As Christians we are not free agents. If we claim the blood of Christ and a regenerated heart, we are under certain authorities. You and I are not a free agent.
We cannot make personal decisions without considering the authority we are under. And when we sin, we hurt those with whom we have relationships, known AND unknown. We are not independent.
1. We are under authority of Jesus Christ.
for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20
Barnes’ Notes says of the verse:
as the Christian is thus purchased, ransomed, redeemed, he is bound to devote himself to God only, and to keep his commands, and to flee from a licentious life.
2. If you’re married, you are under authority of your husband.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Colossians 3:18
The verse is a fact, we are to submit to the husband’s authority. This is an absolute truth whether the husband is a belligerent oaf or the most Godly man in the world. The biblical command to submit does not change depending on the character or the behavior of the husband. The Lord gave spouses one legitimate out from a marriage, adultery. You are a wife under authority of the husband. You are not a free agent. (Note John MacArthur’s biblical answer to physical abuse here)
3. You are a member of a church. Therefore you are under authority of your pastor.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17).
Gill’s Exposition says of the verse:
These the apostle exhorts them to “obey”: by constantly tending upon the word preached by them, and hearkening to it; by receiving it with faith and love, as it appears agreeable to the Scriptures; for a contrary behaviour is pernicious to souls, and highly resented by God.
4. You are one with the brethren. What you do affects us all.
so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
You are not a free agent. Certain behavior is expected of you.
Just as when one member is honored, we are all honored, the implicit adverse is that when one member DIShonors, all are dishonored. All the brethren whether collected in one local congregation or all over the world, are connected. What one does, affects all.
4. You are under authority to the elder women who are teaching you, if you are being discipled.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3-5).
Sometimes when in the throes of a heated decision we’re making, one might forget the authorities to whom we are submitted. Our decisions, actions, and even sins affect one and all. We are one body. 2 Peter 2:2 says that int he last days false teachers’ teachings will incite some to bring the truth into disrepute by their behavior.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Peter 2:1-2).
2 Peter 2:18, Jude 1:4 also speak of some of the faithful whose decisions bring disrepute onto Jesus. Please be mindful that we are not free agents in this world. We need to remember that both our sins and our good works affect all of us. Our bond-servanthood to Jesus and our life and labors under authority of various people are not a hardship though. Rest easy my sisters, because Jesus declared,
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)