What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost Which is in you, Which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are
BOUGHT WITH A PRICE
Therefore glorify God in your body: (1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20.)
A timely message to
[the redeemed] children of God.
* * *
Ye are bought with a price.
1 Corinthians 6: 20, 7: 23.
The Christian, the World and Its Warfare.
Twice the Holy Spirit emphasizes this purchase, and it affects everything in the daily Christian life. Salvation does not only concern the heart, for one day of the week, or one part of the body: the whole of a redeemed one, and all that he has alike belong to the Lord Jesus. This is fundamental and vital. It is the ground of the absolute command, Be not ye the servants of men. Here, moreover, is the solution of our problems. We have not two responsibilities, nor two objects in life: everything is contained within our responsibility to the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence we rejoice in the exhortations of Ephesians 6: 5, 6, In singleness of your heart, as unto Christ, as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Likewise in Colossians 3: 23, 24 we read, as to the Lord, and not unto men, Ye serve the Lord Christ. Now we can more fully understand, No man can serve two masters (Matt. 6: 24). He can easily have two employers, but the master before us here, and the service, must not be confused with a contract for a few hours work. We belong to our Master: everything that is ours is His. A purchased one has no private property. None can have divided interests in such a case. It is impossible.
O blessed privilege - to belong to the Son of God! He died and rose for us, that He might be
Other questions, too, such as success in business, are settled by this precious fact. We are not our own. Money and position are no longer to be the object. The background trivial task is now dignified if He appoints it. Of what worth is the worlds opinion? But if the Lord Jesus wishes something to be done, it is truly precious. His will decides its value: everything which He wishes, He makes glorious in wishing it.
We cannot expect settled
peace on earth till the Prince of peace reigns (Isa. 9: 6).
Mans compromises are not the fruit of love, nor the work of
righteousness (Isa. 32: 17). We thank God for all
temporary lulls, and indeed for all that He, in perfect wisdom and overruling,
permits. We thank Him for kings and
all that are in authority, and acknowledge such wholeheartedly
with tribute, custom, fear and honour (
Wondrous words, Your bodies are the members of Christ (1 Cor. 6: 15). Is it surprising then that believers are encouraged to go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach (Heb. 13. 13)? The whole attitude is of one piece, and all overreaching in business, and self-defence, and worldly standing up for ones rights, and legal redress are cut out. The Christian is as a sheep. His only safety from wolves is Christ. Lo, I am with you all the days (Matt. 28: 20). To act the Christian sometimes, and to use the worlds threats at another, is to bring disgrace on His Name.
Herein then we find His searching call to holiness. If I humbly say, I belong to Christ, I must not only plead conscience
when dealing with problems, but humbly do all in the Name of the Lord
Jesus (Col. 3: 17). Has not the body been presented to Him (
The all-comprehensiveness of the claim of Christ, to His redeemed, answers any objections that may be raised. For example, we are asked: What would happen if everyone took the same standpoint? There is no Scriptural suggestion that believers will ever be a majority now: they remain a little flock. But IF all took His standpoint in all things they could at least follow His steps (1 Pet. 2. 21). So the question, What would happen? only appeals to those whose ideal is a position in this age. If more had the joy of John 12: 25, 26, how blessed it would be. A kindly authority may say, We own your loyalty, but what if we exempt you as Christians; what shall we do as to others who ask what you ask on far different grounds? We answer that it is not ours to advise authorities, but we do not ask an undue favour. If the authorities in any land persecute, they, rob themselves far more than us. A Christian in the wrong place, stifling his conscience, would be a hindrance to all, but in the right place, honouring his Lord, he is an asset to the land. None can plead that we are favoured, unless they are willing for the whole of the standpoint, for the reproach of Christ, and its surrender of much that men of the world hold dear. The simple standpoint of Ye are bought with a price, will never attract the mixed multitude in mans day (1 Cor. 4: 3, marg.). Tis the same in a trades union. Whenever a child of God says No, others may retort, But you have advantages. We answer:- You would not allow us to act otherwise: you demand that we receive these for your own sakes, not ours. And the true Christian gives far more than he receives: the persecutor loses far more than he gets. The humble believer is willing to surrender advantages, but not willing to surrender his Lord or his Lords will. Let him have his Lord in prison rather than be without his Lord in luxury. Believers are not citizens of the world, but they are the salt of the earth: how oft is Gods judgment held back by praying Christians! Bought with a price!
What if some scorn and oppose? Did not the Lord Jesus say, They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world, and again, Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you (John 15: 19)? Is the path attractive? Yes, if He is; no, if He is not. O that you and I may yet find sweeter music in the glorious words, Who gave Himself for us that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father (Gal. 1: 4). This is no new theory. It has always been His will for His own, because they are not their own. The whole belongs to Him: shall He have His rightful purchase, or shall it be sinfully withheld? You soon wont be able to do anything, says someone. On the contrary, we can truly be a blessing in daily life, and fill many spheres to Gods glory. They may be humble, but we shall seek to be found trustworthy. The faithful Christian should be the best subject and the most reliable employee, though he cannot present himself to his earthly master. He has presented himself once to one Master, owning that Masters sovereign right, but he can be faithful, and he will hate eye-service, because of the honour of his one Master. The Lord Jesus has not left His own without instructions. Professions and occupations which involve judgment and threatening are indeed closed, all that includes deceit and untruthfulness is obviously excluded, but they can work with their own hands the thing which is good (Eph. 4: 28), and the promise of Matthew 6: 33 is not a dead letter. We shall have food and raiment (1 Tim. 6: 8).
Here have we no continuing city, but
we seek one to come, is true whether in
Bought with a price. Sound forth the words yet again. Do they mean little? Did the Son of God give Himself for His own, and are they still like men of the world? Are there not two spheres to-day, or is there only one? When Noah prepared an ark to the saving of his house, he condemned the world, and 1 John 5: 19 speaks of two positions still. Far be it from us to say who are not redeemed and who are. The Lord knoweth them that are His (2 Tim. 2: 19). Some such may be mixed with the world, only He can separate His gold from dross. But His principles and precepts are for our guidance, and He divides all into two classes, and only two. Again we read the words, I have chosen you out of the world. If you, dear reader, deny this, your contention is with the Lord Jesus Himself, not with us. If YOU say, I, too, believe in Christ, affectionately we ask you, if you are bought with a price, to accept the privileges of whole-hearted separation unto Him, and all His will. If, alas, you say No, by lip or by life, how can we, to avoid your displeasure, deny Him the pleasure of loves obedience? It is plain that Romans 12: 19-21 and 13: 1-4 are quite different, because dealing with two different spheres. Is it difficult to say in which of the two the disciple of Christ shall now be found?
It is the same with dispensations. Many think that because God commanded war to
Then His people were in one Nation.
Now His people are in all nations.
Then He appointed His people to act in His Name in wrath.
Now He entrusts His people with the gospel of His grace.
Furthermore, are the leaders of armies willing to recognise the Captain of the Lords host (Jos. 5: 14, 15), and a standing still to see His salvation if He so appoints (2 Chron. 20: 17), or a reduction from 12,000, first to 10,000 and then 300, at His bidding (Jud. 7: 3, 7)? Unless His will is sought primarily on each occasion (1 Chron. 14: 10, 14), and the battle is the Lords, the parallel is only a fiction.* Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Col. 3: 23) is a principle in the context of daily business, - even as if the Lord will in James 4: 15. A Christian should put his heart into whatever he does. If he accepts the call to fight, then he must fight enthusiastically as to the Lord if he meets an enemy believer he must wish to lay him low, he dare not shoot to the side, with ammunition which is not his own: that would be stealing and guilty untruthfulness. If he has a bomb, he must desire the maximum for his country, in its deadly use. But, after all, is not heaven his country, and is not the gospel of peace still his message? Surely he is not called to destroy evil men, but to tell them of Christ. Has not he received mercy, to be merciful? He dare not hurry men into a lost eternity, unless the One to Whom he belongs has said that this is His will. And where has He entrusted us with such service to be done unto the Lord, and not unto men (Col. 3: 23)?
* Nor can we forget that when God sent He normally appointed victory. But how can victory be for both sides? Yet His people are on both sides, being found in all nations. If any think He entrusts warfare to believers when they are born in one land, does He so if they are born in the enemy land? or should each believer decide anew on each occasion what he will do? How graciously God has prevented such an impossible dilemma, which would be unfair, if not traitorous, to a nation in the midst of strife, and would require knowledge that could not be attained by private individuals at the outset, when decision would be needed, - if at all. In wisdom He has prevented the problem by arranging for His Own bought ones to remain always as pilgrims, doing all they Scripturally can to be a real blessing in the land where God has placed and blesses them. How fitting are His appointments at all times.
Bought with a price. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2 Tim. 2: 4). A soldier has rightly one object: other objects are entangling. He is not in mere employment: his whole being is claimed. Hence by military (contrasted with civil) law, he cannot plead conscience against the official commands of a superior. Is this then the place for a Christian who belongs to Christ, and is personally responsible to Him? The good fight of faith means that all other surrender of ourselves would he our entangling. Christ possesses His people first, and He will not sell them, nor give up the purchase of His Own precious blood. With loves jealousy He rightly claims their all, and shall our answer be, Lord Thou hast indeed purchased, but it is not easy to avoid the claims of others; let me be excused? Nay, as His redeemed, let our response to His unspeakable love be more devoted love to Himself, while we wait for His Coming, and seek His approval and joy in that day.
Why does the Holy Spirit dwell within believers? This amazing fact is a wondrous privilege. He has come because we are sons (Gal. 4: 6). And He is called the Spirit of promise ... the Earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of [the body] the purchased possession (Eph. 1: 13, 14). He has come to claim, even to-day, those who are bought with a price, that they may simply represent their Lord Jesus here. Shall we grieve Him by bitterness and wrath (Eph. 4: 30, 31)? Shall we say we are bought, and yet deny the leading of Him Who indwells in order that we may not act in our own natural ignorance? Can I send a sinner to judgment in the power of the Holy Spirit Who has come that I may be a witness of Christ in His power? Can I kill one whose only hope is the Lord Jesus - kill him in the Name of the Lord Jesus? Bought with a price is a blessed reality: O that there may be a blessed realization with abundant fruit, in every part of daily life, unto the praise of His glory!