I have often heard Hosea 4:6 cited and quoted. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” That is indeed what Hosea 4:6 says, and I have quoted it many times myself. But that is only the first part. The whole verse reads something more cutting for a Christian: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Yes, the Lord rejected him because he had forgotten the law of God.
Let us lay aside the question of apostasy or simply not doing the Lord’s will at this time, and look at the first part only. They were destroyed; we are destroyed, because they and we have rejected knowledge of the Lord.
This affects us too. Simply put, if we are unaware of the rights which have been granted us – our rights – we cannot exercise our authority over these rights and lay hold of the benefits which they bestow upon us. Worse still, as well as losing out on our benefits, we may lose out authority, or have it stolen from us, by failing to use it.
In his first epistle to Timothy, Paul was very clear in his instruction and warning to his disciple as he wrote (6:12) “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” He told Timothy to “take hold” of eternal life. Now this written was to a disciple who was already a leader of the early Church and walked in the will of the Lord and certainly enjoyed future eternal life. Yet Paul felt the need to remind and warn him to “take hold.” He wanted to make sure that Timothy exercised and continued to exercise his authority over the benefits, the provisions granted to him by Christ. Unless one takes hold of them, they will remain unclaimed. We need to do our part in faith.
Where does faith come from? Romans 10:17 tell us that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Thus, unless we read the Bible – read and study the word of Christ we cannot have faith. The more of the Word, the more of Bible we know, the greater can be our faith.
After healing the lame man at the Beautiful Gate, Peter made it very clear to those around him that the authority under whose name the man had been healed, was Jesus, not his own when he said in Acts 3:16“And his name — by faith in his name — has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.” Here Peter and John were walking and working in the authority of Jesus and had faith in Jesus for who He was, that healing would take place. By taking hold of that authority and exercising it, the benefit was a healed man.
But the disciples did not always walk in such faith. This is demonstrated in Matthew 17 when they fail to deliver a boy from demonisation. They failed, Jesus tells them, v20 “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
They had all the authority needed, but they did not have sufficient faith.
We too have been given Authority. The question is, do we have the Faith commensurate with our level of authority, or have we no faith, and squandered our authority?
Why do we need it today? First Peter 5:8 is very clear: “Be sensible and vigilant, because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone he may devour.”
So, yes, we need the Authority today and we need the Faith.
As a footnote to those Christians who are of the opinion that Satan will not devour or “demonise” a Christian, note that the First Epistle of Peter was written to Christians living in various parts of Asia Minor. His letter was to the Christian Church, not unbelievers.
Amen and Amen.