I Am Not My Own
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
by Bob Burridge ©2016
God gives us a very different set of values than the world promotes. We are not here just to live the most enjoyable life we can put together. We do not just respect authority when it benefits us individually. We are here to glorify God and to enjoy him forever, as our Shorter Catechism puts it.
The Heidelberg Catechism starts out similarly but gives more detail and personalizes it:
Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
Answer: That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.
A fundamental text for this principle is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
[Note: The King James Version, both the 1611 version and the New King James, adds, “and in your spirit” – It appears in some manuscripts of 1 Corinthians.]
The Holy Spirit dwells in every believer in a special way.
Back in chapter 3 there were people troubling the Church. Paul warned in verses 16-17, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
Of course this isn’t a physical dwelling, since the Holy Spirit is God, and he’s altogether everywhere all the time, he dwells in us by having a special relationship with us. The church is called the “body of Christ”. We are here to specially show his presence to the world around us. In this sense we are God’s Temple on earth. Therefore we should treat the whole person of every believer with great respect. What belongs to Christ should not be used sinfully or selfishly.
The Jews at that time knew the physical Temple in Jerusalem very well. It was built as a visible lesson about God’s presence among his people. But now what it illustrated had become a spiritual reality. True believers individually and united are where God shows himself to the world, and ministers to his children.
God warned in Exodus 28 and Leviticus 16 that priests who defiled the physical Temple would die. That shows the high value of God’s special presence. Today, those who disrupt the church or defile each believer tamper with holy things.
To help us with our daily decisions and moral judgments, this gives us a general principle: In whatever we do, we should remember that we belong to God. We are not our own. We are created and redeemed to live for his glory. We exist for what he intended us to be. If we take what belongs to God, as if it belongs to us we are thieves and rebels. All we are and have is God’s. Our obedience and faithful devotion is the way we show gratitude for God’s grace and care.
Only the most arrogant foolishness would expect to steal successfully from God.
There was an interesting story carried by FOX news a few years ago. Some teen thieves broke into a house while the family was away on vacation. While they were collecting things to steal, they were being watched. The owner of the house left his webcam turned on broadcasting the whole thing over the internet. A lady in another state was watching the whole thing. She looked up the police phone number for that city, and called it in.
While the officers were on their way she described everything the thieves were doing. By the time the police got there the teens had left the house, so they surrounded the neighborhood. But they had a full description of the thieves and what they had taken. Within minutes they were all in custody. Would they have gone ahead with the crime if they knew they were being watched? — Probably not.
God’s always watching. There is no question about how much God sees and knows, of even our inner thoughts.
Psalm 139:2-4, “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. ”
Psalm 139:11-12, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”
God is not only watching us. He is the owner of us – we are his house! When we use our bodies, abilities, opportunities, and possessions in wrong ways, we are plundering God’s house. He is watching. We offend the one who loves us so much.
This means that in whatever we do, in whatever we think or decide, we need to remember that we belong to God. We are not our own. Because of grace, mercy, and love extended to totally undeserving sinners, Christ died in the believer’s place. He purchased us and made us his beloved children. Now we who are in Christ belong to God.
This amazing biblical fact should make us humbly thankful. We should be glad to be able to live for him in body and soul.
If we think we just belong to ourselves, our lives will seem empty with no real purpose. In the live-chat channels on the internet people often talk about how bored they are. They come on chat to find somebody to talk with, or to annoy, just for something to do. It’s also an excellent chance to share God’s word with them, and help them to find a good local church where they can learn more about God’s ways.
Loneliness, restlessness, and feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness can drive people to crave immoral and violent entertainment. Many turn to drugs and cults while they search for something meaningful.
There is a sub-culture that started in the 1990s. They call themselves, Juggalos. It started with the violent and crime oriented music of the Insane Clown Posse. Horrible violence including murder by hatchets and shootings are associated with them. They seem to get lost in this highly emotional hatred oriented music.
I have talked with some who call themselves Juggalos. They say they don’t care about much, if anything. They don’t even care about what happens to them if their violence or drugs hurt or kill them. They have a mob-family type bond. It’s a feeling of “belonging” – searching for meaning.
You can’t make sense out of life divorced from being a possession of God through Christ. Substitutes cannot satisfy the emptiness. Some try to find meaning in more traditional ways. They get lost in careers and financial goals. Some get lost in music – they have to have it on all the time. Some spend all their time with hobbies or movies, video games, things that eat up the time that’s become their enemy. In the end they might say, “Well, I made a lot of money. I got trophies or awards.” or, “I got the highest score in the best video game every year.”
Certainly there is a place for careers, hobbies, music and movies. However, if it’s what they live for, they are stealing their lives away from God.
The unbeliever cannot even see that he owes his life to his Creator. The Christian should know better. But sadly, many do not. They get so busy with things they fail to support their spiritual family, or come to worship. They do not give to the church because there is so much they want to buy, or save up for. They don’t rest in this life liberating good news. — But, they don’t belong to themselves anymore! That needs to be remembered.
We miss a lot in life if we fail to understand how to live by this vital principle.
Note: Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.