sets the prime example when He was baptized Himself. Also in 1 Peter 3:21, we see that baptism clearly is required by God’s will for salvation. Baptism is undoubtedly a commandment and requirement to receive the grace of God and eternal salvation.

Acts 2:38

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:16

16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

1 Peter 3:21

21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

No person on earth has divine authority to change what is written in God’s law. Anyone who believes they do is simply a false teacher. We should always be looking towards the Bible and trusting in God as the sole source of authority for religious law in our lives.


Thanks for reading today! I know it’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve been a bit under the weather. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to posting more regularly so we can continue looking into the truth of the Gospel.

If you enjoyed the content today, please feel free to like and share. Sharing the post does go a long way towards helping reach more people! As always, if you would like to discuss this or any other topic, feel free to comment or send me a message directly!

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