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Sunday, February 05, 2006

thinking about: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is a letter that addresses the problems Christians have living in a world that does not know Christ. Like the Corinthians, we who have placed our faith and trust in Christ Jesus our LORD to save us from sin must live in this world and be not of it. But this is difficult, living delivered from the power of sin but not from it’s presence. Our verses could be thought of as the heart of the letter, the key because the lines of demarcation are obvious and the help and hope we need for the normal Christian life is found here.

Paul is writing to a church that is plagued with division, disorder and difficulty. The Christians are divided because of a misunderstanding of the gospel and there are reports of sexual immorality and litigation of believers. Before Paul goes on to talk about marriage, idols and public worship, we find sandwiched right in the middle this seam of gold. Amazingly, this verse applies to every situation Paul is dealing with.

We ask the question, “why would people act like this?” The Sunday School answer is “sin”—and it’s the right answer. “But,” someone may protest, “I don’t have a problem with the gospel. I lead a life of sexual purity and don’t sue my brother. My marriage is great, I don’t worship idols and go to church—how is it this could apply to me?”

Right there Paul would help us realize that, as he wrote in another place, “there is none righteous, not even one.” Principally, we are reminded that self-righteousness, self-seeking, self-pleasing and self-living are addressed here. We cannot find ourselves or give ourselves or direct ourselves because the Christian is not free to do what he wants but what he should. We are not our own, but bought with a price.

Fame, wealth, health, pleasure, society, entertainment are not what we live for. When someone points this out, we complain, get offended, because coveteousness is irritated, ambitions are challenged, pride is insulted and we feel abandoned, bored. This is not becoming for one in whom the Spirit of God dwells. John Angell James calls the self, “the most subtle, stubborn and tenacious foe.”

Joseph Philpot reminds us of the blessing in the words, “you are not your own.” He says, “Remember, you must be someone’s. If God is not your master, the devil will be; if grace does not rule, sin will reign; if Christ is not your all in all, the world will be.”

A.B. Simpson rejoices, “What a privilege that we may consecrate ourselves! What a mercy that God will take such worthless creatures! What rest and comfort lie hidden in those words, ‘Not your own.’ We are not responsible for our salvation, not burdened by our cares, not obliged to live for our interests, but altogether His.”

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