By Darwin Hunter


We teach our children when they are young about parental authority.  We might say, “Clean up your room.”  They often whine, “Why do I have to?” We usually tell them a number of things to consider.  “Your room is dirty and it needs cleaning.”  Or, “it was messed up by your living and playing in it, so you should learn to be responsible enough to pick up after yourself.”  If the argument continues, we often revert to our old fall back position and just say, “You must clean your room because I am the parent, and I said to do it!”  We are asserting parental authority which is even taught in Scriptures (Ephesians 6:14). It is not a very sophisticated or subtle argument, but it can be effective!

In our nation, we freedom-loving Americans are taught to think in terms of our freedom to make choices.  We are indeed free in many respects.  The freedom to decide where you live, what you will do for a living, and to travel freely are highly prized in our culture.  Yet, some Americans seem to think that choice-making is unlimited.  Some think they should be able to choose to ingest any recreational drug they desire, and even to choose to drive under its influence. But, a wise society has determined that making such a choice should be prohibited by law so that those operating vehicles on our highways are not endangering innocent lives.  So, we have to learn that while we are free, it is not completely unfettered freedom to do everything we might choose to do which might infringe upon another’s rights, or be a danger to others.

Freedom to choose is also taught in Scripture.  God has given man free moral agency.  Man can choose life or death (Deuteronomy 30:19-20), choose whom he will serve (Joshua 24:15) or choose to come to Christ or stay away from Him (Matthew 11:28-30).  However, God has also taught us that our choices must respect His law, His authority.  No human being has the absolute right to do contrary to His Maker’s will.  We are created by Him and for His glory (Genesis 1:27-28; Isaiah 43:7).  He has given us law by which human life is governed, and to which He will hold us accountable (John 12:48; Galatians 6:2; Acts 17:30-31).  Just as we teach our children, if they make a choice which does not respect parental law there will be a price to pay, so God has taught the same truth to His subjects.  We do not have an inherent right to choose a church Christ did not erect (Matthew 16:18), to choose a plan of salvation He did not authorize, or adopt a worship which He did not author.  The fact that God has given us choice-making power should not be interpreted to mean that I am totally free.  I live under His authority and rule.  I must subject myself to His Son (Matthew 28:18), and to His law (Romans 1:16).  To make the choice to ignore His Gospel and refuse to obey it is to incur His awful penalty of everlasting fire (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).  The only RIGHT choice is CHRIST’S CHOICE!