I recently received a question from a member of my congregation asking what I meant when I said, “You are not your own.” I thought it was a wonderful question and, since I love talking about it, I decided to blog about it this morning.
This phrase is taken directly from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,” 1 Corinthians 6:19,20.
The context of this verse is Paul talking about living a holy life and not being drawn into sexual immorality or idolatry. So what does this mean for us today? Or, as my congregant asked, “how do you live for Jesus on a 9-5 job, family, and keeping up a home?” Very excellent and insightful questions – I will do my best to answer. Let me first lay the theological foundation and then next time we will look at that question very specifically.
Quite literally, this verse means that we were purchased by God from the Devil. We were all slaves to sin (John 8:38) because we all sinned (Romans 3:23). This means we were the legal property of the Devil. In order to be freed from our slaver, redeemed, bailed out, God made Satan and offer – my son for all of the rest. (It played out a little differently, but it isn’t a bad metaphor.) Satan accepted – He killed Jesus on the cross and Jesus’ suffering, death and shed blood was our ransom. We went from being the legal property (slaves) of Satan to being the legal property of God. God has since set us free from bondage to be His children.
However, Satan was caught in his own cunning, for God did not permit Jesus to remain dead. Jesus’ sacrifice set us free, then God humiliated Satan by raising Jesus from the dead – Satan lost everything when he thought he had gained a great victory. For this reason (among others) the Devil hates God and Christians and seeks to reclaim us as his captives through fear, intimidation, treachery and bribes. But I digress…
“You are not your own,” means exactly that – you are not your own. It means that we are subject to God and His authority. It means we are ultimately accountable to Him and Him alone.
But this isn’t something we are typically aware of on a daily basis, and it looks much different than we think it should. While we have been “branded” by the Holy Spirit, marked and claimed as God’s own, we have been given a large amount of freedom. God does not treat us as slaves, but as sons – friends of His Son Jesus (John 15:15). It is part of the Upside-Down Kingdom that our slavery to God makes us free and our “freedom” apart from Him makes us slaves to sin.
We have now laid the theological framework of the Cross, but still haven’t answered the question “how do you live for Jesus on a 9-5 job, family, and keeping up a home?” I will answer that next time. Until then!