We are the Lord's|
Who owns you? I thought about that question in reference to myself after seeing a story in the news this week. The story was about a heated exchange between a congressman and a historian during a congressional hearing. After the congressman told the historian to be quiet, the historian replied, "You don’t own me!” These words are true, for no man can own another under the laws of this nation. However, does this mean that none of us are under ownership? Does anyone own me?
In truth, we are all under the ownership of Almighty God. By virtue of being the Creator and Sustainer of all men, God has a rightful claim to ownership over the lives of us all. He has the sovereign right to rule and the authority to judge us according to His own will. The very purpose of our existence is rooted in this truth, for fearing God and keeping His commandments is the whole duty of man (Eccl. 12:13).
Because this is true, the wise and fulfilling course of life is one of complete compliance with our Owner. It is to our advantage that we accept and embrace God’s ownership of us immediately. With no further delay, every soul needs to confess and conform to the principle expressed by the apostle Paul in Romans 14:7-8 – "For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” Until a person recognizes this about himself, he lives in vain while foolishly resisting the will of his Master and the reason for his being.
Because we all share the same Master, we all have a certain responsibility toward one another. Knowing that we were all made in the image and likeness of our Owner and Creator (Gen. 1:26-27), we owe honor, respect, and love to one another. In fact, we cannot love God unless we also love man (Matt. 5:43-48; 22:36-40; 1John 4:19-21). Even in relationships where there is an established order, rank, or superiority, the respect for a mutual Owner should produce a mutual respect for one another. This was the basis for Paul’s appeal to slave owners in the first century in Ephesians 6:9 – "And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”
While all men are under the ownership of God, Christians have a special claim to that ownership. Notice 1Corinthians 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.
Those who are in Christ Jesus have been purchased with the price of Christ’s precious blood, which has immeasurable value (1Pet. 1:18-19). This blood was shed for the salvation of all men, but only those who respond to Christ’s gospel in faithful obedience are purchased in redemption from sin (John 3:16; Heb. 5:9). Whereas our ownership by God was once compromised by our own sin, now we who are Christians are purchased out of sin’s bondage. Therefore, every Christian’s outlook on life should be that which was expressed by Paul in Galatians 2:20 – "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
The desire for complete liberty may cause some to bristle at the idea of being owned by another, but ownership by Christ is really freedom from all others. Again, "not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself” (Rom. 14:7), so we all belong to someone. When we are in sin, Satan rules over us as a cruel master (Rom. 7:14-25; 1John 5:3). However, Jesus is stronger than Satan (Heb. 2:14-15; 1John 4:4), and He sets us free from bondage to Satan and all other masters (1Cor. 6:12). The Lord said it best in John 8:36 when He said, "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
For Christians, there is a great reward in the ownership of the Lord. The steps to this reward are described by Paul in Romans 6:22, for he wrote, "But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” Therefore, be freed from sin through faithful obedience to Christ, be mastered by God as His possession, be blessedly sanctified and "useful to the Master” (2Tim. 2:21), and receive eternal life in the end. If Christ owns you, then your reward is "reserved in heaven for you” (1Pet. 1:4). Like Paul, if you can say, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21), then physical death will lead to your crowning moment (2Tim. 4:7-8).
Consider this question again: Who owns you? If you are a Christian, then your life belongs to Christ, and the words of Colossians 3:3-4 apply:
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
If you are not a Christian, then submit to your Owner and Master today and be purchased out of the bondage of sin.
Stacey E. Durham
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