“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, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1st Corinthians 6:19-20
Strange words, perhaps, written by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians. Is it rational to say to a human being that you are not your own? After all, everyone has their own separate thoughts; a solitary mind, soul, and spirit.
Once past childhood, in which a young child understands they have parents who protect, nurture, provide, and discipline them, they move on into the teenage and adult years in which they begin to understand they are an individual; a separate entity from all others. They grasp the private life of separate thoughts, of conversation with themselves, of time alone, an intimate life known but to them, except what they choose to share with another.
Who “owns” this? There is an instinct born of fallenness that this realm belongs only to them. No one else can know it, except what you choose to share, and even then, you seldom share all. So you naturally think this is known only to you. The perception is that no one else is privy to what goes on in your brain and heart. No one shares your intimate “you” time.
But is such really true? Does God know and see your private self and life? Can Satan perceive your inner thoughts? Can you know this when you see neither? There truly is a whole other world apart from the material world you see and touch. And it is both, material and spiritual, which makes up your total existence.
It is very true you can ignore God, but that doesn’t make Him blind to you. When living in Scotland with a three-year-old daughter I was playing hide and seek with her in the backyard with few places to really hide. When it was her time to hide, she became frustrated to not find a place to hide as I counted down to “ready or not, here I come.” So she dropped immediately to her knees in the middle of the yard in full sight, and covered her eyes with her hands.
She thought, perhaps, if she could not see herself, then I would not be able to see her. It is a similar thing with God. Your chosen ignorance and denial of God and of His seeing you does not render you invisible to Him. He still sees and knows you completely. He knew you intimately in your mother’s womb, and He knows you throughout your life, inside and out.
He made you and His Providence sustains you. So who do you think “owns” you? Maybe this is a question you never ask. Your natural instinct is to answer, “I own me!”
In the context of 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 you are told that if you have been bought with the blood of Christ through His death for you on the cross, you are not your own, because you were bought with a price. God owns you, for He bought you with the price of His own Son. And I rather think you take great comfort in that!
Those who by their own choice do not belong to Christ, have rejected God’s ownership of them and willfully are on their own. Since they are unable to save themselves, they are consigned to condemnation. If they knew this was what they were doing by their rejection they would indeed tremble and succumb to horrifying fear. As it is they are quite oblivious, until confronted with the truth of their circumstance.
The problem for you and me is do we recognize and act on God’s ownership of us? Do we live and think of God knowing our thoughts, our words, spoken and unspoken, and speak and think them so that he is both pleased and glorified in them? This is what Paul refers to when he says you are not your own, if you indeed see yourself as a redeemed person in Christ.
Paul stresses how necessary and vital it is that you see yourself as not your own, but God’s, and intentionally choose your thoughts and words to please and glorify Him. It is this active, continuous work of “taking every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2nd Corinthians 10:5)
You can see yourself as either the owner of your private, individual self, or you can see yourself as an “open book” to God. Nothing is hidden from Him with whom you have to do! You live and think this purposefully and rest in the truth that it is so.
“And when, before the throne, I stand in Him complete, ‘Jesus died my soul to save,’ my lips shall still repeat, Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
(4th verse of Elvina Hall’s hymn, “Jesus Paid It All, “ 1865)