“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
Suppose someone asked you that question: What is the kingdom of God? How would you respond? The easy answer would be to note that a kingdom is that territory over which a king reigns. Since we understand that God is the Creator of all things, the extent of His realm must be the whole world. Manifestly, then, the kingdom of God is wherever God reigns, and since He reigns everywhere, the kingdom of God is everywhere.
But I think my pastor was getting at something else. Certainly the New Testament gets at something else. We see this when John the Baptist comes out of the wilderness with his urgent announcement, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” We see it again when Jesus appears on the scene with the same pronouncement. If the kingdom of God consists of all of the universe over which God reigns, why would anyone announce that the kingdom of God was near or about to come to pass. Obviously, John the Baptist and Jesus meant something more about this concept of the kingdom of God.
At the heart of this theme is the idea of God’s messianic kingdom. It is a kingdom that will be ruled by God’s appointed Messiah, who will be not just the Redeemer of His people, but their King. So when John speaks of the radical nearness of this breakthrough, the intrusion of the kingdom of God, he’s speaking of this kingdom of the Messiah.
At the end of Jesus’ life, just as He was about to depart from this earth, His disciples had the opportunity to ask Him one last question. They asked, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6b). I can easily imagine that Jesus might have been somewhat frustrated by this question. I would have expected Him to say, “How many times do I have to tell you, I’m not going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” But that’s not what He said; He gave a patient and gentle answer. He said: “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:7–8). What did He mean? What was He getting at?
When Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world,” was He indicating that His kingdom was something spiritual that takes place in our hearts or was He speaking of something else? The whole Old Testament called attention not to a kingdom that would simply appear in people’s hearts, but to a kingdom that would break through into this world, a kingdom that would be ruled by God’s anointed Messiah. For this reason, during His earthly ministry, Jesus made comments such as, “If I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20). Similarly, when Jesus sent out seventy disciples on a preaching mission, He instructed them to tell impenitent cities that “The kingdom of God has come near you” (Luke 10:11b). How could the kingdom be upon the people or near them? The kingdom of God was near to them because the King of the kingdom was there. When He came, Jesus inaugurated God’s kingdom. He didn’t consummate it, but He started it. And when He ascended into heaven, He went there for His coronation, for His investiture as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
So Jesus’ kingship is not something that remains in the future. Christ is King right this minute. He is in the seat of the highest cosmic authority. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to God’s anointed Son (Matt. 28:18).
In 1990, I was invited into Eastern Europe to do a series of lectures in three countries, first in Czechoslovakia, then in Hungary, and finally in Romania. As we were leaving Hungary, we were warned that the border guards in Romania were quite hostile to Americans and that we should be prepared to be hassled and possibly even arrested at the border.
Sure enough, when our rickety train reached the border of Romania, two guards got on. They couldn’t speak English, but they pointed for our passports, then pointed to our luggage. They wanted us to bring our bags down from the luggage rack and open them up, and they were very brusque and rude. Then, suddenly, their boss appeared, a burly officer who spoke some broken English. He noticed that one of the women in our group had a paper bag in her lap, and there was something peeking out of it. The officer said: “What this? What in bag?” Then he opened the bag and pulled out a Bible. I thought, “Uh-oh, now we’re in trouble.” The officer began leafing through the Bible, looking over the pages very rapidly. Then he stopped and looked at me. I was holding my American passport, and he said, “You no American.” And he looked at Vesta and said, “You no American.” He said the same thing to the others in our group. But then he smiled and said, “I am not Romanian.”
By now we were quite confused, but he pointed at the text, gave it to me, and said, “Read what it says.” I looked at it and it said, “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20a). The guard was a Christian. He turned to his subordinates and said: “Let these people alone. They’re OK. They’re Christians.” As you can imagine, I said, “Thank you, Lord.” This man understood something about the kingdom of God—that our first place of citizenship is in the kingdom of God.
I had a crisis on this point in my last year of seminary, when I was a student pastor of a Hungarian refugee church in Western Pennsylvania. It was a little group of about one hundred people, many of whom didn’t speak English. Someone donated an American flag to the church, which I placed in the chancel, across from the Christian flag. My crisis came the next week, when one of the elders, who was a veteran, came to me and said, “Reverend, you’ve got it all wrong there on the chancel.” I asked, “What’s the matter?” He said: “Well, the law of our land requires that any time any flag is displayed with the American flag, it must be placed in a subordinate position to the American flag. The way you have it arranged here, the American flag is subordinate to the Christian flag. That has to change.” Anyone who has lived outside this country knows how wonderful this place is. I love it and I honor it, along with its symbols, including the flag. But as I listened to this elder speak, I asked myself, how can the Christian flag be subordinate to any national flag?
The kingdom of God trumps every earthly kingdom. I’m a Christian first, an American second. I owe allegiance to the American flag, but I have a higher allegiance to Christ, because He is my King. So I had a dilemma. I didn’t want to violate the law of the United States and I didn’t want to communicate that the kingdom of God is subordinate to a human government. So I solved the dilemma easily enough—I took both flags out of the church.
We experience this conflict of kingdoms when Jesus tells us to pray, “Your kingdom come.” What does this mean? What are we praying for when we speak this petition? There is a logic that runs like a ribbon through the Lord’s Prayer. Each of the petitions is connected to the others. The first petition Jesus taught us was, “Hallowed be Your name,” which is a plea that the name of God would be regarded as holy. Manifestly, unless and until the name of God is regarded as holy, His kingdom will not and cannot come to this world. But we who do regard His name as holy then have the responsibility to make the kingdom of God manifest.
John Calvin said it is the task of the church to make the invisible kingdom visible. We do that by living in such a way that we bear witness to the reality of the kingship of Christ in our jobs, our families, our schools, and even our checkbooks, because God in Christ is King over every one of these spheres of life. The only way the kingdom of God is going to be manifest in this world before Christ comes is if we manifest it by the way we live as citizens of heaven and subjects of the King.
Do Not Indulge Sinful Inclinations Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Colossians 3:5
We must not indulge our inclinations, as we do little children, till they grow weary of the thing they are unwilling to let go. We must not continue our sinful practices in hopes that the divine grace will one day overpower our spirits, and make us hate them for their own deformity.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Do Little Things as If They Were Great Matthew 25:21, 23; Luke 16:10; 19:17, 19; Ephesians 6:6–7; Philippians 4:13; Colossians 3:17
Do little things as though they were great, because of the majesty of Jesus Christ who does them in us, and who lives our life; and do the greatest things as though they were little and easy, because of His omnipotence.
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be redeemed among the nations. (Numbers 23:9)
Who would wish to dwell among the nations and to be numbered with them? Why, even the professing church is such that to follow the Lord fully within its bounds is very difficult. There is such a mingling and mixing that one often sighs for “a lodge in some vast wilderness.”
Certain it is that the Lord would have His people follow a separated path as to the world and come out decidedly and distinctly from it. We are set apart by the divine decree, purchase, and calling, and our inward experience has made us greatly to differ from men of the world; and therefore our place is not in their Vanity Fair, nor in their City of Destruction, but in the narrow way where all true pilgrims must follow their Lord.
This may not only reconcile us to the world’s cold shoulder and sneers but even cause us to accept them with pleasure as being a part of our covenant portion. Our names are not in the same book, we are not of the same seed, we are not bound for the same place, neither are we trusting to the same guide; therefore it is well that we are not of their number. Only let us be found in the number of the redeemed, and we are content to be off and solitary to the end of the chapter.
6:18–20 Sexual immorality is unique among sins insomuch as it is sin against the body, thus assaulting the sanctity of a believer’s sacred oneness with Christ (sealed by the Holy Spirit who is in you) and the oneness of holy matrimony (cp. 7:2). The point is that the believer’s body is a sacred vessel, bought at a price by the Son of God. Believers thus have no business doing anything with the Lord’s body that does not glorify him.
6:19do you not know Paul asks a question to explain his association of the physical body with holiness (vv. 13–17). The nature of this question suggests that the Corinthian believers should already know about this truth.
your body Refers to the body of each believer. Paul’s use of the singular form of “body” may emphasize that each believer is a temple of God. Paul also described the entire church community as the temple of God in 3:16.
the temple In this context, Paul focuses on individual believers instead of the entire church community. See note on 3:16; compare 2 Cor 6:16 and note.
6:20For you were bought at a price In Paul’s time, masters purchased slaves from other masters, thereby issuing a change in ownership for a slave. Paul reminds the Corinthians that God purchased them from slavery to sin and death through the sacrificial death of Christ. Therefore, they belong to God, not to themselves (1 Cor 6:13; compare Gal 2:19–20).
6:19temple of the Holy Spirit within you. The Spirit of the Lord lives within individual Christians (v. 17), making each Christian’s body a temple just as the church, corporately conceived, is also a temple where God’s Spirit dwells (3:16). You are not your own. As with other gifts from God (4:2, 7), Christians are to exercise responsible stewardship over their bodies.
6:20bought with a price. The image is borrowed from the slave market (7:23; see also Rom. 6:17–18), Christ’s blood being the purchase price (Eph. 1:7; see also 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:9).
6:19 not your own. A Christian’s body belongs to the Lord (v. 13), is a member of Christ (v. 15), and is the Holy Spirit’s temple. See notes on Ro 12:1, 2. Every act of fornication, adultery, or any other sin is committed by the believer in the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, where God dwells. In the OT, the High-Priest only went in there once a year, and only after extensive cleansing, lest he be killed (Lv 16).
6:20 a price. The precious blood of Christ (see notes on 1Pe 1:18). glorify God. The Christian’s supreme purpose (10:31).
6:19 The temple (3:16, 17) was the congregation of believers. The temple was recognized as the sacred dwelling place of God. The Shekinah glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34) and the temple (1 Kin. 8:10, 11). Now, the glory of God in the person of the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer (John 14:16, 17) and thus inhabits the entire church. The OT priests took great pains to maintain a pure sanctuary for God’s presence. Every Christian ought also to care diligently for his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, in order to honor God and the church.
6:20Bought at a price alludes to someone purchasing a slave at a slave auction. With His death Jesus Christ paid the cost to redeem us from our slavery to sin (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19). While it is true that this is applicable to all people, even those who deny the Lord (2 Pet. 2:1), it has a very unique and special significance for the believer (compare 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Tim. 4:10). Paul concludes with the imperative therefore, glorify God in your body. In other words, use your bodies in order that other people may see that you belong to God.
6:18–20. Paul draws his final application, commanding everyone in the church to flee sexual immorality because every sin that a believer does is outside the body. The believer who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.Sexual immorality goes contrary to the very nature and purpose of the human body. While other sins also affect the body, sexual immorality does so in a unique way because its cravings originate entirely from within. It forces the fulfillment of personal lust, the height of self-violation of the physical body which, Paul says, is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The believers were bought at a price, an expression that brings to mind the act of redemption and the outcome of the change of ownership. Therefore the Corinthian believers are commanded to glorify God in their physical body and in their spirit, which are God’s.
6:19 Again Paul reminds the Corinthians that theirs was a holy and dignified calling. Had they forgotten that their bodies were a temple of the Holy Spirit? That is the solemn truth of Scripture, that every believer is indwelt by the Spirit of God. How could we ever think of taking a body in which the Holy Spirit dwells and using it for vile purposes? Not only is our body the shrine of the Holy Spirit, but in addition, we are not our own. It is not for us to take our bodies and use them the way we desire. In the final analysis, they do not belong to us; they belong to the Lord.
6:20 We are the Lord’s both by creation and redemption. Here the latter is particularly in view. His ownership of us dates back to Calvary. We were bought at a price. At the cross, we see the price tag which the Lord Jesus put on us. He thought us to be of such value that He was willing to pay for us with the price of His own precious blood. How greatly Jesus must have loved us to bear our sins in His body on the cross!
That being the case, I can no longer think of my body as my own. If I am to take it and use it in the way I desire, then I am acting as a thief, taking that which does not belong to me. Rather I must use my body to glorify God, the One to whom it belongs.
Head! Think of Him whose brow was thorn-girt. Hands! Toil for Him whose hands were nailed to the cross. Feet! Speed to do His behests whose feet were pierced. Body of mine! Be His temple whose body was wrung with pains unspeakable.
We should also glorify God in our spirit, since both material and immaterial parts of man are God’s.
6:19–20. Among those grieved was the Holy Spirit who indwells every Christian (who is in you; cf. 12:13; 1 John 3:24). Also God the Father is grieved, for He seeks honor (Matt. 5:16), not shame, from those who are bought at a price (cf. 1 Cor. 7:23), that price being “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19).
6:19. For this reason, the apostle appealed once again to a teaching which he had already given the Corinthians. The Christian’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in believers, making their bodies a holy place for the dwelling of God’s special presence. That the Holy Spirit resides in believers points to the new nature of believers’ bodies. Believers’ bodies are sanctified and holy, being in union with Christ. When a person in Christ engages in sexual immorality, that immorality runs contrary to the new nature and new identity of his body. The Christian has been redeemed for good works (Eph. 2:10), so he ought to use his body for good deeds and righteousness, not for sin.
Paul also reminded the Corinthians that they did not have rights to their own bodies. They were not free to use their bodies any way they wished. He insisted that Christ bought them at a price—his own blood. As a slave was bought in the ancient world, Christ bought his followers, body and soul, through the price of his own death. Because they belong to him, believers do not have the right to rebel against him by using their bodies in ways the Lord has prohibited.
Further, because this purchase results in redemption and salvation, it ought to inspire grateful obedience, not rebellion. In this reminder, Paul chastised the Corinthians and pleaded with them to obey Christ eagerly and thankfully.
6:20. In conclusion, Paul insisted, Honor God with your body. Having already given the negative warning to flee immorality, Paul gave positive guidance through the gospel. Rather than merely resist sin, believers must see themselves as temples of God purchased by Christ. Of course, this purchase refers to Christ’s atonement. Because Christ died for and purchased believers, believers owe him obedience and honor. They should search for ways to bring glory to God by using their bodies in the ways that God has commanded, and by refraining from using their bodies in ways God has prohibited. They should remember that their bodies have been united to Christ, and they must honor Christ by not dragging his members into union with prostitutes.
Paul’s major point in this context is a call to holiness. Believers are to be radically different from the surrounding culture. This has two purposes: (1) it accomplishes the goal of Christlikeness and (2) it attracts people to faith in Christ, which are the twin foci of the Great Commission (cf. Matt. 28:19–20).
Believers are God-possessed people. This is volitionally different from demon possession in that the volitional cooperation of the believer is crucial at every stage and level. The demonic destroys the individual’s will, but the sovereign God has chosen to honor the freedom of His human creation. Only in Christian maturity (Christlikeness) does God’s will become the dominate guiding force!
6:20 “you have been bought with a price” This is an AORIST PASSIVE INDICATIVE. This metaphor comes from the slave market (cf. 7:22–23; Rom. 3:24; Gal. 3:13; 4:5). In the OT this was known as the goʾel, a near relative who bought one back from slavery (cf. Lev. 25:25). This is a reference to Christ’s substitutionary, vicarious atonement (cf. Isa. 53; Mark 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:21). When one accepts Christ he relinquishes personal rights to his/her body and takes on the responsibility for the corporate health and vitality of the whole temple, the whole body (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7).
There are two extremes to avoid in the Christian life: (1) everything is improper; (2) everything is proper. Our bodies are for God, not for self; they are for service, not for sin (cf. Rom. 6). This view of the body is very different from the Greek view of the body as the prison house of the soul. The body is not evil, but it is the battleground of the spiritual life.
There is an additional phrase in NKJV, “and in your spirit, which are God’s,” which is in a few late uncials and in many later minuscule Greek manuscripts. However, the older texts do not have it. It is not in P46, א, A, B, C*, D*, F, or G.
19. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? And you do not belong to yourselves.
a. “Or do you not know?” The comparative conjunction or provides an additional reason for fleeing sexual immorality. For the last time in this chapter, Paul rhetorically asks the Corinthians whether they have definite knowledge (see vv. 2, 3, 9, 15, and 16). They again have to give an affirmative answer to this query. We assume that on an earlier occasion Paul had taught them about the purpose, use, and destiny of their physical bodies.
b. “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you.” Paul reminds the Corinthians of the sacredness of their bodies. He notes that the Holy Spirit makes his abode within them, so that their body is his temple. He writes the two words body and temple in the singular to apply them to the individual believer. Further, through the word order in the Greek, he places emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Paul literally writes to the Corinthians, “Your body is a temple of the one within you, namely the Holy Spirit.” That is, the physical body of the Christian belongs to the Lord and serves as the residence of the Holy Spirit.
What an honor to have God’s Spirit dwelling within us! Note that Paul writes the word temple (see the commentary on 3:16). The Greek has two words that are translated “temple.” The first one is hieron, which refers to the general temple complex, as in the city of Jerusalem. The second is naos, which denotes the temple building with the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (see, e.g., Exod. 26:31–34; Heb. 9:1–5). Naos is used in the present verse. For the Jew, this was the place where God dwelled among his people until the destruction of the temple in a.d. 70. For the Christian, not a fixed geographic site but the body of the individual believer is the place where God’s Spirit is pleased to dwell. In the early church, Irenaeus called individual Christians “temples of God” and described them as “stones for the Father’s temple.” If, then, the Spirit of God dwells within us, we should avoid grieving him (Eph. 4:30) or extinguishing his fire (1 Thess. 5:19).
c. “Whom you have from God.” In this brief segment of the verse, Paul teaches first that the individual believers possess and continue to possess the gift of the Holy Spirit. Next, he reveals that the Spirit’s origin is from God.
d. “And you do not belong to yourselves.” We are not the owners of our own bodies, for God created us, Jesus redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit makes his abode within us. The triune God claims ownership, but he leaves us free to consecrate and yield our physical bodies to him. By contrast, those who commit fornication desecrate the temple of the Holy Spirit and cause untold spiritual and physical damage to themselves and others. For this reason, Paul exhorts us to flee sexual immorality (v. 18). Because God owns our body, we are its stewards and must give an account to him. Therefore, we ought to guard its sanctity and protect it from defilement and destruction. God’s temple is holy and precious.
20. You were bought with a price; glorify God then in your body.
a. “You were bought with a price.” These words allude to Jesus’ death on Calvary’s cross where he paid the price of our redemption. Jesus paid for our freedom from sin, so that as redeemed children of our heavenly Father we may share his blessings. The term bought calls to mind the marketplace where slaves were bought and sold. If this is what Paul means, he alludes to Christians whom Christ has bought as slaves to serve him. Christ now owns them and is their master. In a parallel passage, Paul says the same thing: “For he who was called by the Lord while a slave is a freedman of the Lord, likewise the freedman when he was called is a slave of the Lord. You were bought with a price. Do not become slaves of men” (7:22–23; see also Gal. 4:6–7).
b. “Glorify God then in your body.” Here is Paul’s concluding statement to a lengthy discourse on sexual immorality (6:12–20). He has skillfully turned a negative discussion to a positive exhortation. He tells the Corinthians to use their bodies, which are the Spirit’s holy temple, to honor God. They can do so by listening obediently to his voice as he speaks to them through his revelation. A seventeenth-century catechism raises the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “To glorify God, and enjoy him forever.”
Flee From Fornication (6:18–20)
So Paul immediately urges (verse 18), ‘Flee from fornication,’ which in this context means sexual intercourse with prostitutes, most likely temple prostitutes. But in the broader passage begun at chapter 5 the word porneia means other kinds of unlawful sexual expression mentioned, whether adultery or homosexuality, to which we may justly add pre-marital sex. There is a special quality in sexual sin. ‘Every other sin,’ Paul observes, is ‘outside the body.’ The Corinthians are quite wrong. That ‘the stomach is for food and food for the stomach’ does not mean that ‘genitals are for sex and sex is for genitals’. Having a stomach indeed points to the need to eat. But having sexual organs does not of itself imply the necessity for sexual gratification. Further, eating food does not establish a special bond with the eater. But it is otherwise between two people coupled in sexual relationship. They are ‘one flesh’. A bond is created in sexual intercourse.
As well, Paul teaches that the man or woman who fornicates ‘sins against his or her own body’ or person. This he establishes by another question introduced by, ‘Do you not know?’ What they do not know, but should know, in that one’s ‘body’ is a ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’. The ‘body’ is not merely flesh, organs and bones, but the total person including mind, memory, conscience and emotions. The ‘body’ of the Christian believer, so understood, is a sacred shrine indwelt by the Spirit of God. That ‘body’ is meant for union with the Lord, with whom each Christian is ‘one Spirit’. To break that spiritual union with the risen Lord by fornicating is to sin against oneself, one’s own ‘body’. Furthermore, as he declared earlier, such fornicating barred one from ‘inheriting the kingdom of God’ (6:10–11).
In fact, Paul teaches that the ‘body’ is not actually theirs at all (verse 20). ‘You are not your own,’ he says to our surprise. No. ‘You have your body from God.’ You don’t own yourself. ‘For,’ he writes, ‘you were bought for a price’ (also 7:23). You now belong to your purchaser. Slaves were sometimes set free after having saved enough money to purchase their liberty. Alternatively a benefactor could set them free. Sometimes this ‘act of redemption’ occurred in a pagan temple where the liberated slave took the name of the god. Those who through the gospel are ‘in Christ’ and who are ‘one Spirit’ with him have been ‘washed’ from the filth of moral stain, ‘sanctified’ or set apart as God’s ‘holy’ person, and ‘justified’ or acquitted by God. Furthermore, they find that God ‘breaks the power of cancelled sin’ and that he ‘sets the prisoner free’ (cf. Rom. 6:17–18). The ‘price’ paid for their freedom from the penalty and the power of sin was unimaginably high, the sacrifice of the Messiah for their sins (see on 5:7; 1 Cor. 15:3).
Fornication joins two persons as ‘one flesh’, which means rupturing the ‘one Spirit’ relationship with the risen Lord. It means sinning against one’s own body which has been purchased by God at the immeasurably high price, the sacrificial death of Jesus. Therefore, the believer is to ‘glorify God’ in the body by living in sexual purity.
The Corinthians are well warned, as are we, by the apostle’s words, ‘Flee from fornication.’ Few forces in life prove to be as overwhelming as sexual arousal. This powerful fire is easily lit and very difficult to extinguish. Lack of self-discipline quickly leads to addiction so that sexual gratification becomes a ‘prison’. Its destructive danger needs to be recognised ahead of times of temptations. We should take care not to expose our vulnerability by reading inappropriate literature, watching unsuitable videos or visiting the seductive sites on the worldwide net. Not only is our relationship with the Lord broken by fornication, but marriages are ruined and families destroyed. Paul had ample opportunity to observe the devastating effect of fornication. In urging, ‘Flee from fornication,’ he is regarding it as a fierce forest fire. ‘Turn from it and run,’ he says.
Vers. 19–20. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?—
The dignity and service of the body:—
I. The dignity of the body. The apostle speaks in the accents of surprise, as if to imply that they ought to know. 1. Many considerations may commend the sanctification of the flesh to God, e.g.—(1) The natural care for our bodies. (2) The possibility that the angels may have bodies resembling our own, since every angelic appearance in Scripture has been in human shape. (3) The fact that Christ ascended to heaven in a body of “flesh and bones.” (4) The fact that the flesh is included in His redeeming work so that in heaven there will be glory and happiness for the body. 2. But the apostle takes higher ground. The body of a Christian man is claimed and taken possession of by the God who has redeemed it—and therefore to be treated with the same respect with which a heathen would regard the temple of his idol, or a Jew the holy of holies. 3. Of course this is not true of all men. It is true that the body is fearfully and wonderfully made in all, that there dwells within it an immortal soul full of noble gifts, that body and soul are actuated by a supernatural power. But in natural men that power is the power of God’s enemy. It is to Christians alone that the text applies. 4. Now the idea of temple implies—(1) Presence. In the temples of idolatry there was a visible shape to represent the spirit supposed to be there. In the Temple at Jerusalem there was indeed no figure, but there the visible Shekinah dwelt above the mercy-seat. Thus if the body be the temple of the Holy Ghost it must be because He is actually there. What a solemn thought that is! (2) Presence, not by permission, but by right. Thus it is not that we ought from reverence or courtesy to render to God the use of a body which is our own, but it is that God assumes the use of a body which is His—bought with a price. We were God’s by creation, and the right of property thus derived still exists. But we have given to Satan what is really God’s; and the Spirit of God will not come back into a body where Satan’s seat is, nor by force take the flesh, while the affections are bestowed elsewhere. But when His grace has won the heart back again, then God comes back to His own and takes full possession of the entire man. Try to realise the force of motive which this fact supplies for holiness.
II. The service of the body. The Christian who thus thinks of his flesh as the temple of God cannot fail to acquire a higher respect for it, and it is evident that this higher respect will show itself in small things as well as in great. Follow the drunkard or the profligate, who abuse their natural health by sin, and see if the result be not neglect of the body, and misery and suffering in the very flesh they pamper. But let the grace of God change that man’s heart, and what a difference is seen! Now he holds his head erect and takes his place among his fellow-men. 1. We should jealously watch our bodies lest they be polluted with sin. 2. Respect for the body, as the temple of the Holy Ghost, should teach propriety of dress and manner, and even of bodily appearance. A saved body, destined for heaven, is neither to be neglected nor to be made into an idle gewgaw, but is to be treated with the serious propriety which becomes a house of God and the God who fills it. 3. We need to watch over all our habits, so as to keep the body in the fittest state possible to do God’s will. This is the highest object of health, that the members may be instruments of righteousness unto holiness. 4. Learn the due use and place of the body in our worship of God. The real seat of worship is in the heart, but when the heart is right, the body must share the service. Hence arises the propriety of outward forms of worship, of the bended knees, &c. (Canon Garbett.)
The temple of the Holy Ghost:—1. There is a great danger in religion—as there is in everything else—of a want of proportion. To the natural man the body is much more than the soul. He can see his body; his soul is a matter of faith. The body can give him immediate pleasure; the pleasures of the soul lie chiefly in the future. To the care of the body there is little or nothing to oppose itself; to the care of the soul, the opposition, both from within and without, is very strong. Hence, to provide for that body takes by far the greatest part of a man’s life. When a man becomes religious these two things change places. The body goes into the shade; the soul is everything. The body is a thing to mortify. In all this because it is extravagant there is a danger that there will follow a reaction, and the body may become again too important, because it was made too insignificant. 2. Now let us see how God’s truth regards “the body.” The whole man is “a temple”; the body its walls; the senses its gates; the mind the nave; the heart the altar-piece; and the soul the holy of holies. And yet, as in common life, we call the walls and the doors the house, so “the body” is called “the temple,” so important, so sacred is “the body.” 3. Christ wore a body and wears it for ever. His discourses were very often about the body, and His miracles were chiefly upon the body. The body finds a place in our daily prayer—“Give me this day my daily bread.” 4. We also know the close connection between the body and the mind! how the state of the one affects the condition of the other; and how the body reflects the inner life of the man. What are features, however delicately formed, without expression? And what makes the expression but thoughts—love, tenderness, sympathy! Or, equally, on the other side, sin lowers, vulgarises, spoils, even distorts the countenance. The real beauty of “the temple” after all is its consecration. 5. And when you are dealing with some fellow-creature, what a new character the whole transaction would assume—if you would recognise the fact that that person is “a temple.” However poor, wretched, weak, wicked. Notwithstanding, the Holy Ghost may be in that man—working, striving. (J. Vaughan, M.A.)
The temple of the Holy Ghost:—1. God does not influence us merely from the outside—play upon us as the flame flickers on the bar of the grate, but rather as the heat penetrates into the very heart and core of the iron. He enters the very centre of our being, and makes His influence felt throughout the whole. 2. This indwelling is not merely that natural indwelling which is a necessary attribute of an Infinite Being; it is gracious friendly indwelling (Isa. 57:15; John 14:23). The apostle employs this figure—
I. To quicken our abhorrence of sensual vice. Nowhere are disorder and neglect more unseemly than in a temple; but of all kinds of disorder and neglect the most repulsive is filth. For a Christian to indulge in sensuality is to commit an abomination to be classed with the sacrilege of Antiochus Epiphanes, who offered a sow on the altar of the Temple.
II. To give an impulse to our desires for greater purity of heart and higher spiritual attainments—for those especially which imprint themselves on, and give elevation to, the bodily features. Not only should the sensual look, the bloated complexion excite our loathing: we should seek for such a state of soul as shall give a pleasing countenance. Cathedral builders used to spend much time and pains on the doorway, so as to make it worthy of the building. The face is the doorway to the soul, and it becomes us to see that it does not discredit the temple. Christian men and women should feel that the dreary look of care, the peevishness of discontent, &c., do not befit those whose bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost.
III. To stimulate us to render God His due. The temple is a place of worship. Net that we can of ourselves provide offerings worthy of God; we must ask Him to give us of His own wherewith to serve Him. But if He dwells in us He will inspire with the feelings and produce in us the fruits that constitute the most acceptable offerings. His presence is not like that of a star in the firmament which, bright though it be, communicates nothing of itself to our distant planet. It is rather like the presence of the sun, which cannot shine without brightening earth and sky and sea; without giving its colour to the rose, its fragrance to the lily, its flavour to the peach; without ripening the golden grain and cheering and brightening the hearts of men. God cannot dwell in the soul without corresponding influences; without fostering love and purity; without making sin more odious and holiness more attractive; without giving it strength to banish the one and to follow the other. Conclusion: The Holy Spirit may be resisted and grieved, and in consequence withdrawn, and the painful discipline of separation and chastisement may be substituted for loving fellowship (Hos. 5:15; Isa. 57:17). No loss can be more grievous. Far better the keenest application of the scourge than the sentence—“Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone.” (W. G. Blaikie, D.D.)
The redeemed sinner a temple of God:—
I. Whose the Christian is. Before the apostle tells us this, he makes it evident that we must have some master. “Ye are not your own!” You are bondmen. And this is no mere figure of speech. I know that if we look around us, it does not appear true. Freedom, independence, is the boast of earth and the pride of man; but go into heaven, and the very sound of it would dismay. The creature’s real glory and happiness consist in his willing dependence on the God who made him. And this the Christian feels. While others are proudly asking who is lord over them, he knows himself to be God’s property. And this is true of the Christian at all times. God says concerning every living soul and every clay-built dwelling-place a soul has occupied, “They are Mine.”
II. How he became God’s. There were several ways by which one man might become the property of another. 1. He might be born of a slave, and the owner of his parent would have a right to him also. And if Christian fathers could entail a glorious bondage on their children, what pangs and fears would many be spared! 2. He might be purchased. And this was a transaction so common that all would enter into the meaning of any illustration drawn from it. Money transferred the Greek slave from one master to another; so the blood of Jesus is the means whereby the sinner is rescued from his native thraldom, and brought “into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” By sin he became the servant and property of Satan. The blood of Christ makes an atonement for the transgressor’s sin; in a legal sense, it does away with it, and thus annihilates that on which Satan’s title to him rests.
III. What God makes him. A temple, which imports—1. A rebuilding, a restoration. Man was originally the temple of Jehovah, but sin entered, and, in one short hour, this noble piece of Jehovah’s workmanship became a mournful ruin. Some traces indeed of its original glory may still be discovered, but to what do they amount? They serve only to show the greatness of its degradation. His lofty understanding overthrown; his affections, which once rose to the skies, now grovelling on the earth; a spiritual being, and yet bounded in his ideas and enjoyments by material objects. But the blood of Christ having ransomed, now the grace of Christ transforms him. In the very hour when he becomes the Lord’s, a work of restoration is commenced within him, that never ends till it brings shape and beauty and glory out of a mass of ruins. And this is sanctification. 2. Dedication. It is this which distinguishes a temple from every other building. The purchased sinner is consecrated to holy purposes. 3. Residence, the abode of the Deity within it, to whom it is consecrated. We must labour to take in the idea of God dwelling within us; not carrying on His work of mercy in the heart like a bystander, but as leaven works in the meal, mingling itself with the mass it is changing. To the man of the world this is all a mystery, perhaps a delusion. And no wonder. It is understood only by experience, and of things like this he has had no experience. To the man of God it is a blessed reality. God never enters the heart alone; blessings unspeakable follow in His train—light end purity and joy.
IV. What God expects from him—glory. Now the glory of God is not such a glory as results to a man from the circumstances in which he is placed; its source is to be found in God’s intrinsic excellences. To glorify Him, therefore, is to bring these excellences into light. And the redeemed sinner does this. 1. Passively. His very redemption is an amazing exhibition of the Divine attributes. In this point of view, the creation of a world is as nothing to the salvation of his lost soul. 2. Actively. We are so to live and act that all who see us may be reminded by us of God. Now it is by the body chiefly as an instrument that the work must be done. The seat of religion is the soul, but its effects will be visible in the frame which the soul animates. (C. Bradley, M.A.)
The sacredness of the person:—1. The whole person of the believer is as sacred to God as the Temple was. Stronger language is impossible. (1) In both the plan is Divine. (2) In both human agency was called into requisition. In the building of the Temple and in the salvation of the soul man must work out the plan. (3) In both the work is transcendent. (4) But the chief point is the fact that the Temple was the dwelling-place of God typical of His indwelling in the regenerate heart. 2. Our endeavour will be to consider the sacredness and preciousness of the persons of the saints in the light of the price of our redemption. That we should take our stand by the Cross in order to obtain the highest view of human nature may not be consonant with the opinions of many. There are other standpoints. (1) There is the commercial standpoint. On this pinnacle you may stand for a lifetime to witness incessant activities in the hives of industry, which offer their tribute of praise to the greatness and dignity of human life. (2) Look also at the results of scientific research; what a mass of wonders meets your eye! (3) There is also the literary standpoint, whence we see mind, like a cataract, pouring its contents in numberless volumes. (4) Art is no less wonderful. But to none of these lights do we now ask you to come. Ascend Calvary where the noblest view of human life is obtainable.
I. The purpose of the Saviour’s life was to redeem mankind. Every great life has its purpose bound up in its very inclination and disposition. This is pre-eminently true of the life of Jesus. The purpose to save men preceded every thought, and left its impress on every act.
II. To ransom mankind was the ruling passion in the life of jesus. The life of the Saviour was unique in the fulfilment of its design. 1. His life was one supreme effort that men may feel that the salvation of the soul is the highest of all objects. 2. The cold reception He received did not damp His ardour.
III. To redeem men Jesus laid down His life. It was then the entire surrender of the price became apparent.
IV. What jealous care must be taken to guard this temple from the intrusion of sin! God dwells in you; let no unhallowed thought enter. Let the body be pure. There are two steps in entire consecration—the Spirit of God must sanctify the soul, and the soul must sanctify the body. Therefore, touch no unclean thing. (Weekly Pulpit.)
The Christian’s obligation to a holy life:—Note—1. That sinners of every class are excluded from heaven (ver. 9). 2. That sinners of every class have been changed (ver. 11). 3. That those who have been changed are under immense obligations to cultivate a holy life. The text teaches us—
I. That the Christian’s body is the temple of God. The body is frequently called so (chap. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22). Three ideas are suggested—1. Special connection with God. God is everywhere; but He had a special connection with the Temple of old. God is with all men, but “Thus saith the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity,” &c. 2. Special consecration to God. 3. Special manifestation of God. Though the universe reveals God, yet, in the Temple was the Shekinah. There is more of God seen in a good man’s life than elsewhere throughout the world.
II. That the Christian’s being is the property of God. “Ye are not your own.” 1. This does not mean—(1) That your personality is not your own. You will never be absorbed in God. (2) That your character is not your own. Character is the creation of a moral being—an untransferable thing. 2. It means that our existence is absolutely at His command; that He has a sovereign right to do with us whatever is pleasing in His sight. The reason of this is assigned. “We are bought with a price.” Christ has redeemed us, and has laid on us the strongest conceivable obligation to live a godly life (Rev. 14:5).
III. That the Christian’s duty is to glorify God. Not to make Him more glorious than He is—this is impossible. A holy mind is glorified in the realisation of its ideals. St. Paul’s Cathedral glorifies architecturally Sir Christopher Wren, inasmuch as it is the realisation of his idea. Man glorifies God when he realises in his life God’s ideal of a man. All beings glorify God as far as they realise His idea of their existence. This includes two things—1. That the human body be under the absolute government of the soul. The crime and curse of humanity are that matter governs mind; the body rules the soul. 2. That the human soul be under the government of supreme love to God. Love always—(1) Seeks to please the object. (2) Reflects the object. (3) Lives in the object. (D. Thomas, D.D.)
God’s Temple:—When Pompey captured Jerusalem he entered the Temple. On reaching the vast curtain that hung across the “holy of holies,” into which none but the high priest could enter, and that only on one day of the year, he wondered what the dark recess might contain. He drew the veil aside but the glory had departed and there was nothing there. How many Christians to-day are like that? Temples without a God. All beautiful outside. But when we lift the veil and pass beyond it to where the glory should be there is nothing to be seen. The glory is gone. This brings to our remembrance the old legend which tells us that on the night before the temple on Zion was burnt, the solemn words of the retreating Divinity were heard sounding through it, “Let us depart.” “I will arise and return unto My place till they acknowledge their offences.” Should this voice be heard to-day by you, let your cry be, “Abide with me, King of life and glory. Leave me not!” And the answer will come, “This is My rest for ever, here—mystery of love—will I dwell, for I have desired it, even the temple of thy heart.”
The temple of God must not be defaced:—What right has any man or any woman to deface the temple of the Holy Ghost? What is the ear? Why, it is the whispering-gallery of the human soul. What is the eye? It is the observatory God constructed, its telescope sweeping the heavens. What is the hand? An instrument so wonderful that when the Earl of Bridgewater bequeathed in his will £8,000 sterling for treatises to be written on the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, and Dr. Chalmers found his subject in the adaptation of external nature to the moral and intellectual constitution of man, and the learned Dr. Whewell found his subject in astronomy, Sir Charles Bell, the great English anatomist and surgeon, found his greatest illustration of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God in the construction of the human hand, writing his whole book on that subject. So wonderful are these bodies that God names His own attributes after different parts of them. His omniscience—it is God’s eye. His omnipresence—it is God’s ear. His omnipotence—it is God’s arm. The upholstery of the midnight heavens—it is the work of God’s fingers. His life-giving power—it is the breath of the Almighty. His dominion—the government shall be upon His shoulder. A body so Divinely honoured and so Divinely constructed, let us be careful not to abuse it. When it becomes a Christian duty to take care of our health, is not the whole tendency toward longevity? If I toss my watch about recklessly, and drop it on the pavement, and wind it up any time of day or night I happen to think of it, and often let it run down, while you are careful with your watch, and you never abuse it, and you wind it up at just the same hour every night, and then put it away in a place where it will not suffer from the violent changes of atmosphere, which watch will last the longer? Common sense answers. Now, the human body is God’s watch. You see the hands of the watch, you see the face of the watch; but the beating of the heart is the ticking of the watch. Oh! be careful and do not let it run down. (T. De Witt Talmage.) Keep thyself pure (sermon to young men):—1. Do not be surprised at the intensity of this remonstrance. Only think what a conception St. Paul had of the purity which Christ required; think what a sink of iniquity was the city of Corinth. It was London and Paris in one. It combined the worship of Plutus and Venus. The extravagance of its luxury was only matched by the depth of its licentiousness. Corinth was at that time the Vanity Fair of the Roman Empire. You might be tempted to say—Ah! no Christian could remain pure in such a place. So some of the young men of Corinth thought, and the apostle wrote to them that it was an entire mistake. I believe some of you young men have just the same notion that these Corinthians had. You say London is quite as trying to one’s principles as ever Corinth was. Perhaps so; yet even in Corinth there were those who remained proof against contamination. The grace of God proved sufficient for them. 2. Of course, he is here writing to Christian men (ver. 11). It was of little use to exhort others to a life of purity. An unconverted man regards himself as his own property, and naturally feels that he may deal with that property as he chooses. The alternative is to be the redeemed of the Lord Jesus (ver. 20). Christ gave His life for our salvation, that all who accept of Him should be saved; and if we believe, He claims us as His own. This is not a hardship, but a joyous liberty. And the secret of it is, that He puts His Holy Spirit within us, making us new creatures, with new desires, new likings, new motives. 3. Our body then becomes the “temple” of this Divine Spirit, and all its members are under His control. It is a very solemn and suggestive metaphor. There is no consecrated edifice that is really so sacred as the body of a Christian. The temple at Jerusalem has for ages been laid in ruins; the only temples God now owns are the two which Paul so clearly defines in this epistle; first, the spiritual society of His own people in the aggregate (chap. 3:16), and, secondly, the fleshly frame of each individual believer. 4. Perhaps the most common plea with which the impure quiet conscience is that which the apostle here challenges, “Our bodies are our own; we may do with them what we will.” But they are not your own, says Paul; your bodies are the purchased property of the Lord, and are consecrated by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What an argument against self-indulgence in any form! These are, as we are told in this chapter, sins “against the body”; desecrations of God’s own temple! And if “any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” You recollect that, when Christ was about to visit the Jewish Temple of old, and found its hallowed precincts defiled, He made a scourge of cords, and drove out all the vile intruders. There are young men in some of our mercantile houses, respectable in appearance, and gentlemanly in bearing, who, through vicious indulgence, have already gathered a hell around them, from whose tortures they can find no escape. How did they begin? By being irregular in their habits, careless in making acquaintanceships, tampering with stimulants, and theatre-going, and gambling; and finally, every conceivable form of Satanic revelry! Ah! let me ask, “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.” 5. Oh, the heartlessness of vice! It is not so long ago since a young man of good family, excellent prospects, and pleasing address, died miserably like a dog in Paris, with not one to shed a tear over his cold clay; of all the depraved profligates that had sponged him and joined in his hilarious orgies. 6. There are plenty who will try to persuade you that it is a sign of weakness to be pure, and call you verdant, or puritanical, and ask if you are still tied to your mother’s apron-strings. And, unless you are prepared to stand that vulgar bluster, you are all but certain to be caught; and from the gates of hell shall ascend another shout of victory. I remember what a thrill went through me, as I first gazed upon the gloomy walls of the Prison de la Roquette, in Paris, which is set apart for criminals that are condemned to be executed, and read over those huge, hideous gates the inscription, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here!” Bat hardly less hopeless are those who once enter upon the path of the profligate. Facilis descensus Averni. Oh, keep a thousand miles from the verge of the pit! Avoid everything that is likely to act as an incentive to sin. 7. Perhaps you think of these bodies as mere temporary tabernacles, soon to be taken down and dissolved. There is a certain measure of truth in this, of course. But in a higher sense, the Christian’s body is not a tabernacle, but a temple, a permanent and enduring structure (Rom. 8:11). Oh, with what a magnitude of interest and importance does this thought invest these fleshly temples! Some time ago an aged saint was being borne to his burial. He had been very poor, and with indecent haste they were shuffling his coffin out of their way, as though glad to get rid of him, when an old minister who observed it, said, “Tread softly, for you are carrying a temple of the Holy Ghost.” (J. Thain Davidson, D.D.) Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.—
Ye are not your own:—1. To be “our own” is our very greatest ambition. To be our own masters, that is nature. To feel bought with a price, to forego all independence, to own ourselves God’s property, and to seek His glory—that is grace. 2. When Satan first attacked our first parents, nothing could have done so well as this, “Ye shall be as gods”; and, in that reach to be their own, they perished. 3. God has been pleased so to order it, that no man can truly say, “I am my own”; “Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are,” &c. Oh, we all know how we are trammelled by circumstances, there is not a single action in our life that is perfectly free. In what a higher sense this word is true of those to whom it was said, “Ye are not your own.” 4. Of all the happy conditions upon earth, the happiest is to give up the whole heart to an authority which the whole heart can quite love and respect—an authority also which only needs proprietorship to make the relationship exquisite and the engagement perfect. Note—
I. God’s property in you. 1. Had one whole world been given for your salvation the price would have been a large one; but the whole universe would not have given so great a sum as the death of Christ. One single life offered for you would have been vast, but Essential Life Himself was the ransom of your soul. Ought you to be a poor, wretched slave, to fear sin, death, and hell, when the Son of God took fear, sin, death, and hell into His own heart to make you free? 2. The art of man may contrive a thing, and he has a right to anything that he has made. But he contrives out of what he finds already made, not what he brings into creation. But God made your body, soul, and spirit. A father has a right to his child, but God has done more than made you His child, for He has given you the spirit of a child, to cry “Abba Father.” A husband has a property in his wife—but marriage is only a type of the union between Christ and His Church. Every man has a right to his own body—Christ has more than a right to His body, being the Head, and we all members in particular; so that each condition of life teaches us with one common voice, “Ye are not your own.”
II. The consequences arising from that fact. 1. The great privilege which attaches to being the property of God. Whatever property one has, it entails certain duties upon the proprietors, and certainly God will not fail in fulfilling the great relationship in which He stands to His creatures. Are you “not your own,” but God’s? Then observe “all things are yours,” &c. God holds Christ—Christ holds you—you hold everything. Then if “you are not your own,” nothing which you have is your own, not your cares, griefs, or sins. God has undertaken for you in everything. The member may pass everything up to its Head—the thing possessed may refer everything to its possessor. 2. The duties which spring out of this great privilege. (1) God has made you a part of His Church, the body of Christ. In that Church we all belong one to another. Each has his particular gift to contribute to the mutual good, one has love, another intelligence, another experience—all belong to the Church. (2) This claim of God’s proprietorship is not perfectly recognised. We may assign Him a part of our lives—a part of our money—a part of our time—a part of our energies—a part of our affections, but God will have no partnerships. He is too great to be a partner, He requires all of us. God is worthy of everything—yield all yourself to Him. (J. Vaughan, M.A.)
Man acting independent of God:—The principle which is recognised in these words is the very reverse of that by which all men are naturally actuated. We reason, we act, not as if our bodies and our spirits were God’s, but as if they were our own. This is the fault of human nature. Man is a fallen creature, in a state of apostasy. He has cast off his allegiance to God. God is not in all his thoughts; God’s authority is not acknowledged, His glory is not regarded, His law is not obeyed. And what is the cause of all this? Does he not know that he is God’s? Is he ignorant that all he is, and all he has, are from God? If the authority of God can only be established in the conscience, if His right to reign in the heart, and to demand all we are and have, be once acknowledged, what solicitude, what sorrow for sin, what opposition to self, what efforts, what prayers, what gratitude, what submission, will be the result! And who can escape the conviction that the whole heart, and mind, and soul and strength, should be given unto God?
I. What can more clearly show that we think ourselves our own, than presuming to devise our own religion? God has vouchsafed to us a communication of His purposes. He has favoured us with the inestimable blessing of revelation. Now what is the disposition with which we should receive it? We know that it is with meekness we should receive the engrafted word. But where is this meekness to be found? Truly not in natural men. It is not the religion which is most agreeable to the revelation of God, but most consonant with the opinions of the world, which they adopt. There is an amazing insolence and impiety, and casting off subjection in calling good evil and evil good, in adding to the Word of God or in taking from it, and thus in virtually finding fault with the instructions of Divine wisdom, which is in fact finding fault with God Himself, and expressing a wish that He were the reverse of what He is. It is saying, We are our own, and we will have a religion according to our own wisdom and our own wishes. It is a dangerous thing, however plausible, to contend for the right of private judgment, and to suppose that if we only follow the dictates of our own conscience, and adopt sentiments such as we think to be sound, we must be right. The rule of faith and the rule of practice remain uninfluenced by the changes of conscience, and immutably the same, whether conscience approves and disapproves, perfectly or imperfectly. And a man is equally responsible to God whether his conscience is enlightened or unenlightened, and every time he contends for the authority of conscience in opposition to that of God, he does in fact, like that man of sin, oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God, sitteth on the throne of God, showing himself that he is God. Error is far from being harmless. It has a most pernicious effect upon practice. And in proportion to the importance which is attached to sentiments is the evil which those that are erroneous produce.
II. We act as if we were our own by doing our own will. A respect unto all God’s commandments is the only thing which can prove our regard to His will. If we keep the whole law, with the exception of one point, we are guilty of all. Whether, therefore, we are moral, or immoral, and whether we observe religious duties, or neglect them, we are, in all this, consulting our own will, and acting upon the supposition that we are our own. Nor is the case at all altered by our good conduct proceeding from conscientious motives and the fear of God’s wrath. For a man’s conscience may be awakened, and his fears excited, so as to constrain him to do many things with the view of conciliating God’s favour, and saving his soul, while at the same time his partial obedience furnishes abundant evidence that his own will is still preferred to the will of God, and that, in the most plausible parts of his conduct, he is not actuated by any genuine principles of obedience.
III. We act as if we were our own by seeking our own ends. Whatever we do in an unregenerate state, whether it be in itself good or bad, we seek in it an end that is not worthy of God. We have said that the true end of man is to glorify God. But men seek, not the honour of God, but their own honour. They not only do their own will, but they do it for their own purposes. The original depravity of man is so entire that it is a difficult and long-protracted business to make him, with all his new and Divine nature, propose the glory of God as the end of all his ways. (M. Jackson.)
God’s right to our services on the ground of creation:—
I. Because we were made by Him. The more we know of the structure of the human frame, how fearfully and wonderfully we are made, the more are we persuaded that it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves. And if we consider that we are made of the dust of the earth, that if God bad not breathed into us the breath of life, we must have been nothing better than the dust under our feet; we shall see the propriety of glorifying God in our bodies which are His. And if we contemplate the rational understanding, the immortal spirit, by which we are distinguished from the beasts that perish, and assimilated to angels, and to God, we shall perceive that these are a still higher ground of claim upon us for services the most spiritual. When human creatures use their bodies and their spirits for the low purposes of sensuality, vanity, and ambition, or without any view to the service and honour of Him whose they both are, they are guilty of an injustice to God and a robbery of God, which, if conscience were not stupefied or perverted, would fill them with horror and overwhelm them with fear. Who call calculate the value of an immortal existence and of a capacity for happiness, exalted as its Divine original, and lasting as eternity? Who can calculate his obligations to God for such an existence? And who, then, can calculate the extent of his wickedness in habitually forgetting that he is not his own in using that existence without any avowed aim to the will and glory of its Author? I need not say that the bodies of them whose god is their belly, whose glory is in their shame, and who mind earthly things, are not used for the purpose of honouring God, for in all this God’s laws are violated and His glory given to another. All who live in pleasure are dead while they live and dishonour God in their bodies. And it is equally clear that they who live in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another, as well as they who argue against religion and would discourage piety, are not glorifying God in their spirits, but openly dishonouring Him. Have you considered, and do you act upon the principle, that as all your faculties of body and of mind are God’s, they ought to be employed for the promotion of His glory?
II. We were made for God. The great end of creation is the glory of God. And all things, but men and devils, do glorify Him. Angels in heaven glorify Him, and all things in heaven and earth, and in the waters under the earth, glorify Him, by manifesting His perfections. Fallen men and fallen angels only answer not the design of their creation. Now let this truth be remembered—that you were made for the purpose of glorifying God. And would you oppose and defeat the end of your existence? Shall there be no concurrence between the design of God in giving you life and your design in living? How great must be that guilt which is contracted by living in opposition to the great end of God in calling us into being! Few things excite more opposition in the human mind than the attempt to reinstate God upon His throne, to assert His right to reign in our hearts, the Sovereign of our thoughts and affections, and to maintain that it is our duty to resolve all we think, and speak, and do, into His will. This is being righteous overmuch; this is enthusiasm. Now, can anything show more clearly how completely we have departed from God, how totally opposed to Him we are in the spirit of our minds? Remember we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, and how shall we dare to appear as usurpers before our Sovereign and our Judge? If you exalt yourselves against God He will bring you down, and who shall deliver? (Ibid.)
Not your own:—1. The passion for freedom is probably the strongest. Nothing is more wonderful than the secret working of this passion in securing gradual emancipation. There have been times when ages of serfdom had apparently crushed it out; but at the first impulse from without it was seen that the fire of freedom did not smoulder; and when the impulse has grown strong the passion has sometimes maddened men, blinding them to all sense of justice. And so the spirit of freedom has in turn made slaves of them. It was so in Paris a hundred years ago. 2. A large proportion of the members of this church were slaves. You can imagine what a gospel the life of Christ would be to these. And, to the honour of those who organised the first churches, we must always remember that they were not afraid to welcome the slave. Well, then, you may say, “Was it not a cruel thing of the apostle to remind them that they were not their own?” Have you ever wondered why Paul should describe himself as “the bondslave of Christ”? Was it not because the people to whom he was writing were slaves, and as if he would say, “I too am a slave; I too am bound, not with iron, but by love”? What a grand revelation that was to the slaves! “Ye are Christ’s.” No chains or bondage could alter that. Better the fetter and the chain with Christ than the purple and the throne without Him. 3. And now these words have just as splendid a ring for us to-night. The law has discovered that they are true in part. The other day they brought before a court of justice a frightened, miserable woman, who had tried to drown herself. She pleaded that her life was not worth preserving. She said it was hers, and she could do with it as she liked. But the law stepped in and said, “You are not your own. Your life is not your own. You have no right to squander it.” This meant that the law is founded on the Christian principle that every man’s life belongs to his fellow-men as well as to himself. And that was what Christ came to teach. His life was given for everybody. 4. But the idea is not only what you may not do, but what you must do. If you are Christ’s, then every thought, word, action, must be what Christ would have them be. When Peter and John first began to preach in Jerusalem they were thrown into prison, and strictly commanded not to preach any more in that name. But Peter answered “We must.” It is not a question whether we should like an easy-going life. We must obey God, though it leads us to stripes, imprisonment, and the cross (see also Acts 21:11–14). 5. But perhaps you think that such claims are only strong when we reach manhood or womanhood. But think of Christ, at twelve years of age, saying, “I must be in My Father’s house.” Twelve years of age, but He felt the power of the Divine “must,” and yet that One was Lord of heaven and earth. Surely if any one could go through life with no constraint it was He; but He saw that to redeem mankind, even Omnipotence could not refuse to take the cross from childhood to the grave. “Even Christ pleased not Himself.” 6. And now what part has that Divine “must” begun to play in your life? Do you feel that it is stronger than the “must” of men? Young man in business, would you let the word of an earthly master outweigh the command of the heavenly Master? Do you think you can slight Christ on the week-day and make it up to Him on the Sunday? Young men, newly awakening to find how strong the streams of tendency are in this world, look at life in the light of Christ, and not in the light of what everybody says and does. It is no excuse for looseness of conduct that it is the fashion. Christ waged relentless war against many of the fashions of His day. Servants, remember whose you are and whom you serve. You can hire your souls out and no wages can recompense you for the loss of them. There may be some here who have received from the Master on trust certain talents which they have been hiding in the earth. If you are letting your lives rust, remember you are abusing another’s property, for “you are not your own,” &c. (C. S. Horne, M.A.)
Not our own:—1. The first motives which influence us in Christian experience are usually self-regarding; and it is natural and right that they should be so. Salvation stands at the beginning of the Christian course, in order that our self-regarding interests may be set at rest, and that we may thus be left free to pursue an end that lies outside them, and yet is in perfect harmony with them. 2. We are not only redeemed from death, but purchased unto God. So long as we claimed to be our own, Satan possessed a certain legal right over us. He moved man to break away from his original relations with God, and to claim himself for himself. In doing so man became a spiritual outlaw, and as such fell under the supremacy of the prince of lawlessness. The great enemy held him by right as well as by might, because it is God’s law that what we sow we reap. 3. But, on the other hand, since Satan owes his power against us to the operation of Divinely-ordained law, when once the necessities of law are satisfied, the claims of Satan against us are cancelled. Thus we are ransomed from Satan the moment that we are justified before God, and brought back to that position from which man fell of being God’s and not our own. Only Adam belonged to God because He had made him for Himself; we belong to God because He has bought us back. Thus a new element is introduced into the case, and one that appeals to all the strongest emotions of our nature. He who robs a Divine Creator of that which He has made for His own glory commits a crime, no doubt; but he who has been brought back from the fatal effects of this crime by the death of his Benefactor, and then declines to recognise his obligation, is guilty of an enormity which casts that other crime into the shade. 4. As the result of redemption we come under the influence of Him whose will is law throughout the universe, and whose entrance into our nature insures our true moral freedom. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes us free from the law of sin and death. But here is a new property claim, a claim de facto where the others were claims de jure. His presence is our liberty, for “where the Spirit of God is there is liberty”; but it is the liberty which comes by full surrender of ourselves to Him. He does not enter our nature either as a conqueror, trampling down all resistance, nor as a mere auxiliary to help us out of a difficulty; rather as a constitutional Sovereign to reign according to the true laws of our ransomed nature. 5. But it is not by any means the rule that we apprehend His claims all at once. When the benefit that we seek has been obtained, it is only natural that, having been greatly forgiven, we should greatly love. But, alas! these warm feelings do not always last, when they subside the devotion subsides with them. It often happens, therefore, that after a considerable time has passed from the moment of conversion, the Holy Spirit leads us back, as it were, to the cross to learn more fully the lesson which we only partially learned. We find perhaps that we have been acting as though God existed for us, instead of realising that we exist for God; and then comes the definite question leading up to an equally definite decision, Is it to be self or God? When the Spirit of God thus induces a crisis, it often happens that a very marked and definite act of consecration ensues, bringing about an entirely new epoch in our Christian life. (W. Hay Aitken, M.A.) Ye are bought with a price.—
God’s right to our services on the ground of redemption:—If on the ground of creation God has a right to our services and may demand that we glorify Him with our bodies, and with our spirits because He hath made them, it must be evident that His right to them on the ground of redemption is still stronger.
I. The guilt which soul and body had contracted. Jesus Christ hath not bought us with a price when innocent and deserving. His redemption supposes immeasurable guilt, the violation of a law which is holy and just and good, the rejection of Divine authority, the contempt of Divine majesty, the impeachment of Divine wisdom, the abuse of Divine godness, the defiance of Divine vengeance, the crime of injustice, and ingratitude, and rebellion, and sacrilege. Look at the defiled body and the polluted spirit, see in them everything that is earthly and sensual and devilish, and say if there is in them any quality to attract the Divine favour. Is there not everything fitted to excite the abhorrence of Him who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity? And yet He redeems you! He redeems you from the vileness of your bodies, and the apostasy of your spirits. What, then, is the perverseness, the accumulated ingratitude and sacrilege of using bodies and spirits so redeemed for the purpose of still dishonouring Him!
II. But connected with this guilt is danger. Every sinner is exposed to the curse of God, and, but for redemption, must perish eternally. It is redemption from ruin by which you are urged to glorify God, in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. Who does not feel the force of this argument? Who can feel that he owes his deliverance from ruin, his deliverance from even temporal distress, to the benevolent exertions of a friend, without feeling himself bound by ties of gratitude to serve him to the utmost of his power? And shall that be withheld from Christ and from God which is so freely yielded to man?
III. Christ redeems the body and soul, not only from ruin, but ruin immeasurable. Who can calculate the misery of them who are destroyed both body and soul in hell? Is a cold and reluctant service an appropriate return for deliverence from everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power?
IV. Christ has not only redeemed body and soul from everlasting destruction, but by His redemption has procured for them immeasurable felicity. Does the circumstance of our ears being familiar with the sound of fulness of joy in the presence of God, and of pleasures at His right hand for evermore, render the felicity of heaven less valuable? Substantiate all this felicity. View it as a reality, as a reality at hand, as that which yourselves must possess, or not possess, in the course of a few fleeting moments, and then say whether there is not a reasonableness, a suitableness in glorifying God in those spirits, and in those bodies, which are to be the subjects of this felicity through the efficacy of His redemption.
V. The greatness of the price with which you have been bought. You were not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. And can you, after this purchase, question His right to your bodies and your spirits? Can you think that you are justified in withholding your services from Jesus Christ, in living to yourselves, in not inquiring into His will, in not devoting yourselves to His glory? Why should the principles of justice be recognised in your transactions with men, and renounced in your dealings with God? But God demands your services, not merely because He has bought them with a price, but because in buying them He extends to you—
VI. The most immeasurable mercy. It is infinite mercy that redeems you from destruction the most awful, infinite mercy that exalts you to happiness the most inconceivable, infinite mercy that buys you with a price the most costly, by all this infinite mercy so manifested you are urged to glorify God. How fervent should be our love, how animated our exertions! Every thought and every affection should be God’s. Were we suitably affected by His love, we should see sin and ingratitude in every thought and word and work. The insensibility and worldliness of our minds and the inadequacy of our best returns would humble us in the dust. And our disproportionate humility itself, for making returns so imperfect, would be numbered among our grievous offences. The more of heart and soul we put into our services the more of freedom and delight shall we enjoy. We can imagine no happiness equal to that of living as not our own, living to God only, constrained by gratitude, and directed by justice to serve Him whose we are. (M. Jackson.)
Redemption and its claims:—(text and chap. 7:23):—
I. “Ye are bought with a price.” 1. Redemption is a greater mercy than creation. It is no mean blessing to have been made, and to have been made a man rather than a dog, to have been blest with intellect and an immortal spirit; but for all that it would be better for thee that thou hadst never been born, if thou art not redeemed. 2. Providence also calls before our minds a great mass of mercies; but providence is second in its blessedness to redemption. 3. Redemption is that which gives effect to all the other great blessings of God. (1) Election, the well-head of grace, needs the conduit-pipe of redemption to bring its streams down to sinners. We are chosen of God, but unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. (2) Redemption is the foundation of all real peace. (3) It is through redeeming grace that we expect to enter heaven.
II. Therefore redemption is the Lord’s paramount claim upon us. Other claims, such as those of creation and providence, are forcible, but this claim is overwhelming. The love of Christ constraineth us. Think—1. What you were redeemed from. (1) Sin. (2) Its punishment. 2. Reflect most lovingly upon that dear friend who redeemed you. Not an angel, but Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever. 3. Then think of the price He paid. The text does not tell us about it, and surely the reason is that words cannot express the mighty sum. The famous painter, when he drew the picture of Agamemnon at the sacrifice of his daughter, felt that he could not depict the sorrow of the father’s countenance, and therefore he wisely put a veil over it, and represented him as hiding his face from the fearful sight. So the apostle seems to have felt. This price has been fully paid. I have seen lands which have belonged to men who were reputed to be rich, but there was a heavy mortgage upon them. But there is no mortgage on the saints. “It is finished,” said the Saviour, and finished it was.
III. The extent of this claim. 1. The first text says—(1) That it includes—(a) The body. This body of yours is holy, and it will rise again from the dead. I charge you, by the blood of Christ, never defile this body either by drunkenness or by lust. (b) The spirit. Keep that pure too. Christ has not bought these eyes that they should read novels calculated to lead me into vanity and vice, such as are published nowadays. Christ has not bought this brain of mine that I may revel in the perusal of works of blasphemy and filthiness. He has not given me a mind that I may drag it through the mire. Your whole manhood belongs to God if you are a Christian. Every faculty, talent, possibility of your being—all were bought. (2) That consequently “Ye are not your own,” which implies—(a) That I may not claim the right to do what I please, but what Christ pleases. I am to please my Master in everything. (b) That I may not follow my own tastes if in any way I should so bring dishonour to the name of Christ. (c) That I must not trust my own reasonings. If I were my own teacher, then, of course, I should learn my lessons from my own book; but I have a Rabbi, even Jesus, and I am resolved with meekness to learn of Him. (d) That I must not seek my own ends. I must not live in this world that I may trade and get riches, but it must be that I may use them for Him. 2. In my second text the apostle draws another inference: “Be not ye the servants of men.” (1) Do not even follow good men slavishly. Do not say, “I am of Paul; I am of Apollos; I am of Calvin.” Who is Calvin and who is Wesley but ministers by whom ye believed as the Lord gave unto you? (2) Do not pin your faith to anybody’s sleeve. Keep close to Christ. (3) Do not give yourselves up to party spirit. (4) Do not give yourself to any scientific speculation, educational effort, or to any philanthropic enterprise so as to divert our minds from the grand old cause of Jesus and our God. (5) Do not follow the fashions of the world. (6) Let no man be your master. If ye have masters according to the flesh, serve them with all faithfulness; but as to any master over your spirit, allow no one to be so; consciences were made for God alone. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Redemption, and its claims:—There is within us a strange tendency to the acquisition of property, and therefore there is something startling in this announcement. We have been gloating upon our fancied proprietorship; it awakens us to the consciousness that we are only stewards. Nay, it lays hold upon ourselves, “Ye are not your own.” And this may perhaps account for the comparatively trifling success with which religion has been favoured. It allows no compromise, it claims supreme and undivided homage. Notice—
I. The great fact asserted, that we are purchased, and tee position into which we are brought because of that purchase. 1. While we would insist upon this as the prime cause of our being the property of God, we would not be supposed to invalidate others. “He has made us, and not we ourselves.” He has, from the beginning, even until now, preserved the creatures He has made. But in redemption He has so impressively displayed His interest in our welfare, His yearning over His purchased possession. The apostle’s language implies an acknowledgment of our fall, and refers to the provision of that covenant by which that fall was to be remedied. You will not fail to remark how Christ Himself spoke of those who believe on Him as peculiarly His own. “My sheep,” &c. His great purpose was that He “might purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” If that people are spoken of in their collective capacity, they are as the Church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood. As to these declarations, the statement of St. Peter comes as a hallowed appendix. “Ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things,” &c. Now, surely there can be no more strictly legal title to property than this. 2. Note an exquisite fitness in the connection between the purchase, and the position into which that purchase brings us. Such is the grasping tendency of the human heart, that it must have something to lay hold of outside itself, and it will never willingly denude itself of any object of solicitude and love. Hence, if you would dispossess the mind of one object, you must overbear it with the preference of another. If you extirpate one affection you must introduce another into its room. We see this strikingly illustrated in the progress of human life. The tastes and habits of childhood depart, but the heart is not bereft; new tastes acquire their influence, new affections exert their ascendancy. So it is in reference to matters of a higher moment. You will never drive from a worldling the pursuit which engrosses him by a mere naked demonstration of its worthlessness and folly. All that you say is true, and the man knows it; but the spell is over him. And is it not natural, when you think of the feelings of the man, and of what you are wishing him to do? You tell him to cultivate religion: it is his abhorrence. You tell him to renounce the world; why, it is all he has. Here, then, comes the question. We cannot prevail upon the heart by the simple act of resignation to give up everything unpleasing to God. May we not induce it to admit a higher affection? Here it is that the fitness of the connection becomes apparent. “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.” The heart, which all other means had failed to affect, is melted by the power of the Spirit, applying the gospel of God. We can deny the claim no longer; we acknowledge it at once as a natural and inalienable right, and we are bound to it with a tenderer tie, because He, to whom we are to swear our fealty, has been mysteriously one of ourselves. Our sense of possession is gratified. 3. Does not this point out the most effective method of preaching? It is not the demonstration of the moral law, but the preaching of Christ that prevails. This is the master spell; this, like the rod of the prophet, swallows up the enchantments of opposing sorcery. I announce it, then, as a natural and inalienable right. “Ye are not your own.” Everything around you urges to a recognition of the claim. Nature reminds you of it, as in the fulness of her gleeful melody she wakes her hymn of praise, acknowledging her dependence on Him by whom she is sustained. Providence reminds you of it. It sounds from the tomb, where the forms you loved are sleeping. Above all, grace reminds you of it. “I beseech you, by the mercies of God.” That is the culminating point even of an apostle’s motive.
II. The course of conduct which a consideration of such position is calculated to induce you to pursue. “Therefore glorify God,” &c. We need not remind you that by no service of yours can you increase God’s glory; but you may make it manifest. God is always glorified whenever He is seen. 1. Let your devotedness to God be entire. (1) Glorify God in your bodies, for they are His. Beware of regarding them as a number of organs and senses to be pampered, or as stately forms to be adorned and admired. The Spirit dwells not in an unhallowed temple. In your bodies, therefore, glorify God, by temperance, chastity, and the practice of every Christian virtue; by doing without weariness, and by suffering without murmuring; by letting your hands be active in the service, and your feet swift in the way of His commandments. (2) Glorify God in your intellects, for they are His. How often has science poured her treasures before him who knew not God, and how much of the choicest literary art is devoted to the service of the devil! In the midst of a perverse generation, bow yourself in unconditional allegiance to the Bible. Learn the true humility of knowledge. Stand out in all the nobleness of religious decision: spirits—students of the great Spirit; minds—drinking in the lessons of the immortal mind, which transforms them while they listen. (3) Glorify God in your whole nature, for it is His. Never mind the opposition with which you may have to contend, nor think that you live to struggle alone. Your Saviour has sent His Spirit to help you, and that Spirit now worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. 2. Let your devotedness be benevolent. Spend yourselves in energetic effort for the conversion of your fellows, and for the spread of the gospel among them. And never, certainly, were we called upon more impressively to let our devotion be benevolent than now—now, when the conflict between sense and faith, between the ceremonial and the spiritual, between the idolatries and the ever-living has commenced, and a thousand voices of the universe are pealing out the challenge, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” (W. M. Punshon, LL.D.)
Redemption and its obligations:—
I. The proposition: “Ye are not your own.” 1. Note here two things: (1) What this phrase implies—viz., That no being can be simply its own, but what is supreme, absolute, and independent; and that essence, which is its own, must be itself the end of all its actions. From these two principles it evidently follows that there is no being simply its own, but that which is the First Cause and the Last End of all beings—God. All others are—(a) Derivative beings, and flow from the Source of Being. (b) Dependent beings, and owe their continued preservation to the goodness of God. (c) Subordinate to the First; made for His ends and uses. (2) What it infers. If we are not our own, then—(a) We ought not to seek our own. But, when gain shall be preferred before godliness, what is this but a base self-seeking unworthy of a Christian—nay, of a man? (b) We are not at our own disposal. And this should teach us patience in all the crosses and sad occurrences of our lives. (c) We ought not to follow our own wills and affections. (d) We ought not to look upon anything as our own. (e) No sin should be our own. 2. Now, lest you should be put to seek for an owner, the apostle informs you who it is that lays in His claim to you, even the great and universal Lord of Heaven and Earth, whose all things are by a most absolute and indisputable right: Ye are God’s. (1) As He is your Almighty Creator and Preserver. (2) Your Governor. (3) By covenant engagement and solemn promise. (4) By profession, and our own voluntary and free acknowledgment. (5) By the right of redemption, as in the text. Now the love and mercy of God, in redeeming us, is far more eminent than in creating us. And therefore His right and title to us, upon this account, is far greater. For—(a) Creation only gives us a being, and in this our sinful condition only capacitates us for woe. But redemption opens a way to happiness. (b) Redemption has been more expensive to God than creation.
II. The reason: “For ye are bought with a price.” 1. What this price is (1 Pet. 1:18, 19). 2. To whom this price was paid; to our great creditor, God. 3. What we are redeemed from. (1) From the wrath of God. (2) From the vassalage of the devil. (a) His tempting power is restrained. (b) His accusing power is rebuked. (c) His tormenting power shall be wholly abolished. (3) From the reigning and condemning power of sin. (4) From the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13).
III. The inference: “Therefore glorify God,” &c. 1. What is it to glorify God? 2. How we ought to glorify God. (1) By a most devout adoration of His infinite perfections. (2) By declaration of those perfections. (3) By conforming ourselves to the likeness of them. (4) By performing those duties which they oblige us unto; by being holy as He is holy, &c. (1) Now the true notion of holiness is a separation from all sin and impurity. 3. What force and influence the consideration of our redemption ought to have upon us, to oblige us thus to glorify God. (1) We are bought with a price, and therefore it is but justice and equity to glorify God. Consider—(a) The price He paid infinitely exceeds the value of all that thou art and hast. (b) All the use which thy Saviour can make of thee is only that thou shouldst glorify Him; and, by obedience shouldst serve to the setting forth of His praise (Titus 2:14). (c) If thou livest not to thy Saviour, who by His death purchased thee, thou art guilty of sacrilege, the worst robbery and most branded injustice in the world. (d) If, instead of glorifying Him by thy obedience, thou dishonourest Him by thy rebellions and impieties, thou not only defraudest Him of His servant, but, what is infinitely worse, of the very price that He paid. (2) We are bound, not only in justice and equity, but in ingenuity and gratitude, to glorify God upon the account of our redemption. For consider—(a) What it is you are redeemed from. (b) With what price He hath bought us. For consider, first, if God had put the terms of thy redemption into thy own hands, couldst thou have offered less for the ransom of thy soul? Secondly, that Christ hath infinitely abased Himself to procure thy redemption; and therefore, at least, ingenuity and gratitude should engage thee to exalt and glorify Him. (3) In point of interest and advantage IV. Application. Consider—1. It is the great end of our beings to glorify God, and indeed the noblest end that we could be created for. And if thou dost otherwise—(1) Thou degradest thyself from the dignity of thine own being. (2) Thou degradest God too, and exaltest something above Him. 2. That God will certainly have His glory out of thee. If thou Wilt not glorify His holiness by thy obedience, thou shalt glorify His justice by thy perdition. 3. By glorifying God we do indeed but glorify ourselves. For He hath been pleased so graciously to intwist His glory and ours together, that, whilst we endeavour to promote the one, we do but indeed promote the other (1 Sam. 2:30). (E. Hopkins, D.D.)
Obedience the fruit of redemption:—Consider—
I. Your state. 1. “Ye are not your own!” You are not the masters of your own actions; the framers of your own condition; the proprietors of your own persons. No being can be his own, unless he be supreme, independent, self-existent. 2. Ye are “bought with a price.”
II. Your duty. This reminds us—1. Of our complex nature. 2. That the body is not to be excluded or undervalued in religion. It is the workmanship of God, and displays much of His perfection. He has redeemed it, and will glorify it. Religion is not only a real, but a visible thing. The form of godliness is nothing without the power; but when the form is produced by the power, it is comely and useful. 3. That in all the duties of religion we are indispensably bound to glorify God in our spirit, as well as in our body. 4. That we are to glorify God in our corporeal and spiritual powers respectively by exertions peculiar to each. (1) As to the body—we are to glorify God in guarding our health; in watching our senses; in regulating our appetites; in rendering our natural refreshments and our secular callings subservient to religion, “Whether, therefore, we eat or drink,” &c. (2) As to the spirit.
III. The connection between your state and your duty, or the derivation of the one from the other. “Therefore.” The inference is natural. 1. Does not Justice demand this dedication? 2. If we do not glorify God, are we not chargeable with the vilest ingratitude? 3. Is not this glorification of God the very end of your redemption? Were you rescued from bondage to be lawless? or to become your own masters? 4. How can you determine your actual interest in this redemption, unless you have dedicated yourselves unto God? He is the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him. (W. Jay.)
Redemption by price:—1. Attacks have often been made upon the doctrine of redemption, for it is well known to be the Redan of the gospel. These onslaughts have in many instances professed to be mere corrections of our phraseology. True, some may have carried ideas of the shop and the counter into their notion of redemption, but even these were nearer the truth than those who reduce the ransom paid by Christ to nothing. Paul, at any rate, was not afraid of the mercantile theory, for he writes, “Ye are bought with a price.” And did not Christ say that He came “to give His life a ransom for many”? Though we were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, the transaction was none the less real and effective. 2. It is a high honour to our fallen race that man is the only redeemed creature in the universe. Rebellious angels are left to their doom. Hence man cost God more than the whole universe beside. The Lord could speak worlds into existence; but to erect the new creation of redeemed men He must endure the loss of His own Son. 3. This work of redemption is many-sided. We have been redeemed—(1) In reference to Divine justice. We are justified, or reckoned as just, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. (2) From the power of evil (Titus 2:14). (3) From ourselves—as the text suggests. We have here—
I. Compensation, and yet gain. 1. Compensation. You have surrendered as believers your right and property in yourselves, for—(1) You live, whereas you were dead. (2) You have peace. Your sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. (3) You have joy. (4) You have a grand reversion—a hope of glory with Christ for ever. You have received for your little the fulness which is in Christ, who is all in all. 2. Actual gain. Our loss itself is an advantage. We are set free from self, that worse than Egyptian bondage, whose wage is death. We are set free from Satan, and is not that a gain? Once the world was our lord, but what gain it is to feel that we are no longer the servants of men!
II. High value and yet lowliness. 1. Value is clearly here, for God thinks not lightly of man, but esteems him sufficiently to buy him with the richest price conceivable. You are not a thing to be trifled with. “Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.” Never, therefore, give up your body to idleness or uncleanness. Use yourselves only for honourable purposes, for God puts honour upon you. 2. You are precious, but you must yet be lowly, for whatever value there is about you, you do not belong to yourself. You are the goods and chattels of Christ: as you were once sold under sin, so are you now “bought with a price.” Our honour lies in our owner. God forbid that we should glory in anything except that we belong to Christ.
III. Security and yet watch fulness. 1. Security. He who owns you is able to keep you. If you were to perish, who would be the loser? Why, He to whom you belong. 2. Reason for watchfulness. Take great care of yourselves, for you are a king’s treasure. If a thing is my own I may do what I like with it, but if it is entrusted to my care I must mind how I behave towards it, or else I shall be an unfaithful steward.
IV. Consecration and yet perfect liberty. 1. Consecration. You are to dedicate yourself wholly to the Lord, because you are not partly, but wholly redeemed. Do you keep back any faculty you possess from Christ? Is not this robbery? How would you like to think of that particular reservation as being unredeemed? Which portion is it which is to be unconsecrated? The body? What, have you an unredeemed body? never to rise from the dust? or do you give to Christ your heart, but reserve your mind? Have you, then, an unredeemed intellect? Withhold not your voice, but sing for Jesus, or speak for Him, if you can, &c. 2. But there is with this a perfect liberty. To be consecrated to Christ is the sure way to give to all our faculties the fullest play. If we are encased within the compass of the law we are no more restricted than a bird which is imprisoned in the air, or a fish in the ocean. Obedience to Christ is our element.
V. Submission and expectancy. 1. Submission. “Ye are not your own,” and therefore God has a right to do whatever He wills with you. 2. Side by side with that comes expectancy. I could not do much for myself if I were my own, but if I am Christ’s I expect that He will do great things for me. (C. H. Spurgeon.) Bought with a price—In one of the American slave markets an aged negro stood for sale. A gentleman asked him, “My man, to whom do you belong?” The slave glanced for a moment at his questioner, and then, straightening himself as best he could, said, “My flesh and bones and blood belong to old Massa Carl; but my spirit am a free-born child of God, bought by the precious blood of Jesus.” This was an answer which thousands who sing “Britons never shall be slaves” could not give. Consider the word—
I. Bought. Learn that if God bought man—1. He values man. God has bought nothing else. All else belongs to Him, but only because He has made them. 2. He wants man. We seldom buy what we don’t want. God wants the worst of us to make us better.
II. Price. There are many things we cannot value in money. An epidemic was raging in a French town. The medical men resolved that a post-mortem examination should be made of the body of one of the victims. Who would volunteer and thus sacrifice his life? One came forward; he put all his affairs straight, performed the operation, wrote his report, put it into prepared spirit, and died. Who can describe the price he paid for the welfare of others? Again, a man was dying of poverty of blood, and could only be saved by the infusion of healthy blood into his veins. A medical student bared his arm and said, “Here it is; take what you want.” They took a large quantity of his blood, and soon the sick man revived. By what system of accounts can you describe a price like that? Think, then, of the price of our redemption—“The precious blood of Christ.”
III. Glorify. In olden times men believed that they honoured God by punishing the flesh; but are we quite free from this error? Have we not cared more for souls than for bodies? Could we remember that the body should be used only for such purposes as God intends it would save a world of sorrow. Thousands are working their own bodies as they would never work their horses. Remember that they are God’s, and to be cared for as instruments for His service. (C. Leach.)
Bought with a price:—1. With what ardour does the apostle pursue sin to destroy it! He is not so prudish as to let sin alone, but cries out, in plainest language, “Flee fornication!” The shame is not in the rebuke, but in the sin which calls for it. He chases this foul wickedness with arguments (ver. 18). 2. He drags it into the light of the Spirit of God (ver. 19). 3. He slays it at the Cross. “Ye are bought with a price.” Let us consider this last argument, that we may find therein death for our sins.
I. A blessed fact. “Ye are bought with a price.” 1. “Ye are bought.” This is that idea of redemption which modern heretics dare to style mercantile. Redemption is a greater source of obligation than creation or preservation. Hence it is a well-spring of holiness. 2. “With a price.” This indicates the greatness of the cost. The Father gave the Son. The Son gave Himself; His happiness, glory, body, soul. Measure the price by the bloody sweat, the Cross, the heart-break. 3. Our body and spirit are both bought with the body and spirit of Jesus. (1) This is either a fact or not. “Ye are bought,” or ye are unredeemed. Terrible alternative. (2) If a fact, it is the fact of your life. A wonder of wonders. (3) It will remain to you eternally the grandest of all facts. (4) It should therefore operate powerfully upon us both now and ever.
II. A plain consequence. “Ye are not your own.” 1. Negative. It is clear that if bought, ye are not your own. This involves—(1) Privilege. You are not your own—(a) Provider: sheep are fed by their shepherd. (b) Guide: ships are steered by their pilot. (c) Father: children loved by parents. (2) Responsibility. We are not our own—(a) To injure. (b) To waste, in idleness, amusement, or speculation. (c) To exercise caprice, and follow our own prejudices, depraved affections, wayward wills, or irregular appetites. (2) To lend our service to another master. (e) To serve self. Self is a dethroned tyrant. Jesus is a blessed husband, and we are His. 2. Positive. Your body and your spirit … are God’s. (1) We are altogether God’s. Body and spirit include the whole man. (2) We are always God’s. The price once paid, we are for ever His. (3) We rejoice that we know we are God’s, for thus—(a) We have a beloved owner. (b) We pursue an honoured service. (c) We fill a blessed position. We are in Christ’s keeping.
III. A practical conclusion. Glorify God. 1. In your body. (1) By cleanliness, chastity, temperance, industry, cheerfulness, self-denial, patience, &c. (2) In a suffering body by patience unto death. (3) In a working body by holy diligence. (4) In a worshipping body by bowing in prayer. (5) In a well-governed body by self-denial. (6) In an obedient body by doing the Lord’s will with delight. 2. In your spirit. By holiness, faith, zeal, love, heavenliness, cheerfulness, fervour, humility, expectancy, &c. Conclusion: 1. Remember, O redeemed one, that—(1) You will be closely watched by Christ’s enemies. (2) You will be expected to be more gracious than others; and rightly so, since you claim to be Christ’s own. (3) If you are not holy, the sacred name of your Redeemer, your Proprietor, and your Indweller will be compromised. (4) But if you lead a redeemed life, your God will be honoured. 2. Let the world see what redemption can do. 3. Let the world see what sort of men “God’s own” are. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
God to be glorified by those bought with a price:—The religion of the Bible relates to the two great branches of human duty, the things to be believed, and the things to be done. The doctrines and precepts of the gospel, though they may be distinguished, must not be separated. The objects of our faith furnish motives for duty; and duty cannot be rightly performed unless under the influence of the belief of these doctrines. Consider here—
I. The duty stated. To glorify God. 1. The duty is “to glorify God with our bodies and spirits.” Let us begin with the latter. How may we glorify God with our spirits, that is, with our rational souls? This we do—(1) By using our reason in contemplating the character of God as made known in His works and Word. (2) By believing and relying on all He has said. (3) By the constant and lively exercise of pure love. (4) By forming such purposes as are in accordance with the Divine will. (5) By patient submission to afflictive providences. (6) By constantly and deliberately promoting His glory. 2. Our bodies—(1) When we preserve them from impurity and intemperance. This was the very idea which the apostle had in his mind (ver. 19). (2) When we employ them in His service. (a) All the institutions demand the employment of our bodies. We must bow down before Him, and by external actions manifest our reverence, and praise Him with our lips. (b) God is glorified by every species of good works which require the instrumentality of the body. Our hands may be made to glorify God when they are opened in acts of liberality and beneficence.
II. The motive offered. 1. The redemption of captives was an idea very familiar to the Greeks. As by the customs of war every prisoner was made a slave, it often happened that persons of wealthy families would be thus separated from their relatives; and it frequently happened that these relatives would send the ransom of their friend by a suitable person, who would redeem him and bring him home. What would be the feelings of a number of captives when it should be announced that a Redeemer had arrived? But when the fortunate captive heard his own name called, who can describe his exultation? 2. The deliverance of sinners by Christ bears a striking analogy to this. Men are taken captive by the devil. They cannot liberate themselves, nor can this redemption be effected by any one but the Son of God. But, though the analogy is striking, yet there are circumstances which distinguish it from that which obtains among men. (1) When one went to redeem his friend, though he might have far to go, still he had not to go out of the world; it was necessary for Christ to descend from heaven to earth—from the throne to a manger. (2) When an earthly redeemer set off in search of an enslaved son, or brother, he had to take with him a ransom of silver and gold. But when the Son of God came into the world to redeem lost sinners He must lay down a ransom of blood. (3) By the nature of the sinner’s bondage. He was first under a sentence of condemnation. Next, he was held in cords of iniquity, which no created arm could loose. And lastly, he was lying under the cruel tyranny of Satan, the worst of masters. From all these our Redeemer came “to save His people.” He removed the curse of the law by bearing it in His own body on the tree. He saves His people also from their sins by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and He dispossesses Satan by His superior power. 3. Now those who have been thus redeemed owe a debt of gratitude which, without exaggeration, may be said to be infinite. No wonder Paul judged it unnecessary to urge other motives. Conclusion: 1. Let us reflect penitently on our culpable neglect of this great duty of glorifying God. 2. Let us endeavour to obtain a lively feeling of our obligations to the Redeemer. 3. Let us esteem it a great privilege to be the redeemed servants of the Lord. 4. Let us remember that the time which remains to us is short. (A. Alexander, D.D.)
Our duty to God urged from His right in us:—
I. An important matter of fact to be believed and laid to heart. 1. “Ye are not your own,” &c. As to the reason of this, we may observe—(1) We did not create ourselves. (2) We do not preserve or uphold ourselves in life or being (Acts 17:28; James 1:17). On these accounts, then, we are not our own, but the property of God. 2. “Ye are bought with a price.” But if we were originally God’s property, what need was there to buy us? (1) We had become ruined debtors, enslaved captives, and guilty criminals. We had sold ourselves into slavery; we had committed sins, and thereby exposed ourselves to condemnation and wrath. (2) The purchasers were, the Father, who gave His Son (John 3:16; Rom. 8:32), the Son, who gave Himself. (2) In reference to the price paid, we may observe, He gave His riches (1 Cor. 8:6), His honour, His liberty, His life (Phil. 2:6–8). In a word, He “purchased the Church with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). All mankind are here concerned, all being redeemed (1 Tim. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15; Heb. 2:9), and hence are not their own, much less the world’s; least of all, the devil’s. The people of God are here especially meant, who, in a peculiar sense, are not their own, but the temples of God (vers. 13–20; chap. 3:17–23).
II. An exhortation to duty grounded thereon. The end God had in view in purchasing us was that we might glorify Him (1 Pet. 2:9). We must glorify God—1. “In our body,” by temperance, purity, self-denial (ver. 13), and bringing it into His house, and consecrating it to Him as His temple to be kept holy. 2. “In our spirit.” (1) By humility: considering that we have nothing which we have not received, and which has not been forfeited by sin. (2) By gratitude; He has given us all back again with great advantage. (3) By love. (4) By resignation; if we be His, may He not do what He will with His own? (5) By obedience; implying subjection to His will, and devotedness to His glory. Conclusion: Note—1. The real nature and great evil of sin. It is not only disobedience and ingratitude, but robbery of the worst kind. 2. The amazing worth of the soul of man, which, after it was enslaved, was ransomed at so great a price. 3. The great and inexcusable guilt of those who, after all this, still will perish. 4. The great encouragement we have to give ourselves to God, and employ ourselves for Him. If He bought us, He must be willing to accept, preserve, and bless us. (J. Benson.)
Full surrender to God:—A friend of mine was having an earnest conversation upon the necessity of full consecration with a lady who professed to know Christ as her Saviour, but shrunk from yielding herself fully to Him. At last she said, with more outspoken honesty I am afraid titan many who mean exactly the same thing display, “I don’t want to give myself right over to Christ; for if I were to do so, who knows what He might do with me; for aught I know, He might send me out to China.” Years had passed away when my friend received a most deeply interesting letter from this very lady, telling of how her long conflict with God had come to an end, and what happiness and peace she now felt in the complete surrender of herself to her Lord; and referring to her former conversation she said, “And now I am my own no longer, I have made myself over to God without reserve, and He is sending me to China.” Do you think that this lady is less happy obeying the Divine call, and working the Divine will out yonder in China, than she was when she shrunk from that will, and preferred to live a life of worldly ease and self-indulgence at home? (W. Hay Aitken.)
All our faculties should glorify God:—Christians are like fire-engines at night. They carry a powerful lamp in front, which casts a light far ahead, but in no other direction, leaving the everlasting snake-train which they drag behind them enveloped in darkness. This light corresponds to the Christian’s hope, which casts its rays heavenward, but leaves the long train of bodily appetites and necessities which go with him through life unilluminated. Men regard their worldly business and their family duties as distinct from their religion. They carry the light of hope on their brow, and that is what they call their religion; whereas, I understand religion to be this: the right carriage of body and soul, all together. I understand that no man is living a Christian life who is not a Christian in the world, in the family, in the Church, in his mind, in his soul, in the emotions and appetites of his nature, in his hand, in his foot, in his head—who is not a Christian everywhere, and in everything in him. To take every faculty or power God has given you, and bring it under Divine influences, and make it act right—that is being a Christian; and all partialisms, by just so much as they are partialisms, are, therefore, misunderstandings or misappropriations of Christian truth. (H. W. Beecher.) Therefore glorify God in your body.—
Glorify God:—The phrase does not mean merely not to dishonour Him: it means to display positively in the use of our body the glory and especially the holiness of the heavenly Master who has taken possession of our person. Man has lost, in whole or in part, since his fall, the feeling which was, so to speak, the guardian of his body, that of natural modesty. Faith restores to it a more elevated guardian—self-respect as being brought by Christ the organ of the Spirit and temple of God. This is modesty henceforth raised to the height of holiness. (Prof. Godet.)
How God is glorified in the body:—Real Christians are prepared to glorify God, for they are new creatures and temples of the Holy Ghost. And it is under the influence of that Holy Spirit working in them both to will and to do that they are to glorify God their Saviour.
I. By subjecting the body to His law. It is essential both to genuine piety and the Divine glory, that what we do should be not only what is required by the commandments of God, but also that it be done from a regard to His authority. A consideration which robs thousands of all their pretensions to excellence! Men are easily satisfied with themselves. They look no further than their conduct. If that is good, they concern not themselves about the Divine will and glory. And as the design of glorifying God, and a regard to His will and authority in prosecuting or fulfilling that design, are necessary if we would glorify Him indeed, so further in our regard to His will we must beware lest we mistake that will. The things by which God is glorified are the things which He requires. When, however, we combine the things which have been mentioned, when we aim at His glory, when we regard His will, and when we indeed do it, and all this from the conviction that we are not our own but His, then, in the most ordinary acts, we glorify Him indeed, we do that by which He esteems Himself glorified, we please Him. Let these things be combined then, and under their joint influence present your bodies a living sacrifice to God, and this will be a holy, acceptable, and reasonable service. And remember that the more promptitude and pleasure and zeal you show in yielding your bodies unto God the more you shall honour Him. Let not your backwardness in presenting your bodies unto God betray any want of love and gratitude and honour. The more abundantly these bodies labour the greater readiness you manifest to spend and be spent, to magnify Christ in your bodies, whether by life or by death, the greater pleasure you take in your infirmities for Christ’s sake, the more do you show your love to the Redeemer, and the more do you glorify Him in your bodies.
II. By yielding it to His correction. Christians should endeavour to glorify God as well by suffering affliction as by obedience. And they should aim at glorifying Him, not only by patience, by fortitude, by resignation, by acquiescence, and by thankfulness; but as all affliction is sent for the purposes of improvement, by humbling themselves before Him, by inquiring wherefore the Lord contendeth with them, by putting away their iniquities, and by giving their hearts and devoting their lives unreservedly to His will. But the sufferings by which Christ is most glorified in the body are those which we have to endure for His name’s sake. When we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and glory in tribulation, and esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world, when all afflictions, and persecutions for Christ’s sake, instead of depressing our spirits give wings to our souls by which we mount up higher and higher in heavenliness of mind and of character, then, truly, we glorify God in our bodies, and may adopt the words of the apostle, “As unknown and yet well known, as dying, and behold we live,” &c. The last act by which Christ is glorified in the body is the act of dying. And oh! who can behold a believer walking through the valley of the shadow of death without seeing that God is glorified? (M. Jackson.)
Glorify God in your body:—Easter is a season which emphatically belongs to the body.
I. We do well, therefore, to give some thoughts to the body—for, do we not treat religion as consisting almost entirely of thoughts and feelings? and so we exalt the soul to the disparagement of the body. And yet I know nothing which you can say of the soul which you cannot also predicate of the body. Was the soul formed in the image of God? So was the body. No distinction is made in the narrative. Is the soul redeemed? So is the body. Did Jesus address Himself to the soul? Did He not equally to the body? How careful He was after His resurrection to identify His body. He ascended and will come again in His body. And at the last day the body is the leading feature of Paul’s picture. Such honour does God give everywhere to the body.
II. How can we “glorify God in our bodies”? 1. Generally. We should treat our body as something given us to enjoy and use for God. A part of our likeness to Christ; a part of our present being given us here to train for the services which it is to render in heaven. Such being, then, the body, we should pray about our bodies as much as about our souls. We should consecrate it in the morning to God, and deal with it all day long as a very sacred thing. You remember what St. Paul said about his body—“I keep under my body,” &c. 2. In detail. (1) In the Old Testament very great stress indeed was laid on the keeping of the body very clean; and even in the New Testament we have it united almost as one with faith and conscience and truth (Heb. 10:22). And more than many people think a clean body is a help to purity of heart. We are bound to take care of the health of the body, for it is God’s body; and we all know how greatly even a little disease of the body can disturb even our peace and joy, and faith, as illness stops work, and gives sorrow and expense to others. Therefore we should try to “glorify God” by the health of our body. (2) There is not a part of our frame which may not be the embodiment of spititual things or the means for religious service. When I comb my hair the very hairs remind me that they are all numbered. And the eyes, are they not inlets wherewith I may first take into my very heart all the beautiful works of God in nature, and providence, and grace? And then by bright and loving looks spread peace and happiness. How much of Satan, how much of Christ there may be in the look of the eye. And the mouth! What action the mouth has for sin and self-indulgence, or self-denial and careful moderation for Christ’s sake. And more than you are aware the mouth is the index of temper or of sweetness. Take care of your mouth. “Glorify God” with it. And the tongue! What a curse or a blessing it may be! And your ear! Learn when to shut it and when to open it. And your nerves. They are very good servants, but very bad masters. Take care of them. Pray constantly for more calmness. And all the senses—consecrate them. They are the Lord’s. And all your members! Those hands, let them be busy, useful hands. And those knees. Let them fulfil the great design for which God gave you knees. And “the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” And your whole body! Keep every part of it for God. (J. Vaughan, M.A.)
Glorifying God:—The motive to the duty set before us in this passage is the most solemn in the whole sum of human thought. “Ye are bought with a price,” says the apostle; “therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” But how are we to fulfil this duty? 1. To glorify God is to think of God. It is evident that all human actions commence in the mind of men. The mind, under some impulse or motive, moves and then the man moves. For every act is, at first, a thought. From thence come the various actions of men pertaining to their fellows, and the other actions also which refer to God. We often say that some men do not think, but it is evident that if they did not think they would not act. But everybody does think. Men think about life and society, about dress and manners, about literature and science, about history and politics. But the great fault of man is that the range of his thought is temporal and carnal. He has but the fewest flights toward the heavens. And this is a great sin. Nothing can be more evident than the guilt of shutting out from the mind the grandest Being and the noblest idea which can reach the intellect—thought of the Infinite and Eternal One. Its sinfulness shows itself by a lower but similar transgression. What would you think of a child who lived day by day under the blessedness and the loving care of a devoted parent, and yet from design and purpose passed by that parent, day by day, year by year, and determinedly shut him out from all thought and consideration? First observe that a large portion of our fellow-creatures drop God from their thought, passively, through neglect, without intention, with no set and formal purpose to dishonour Him, but carelessly and indifferently. But another class of men set God aside purposely and deliberately. They will not have the idea of God present in their minds. They will not let the things of God circle their brains, stimulate their lives, or influence their conduct. But to think carelessly of God is neglect; to think reluctantly of Him is vicious; to think angrily and repulsively of Him is monstrous, and amounts to abomination and ruin. To glorify God, then, implies as the very first thing that we think of Him. We are to begin by opening the mind, and craving the entrance therein of the thoughts of the Eternal. To think of God aright is to take Him, formally and solemnly, and put Him before the mind, and then to contemplate Him before and behind, in the depths and in the heights, in His attributes, in His decrees, in His covenants, in the great salvation of His Son, with reverence, with awe, with humility. This it is to think of God. This is the root idea of glorifying God. But this is not enough—it is only the beginning. 2. To glorify God is to take the convictions which come from right thinking and to turn them into aspirations. This is the next step toward honouring the Maker. We must not suffer thought to become bedridden in the soul. Few things are more injurious to the mind than that passive contemplation which fails to run out into active desires or stimulated hope. It will do no good for us to think about God if such thought is not used as a means to an end, but it will do us harm. It will make us insensible. It will make us irreverent. The insensibility will be the direct result of handling an awful and majestic idea without a spiritual purpose. The irreverence will come from taking liberties with the Divine name, perchance, for mere speculation. Thought concerning God, then, is legitimate when it tends to the elevation of the soul to a higher plane of being. To think, merely to think, would be somewhat as for a river to flow from its source, and then to flow back again to its original spring. It may be assumed as a principle of our being that all our acts, internal or external, are only then healthy and genuine when they reach forward to something beyond and nobler than themselves. We see this in nature. The illumination of the sun is not self-exhausted. It comes down to earth with vivifying fructification, diffusing life, and health, and joyous animation in all things and in all creatures. And that is its beneficence and its glory. The analogy is most exact with regard to the soul. Thinking about God is not the end of God thinking. Thinking of God is the most glorious of all means to a nobler end, that is, the glory of God. When it is mere thinking—albeit God is the object of thought—it is, nevertheless, mere speculation on God. And mere speculation, as such, concerning God has no more value than speculation concerning a mountain or a mine. Never, perhaps, in the history of God’s Church was there a man who thought so much, so deeply, so continually of God as David did. It was the occupation of his life. What was the result of this habit? What fruit sprung from this constant meditation concerning God? One single paragraph from the writings of David will show you. “Like as the hart desireth the water brooks, so longeth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God.” And here I return directly to the point from which I have slightly departed. Take the convictions which come from right thinking, and turn them, as David did, into heavenly aspirations. Meditate constantly on the character of God. Bring His loving and majestic attributes vividly before you. You see, for instance, that God is good. Take, then, the fact, that is the goodness of God, out of the domain of thought, and make it an aspiration of your soul. Strive after goodness—God’s goodness, as a personal possession, and run along the lines of excellence and moral beauty for the fashioning of your inner and your outer life. Take the purity of God as an object of admiration. Bring it down from the sphere of speculation, and then send it up to the throne of God—a living flame of desire for your own personal purity in body, mind, and spirit. Think of the righteousness of God! Hear it in the stern accents of Mount Sinai, in the thunders of the Law! Hear it in the expiatory plaints of sacrificed animals; see it in their flowing blood! Take the love of God. You can if you choose look at it as a distant object of thought and contemplation. But I exhort you to covet the spirit of love as your own personal possession. Indeed there is not a phase of the Divine existence, not an attribute of God, not a decree, not a commandment, however abstract it may be, but that, with the aid of the Spirit, may be fused with heat and fire from above, and become changed in our pure souls into burning desires and heavenly aspirations. 3. To glorify God is to realise the aspirations of the soul into the activities of life. This is practical religion; it answers the requirements of our blessed Lord that we do His commandments. And there can be no true religion without this habit of outward obedience. Mere conviction of the brain, or mere spiritual aspiration, separate from conduct, are each, or both together, insufficient. We must do God’s holy will. Just this test is laid down by our blessed Saviour—“If ye love Me keep My commandments.” To talk of how we feel, or what we think concerning Christ, is an idle tale. No, what our Lord desires is something which has passed out and beyond mere human conceit into actual living reality. Did you ever think of that word reality? of its full meaning, of its mighty import, of its wide scope and bearing? Reality! that is religion made personal in the Christian life, act, word, conduct, and bearing of living disciples. I beg to commend the apostle’s injunction to your earnest consideration. The master end of existence, whether in angel or in man, is the glory of God. Anything below this end is a ruinous and insulting prostitution of powers. (A. Crummell.) Glorifying God with the body (children’s sermon):—“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever.” Look at my watch. It may be used for many ends—as a mere ornament, &c.; but its “chief end” is to tell what o’clock it is. What have you got your body for? God says, “Use it for Me.” If you were to get a pound from your father or master, you would naturally ask, “What am I to do with it?” and you would know what was meant if he said, “Use it for me in such a way as to please me.”
I. Why am I to glorify God in my body? 1. Because He made it, and made it for Himself. When you have made a thing for yourself, you feel that you have the best right to it. If it were taken away from you, or turned against you, would you not think it very hard? During the French Revolution the guillotine was invented, and the first man who suffered by it was the man who invented it. Perhaps some one will say, “It was just what he deserved.” But suppose it had been some contrivance for saving life. If that were turned against the man who designed it, or discovered it, would not every right-minded person cry “shame”? And who made that body of yours? The cleverest man in the world could not make it. None could make it but God. God made that hand of yours for His own use. Is it not a sin and a shame to turn it against Him? Take any book you are reading, and you will see on it the names of five people who were concerned in the making of it. On the title-page is the name of the man who wrote it; at the foot of the page, the name of the man who published it; on the other side of the page, or at the end of the book, the name of the man who printed it; on a little label inside the board at the end, the name of the man who bound it; and on another, inside the board at the beginning, the man of the man who sold it. All these get credit for what they have done. Every sheet of paper I write on has the “water-mark,” as it is called, with the name of the man who made it. The very buttons on my clothes bear the name of their maker. And we all feel it quite right that it should be so. But it does not always need the name. Some people can take up a piece of cloth, and say, “this is so and so’s make,” or a picture, and say, “that is such and such a painter’s piece,” or a book, and say, “this is written by such a man, I know by its style.” And do we need any kind of mark or stamp on our body to tell us who made it? No. See that wonderful tubular bridge which stretches from Wales to Anglesea, and you will hear of its maker—Stephenson, the great engineer: it glorifies him. See St. Paul’s Cathedral, and people will tell you of its great architect, Sir Christopher Wren: it glorifies him. Go to the National Gallery, and the artist’s work, in each case, may be said to “glorify” him. And shall I not seek to glorify God with my body? (Exod. 4:11; Psa. 94:9; Prov. 20:12). 2. Because He sustains it. Suppose your father were to take some poor sick beggar-boy off the street into his house—to nurse him, and to feed him, and to do everything to make him well and strong. What would you think if that boy were to forget your father? Take a stranger dog into your house, and feed it, and be kind to it, and before a fortnight is over, it will follow you everywhere. What would you think if your dog left you every morning whenever he got his breakfast, and ran after every strange boy on the street, and would not follow you, and only come in to his meals? Now God does all for your body that you do for your dog. And again I ask, may it not well be used for Him in such a way as He wishes? 3. Because He has redeemed it. Our body, like everything else about us, was forfeited; just like a thing that has been put in pawn. Is is no longer ours. It has meanwhile become the property of another. And it must be redeemed. And Jesus bought back our body, paid the price of His own blood for it, and so made it His own. Let me again ask how you judge of things that you have bought, your knife, &c., which you have saved your pocket-money to buy. You say of any of these, as you said of the money that bought it, “it is my very own. I may lend these things or give the use of them to others, but none has a right to them like me.” In the days of slavery, when one had bought a slave, he regarded that man’s body, and all that the body could do, as his. You remember the story of the ransomed slave whom a British merchant purchased at a great price and then set free—how the liberated slave clung to his purchaser, and followed him wherever he went, and served him as no other did or could, telling, whenever he was asked the reason, “He redeemed me! He redeemed me!” Gratitude and love bound him, and made him, what I might call, in opposition to a bondman—a free slave. Now that is what Jesus has done; He has bought us, not with His money, but with His life. He has bought us and set us free. And we are His free slaves.
II. How am I to glorify God in my body? I claim—1. Your hands for God. You have no right to use them in the service of Satan, the world, or sin. Idle hands do not glorify God, nor mischievous hands, nor dirty hands, nor dishonest hands, nor unkind hands, nor careless hands. 2. Your feet. They should go only on His errands. When I see the little feet kicking or stamping in passion, or venturing into forbidden and dangerous paths, or loitering when they should make haste, I cannot help thinking: “These feet are not for God.” “How beautiful are the feet, when they are for God!” 3. Your lips. What shall I say of profane words, untruthful words, coarse and vulgar words, angry and irritating words, unholy and impure words, light and jesting words, slandering and gossiping words? When we are going to speak of any one, it has been said there are three questions which it is well to ask—“Is it true? Is it useful? Is it kind?” 4. And so with the whole body. The ears should be for God, listening to nothing of which He would disapprove; and the eyes, turning away from all that He would not look upon. All should be for God. “Whether ye eat or drink,” &c. And how is all this to be? The root of all lies in having the heart for God. (J. H. Wilson.)
Our bodies should glorify God:—The employment of the parable may be traced, says Dr. Wright, to Hillel, the great rabbi, who died a few years before the Christian era. In the Midrash on Lev. 25:39, it is related that his scholars asked Hillel one day where he was going. “To perform a commandment,” answered the rabbi. “What special commandment?” asked the disciples. “To bathe myself in the bathhouse,” said Hillel. “Is that one of the commandments?” inquired they. “Certainly,” rejoined Hillel; “if the statues of kings placed in the theatres and circuses have to be kept clean and washed, how much more ought I not to keep my body clean, since I have been created in the image of God?” And in your spirit.—
How God is glorified in the spirit:—
I. When the understanding comprehends His character. Total ignorance of His character, by implying contempt; partial ignorance of it, by implying neglect; and correct, but unoperative views of it, by implying enmity; all dishonour God. It is only when the views are both sound and practical, when the understanding is enlightened by the eternal Spirit, that we are able so to comprehend the things that belong to our peace, as to glorify God in our spirits.
II. When the conscience acknowledges His authority. Whatever we may know of God, we dishonour Him, unless conscience be influenced by what we know; for all knowledge which God imparts has a direct reference to conscience, and addresses it in the most energetic terms. But when conscience moves and actuates you in all things, and is itself moved and actuated by God; re-echoes the voice of God addressing the soul on all that is great and tender, interesting and alarming, abasing and exalting, and hears and feels every word as the word of supreme authority, with reverence and submission—then the spirit glorifies God!
III. When the affections embrace His Word. What spiritual eye can see men poor in spirit, and heirs of the kingdom, meek and inheriting the earth, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and filled with the Spirit; merciful, and monuments of mercy; pure in heart, and hoping to see God; persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and anticipating glory and honour; reviled and persecuted, and all manner of evil spoken against them falsely for Christ’s sake; and exceeding glad of this—who can behold them as the salt of the earth, as the light of the world, and remember it is the Word of God which is the instrument of all this excellence, without knowing and feeling that the giver of every good and of every perfect gift is glorified in their spirits?
IV. When the will submits to His law. This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. Who can imagine that God is to be glorified in the spirit while the will opposes Him? But let us not forget that every human will is opposed to God till renewed by grace, and that after it has been renewed it is still rebellious. The most advanced Christian has to complain, “When I would do good, evil is present with me.” God only can hold us up. And when He is pleased in tender mercy to work in us both to will and to do; to enable us to choose His commandments as the rule of our life, and to give us grace to obey them; we are then the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works: and all the honouring of God, which is implied in the relinquishment of our own will, and in the adoption of His, we cordially offer to Him; and others, seeing our good works, glorify our Father who is in heaven. (M. Jackson.)
The habitation of the body by the Lord (19)
Paul’s fourth plea for Christ-centred purity is the habitation of our bodies by the Lord, by the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are not simply physical shells of remarkable composition: they are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Earlier Paul affirmed that the whole church of God at Corinth was God’s temple, with stern warnings against any who might destroy that temple. Now he uses the same metaphor to remind individual Christians at Corinth that God has given to each the gift of his indwelling Holy Spirit, whom you have from God. In the earlier passage the reference was simply to ‘God’s Spirit’. Here he feels compelled to emphasize the call to holiness, ‘your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit’ (19).
v.The redemption of the body by the Lord (19–20)
Paul’s final plea for purity is based on the cost of redeeming our bodies: You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Before they began to experience the freedom for which Christ had set them free, the Corinthians were in the most servile bondage. They were slaves to themselves, their self-centred desires, self-indulgence and bodily passions. Then came a master with the resources to set them completely free. He paid the necessary ransom. They had been set free from the futility and servitude of their previous manner of life. Their bodies were no longer like chunks of flesh up for sale to the highest bidder in the slave-market, or available to a cult-prostitute for a fee.94 They had been bought with a price and they now belonged to a new master. His orders now mattered, not their own fancies or foibles. He now intended every physical faculty they had within them to express the glory of God. So far from despising their bodies, marked as they were by all the degradation and indiscipline of sin, he was committed to working out from within ‘the redemption of their bodies’. Flesh and blood, particularly such dissolute flesh and blood, could never inherit the kingdom of God;96 but the power of his redeeming love could—and would—complete what the Holy Spirit had already begun.
So we are urged to learn from the Spirit of God what it means to glorify God in our bodies: not to pander to them, make excuses for them, or be flippant about the many powerful temptations to abuse them. Paul forthrightly commands the Corinthians to flee two sins: immorality (6:18) and idolatry (10:14). Joseph had to run from the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife. Christians today do not have to be citizens of Corinth, or handsome visitors in the opulent courts of amoral Egyptian rulers, to discover the practical wisdom of running away from temptation when the odds are stacked too high against them.
This, however, is the negative (though necessary) aspect of Christ-centred purity. Paul’s last word on the subject is far more challenging and positive: glorify God in your body. Let Godet have the final comment on this call to purity: ‘Display positively in the use of our body the glory and especially the holiness of the heavenly Master who has taken possession of our person.’98 The poetic vision of the Psalmist is the perfect epilogue:
Thou didst form my inward parts,
thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful.
19. Believers should ‘flee from sexual immorality’ because it has a particularly deleterious impact on a person’s life since it is committed with the body. Paul then appeals to what the Corinthians certainly know (Do you not know) to further support the admonition to be free from sexual sin. The bodies of believers are temples of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, the temple was in Jerusalem, signifying the place where the Lord specially dwelt with his people. The holiness of the temple was signified by the many compartments one had to pass through before entering the Most Holy Place. Indeed, only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place where the Lord dwelt, and such entrance was limited to one day a year, the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16). Special care had to be taken not to defile or stain that which was holy. Now God’s holy presence is no longer limited to the temple, for he indwells the church of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:16) and even the bodies of individual believers. Since every place where God dwells is holy, believers must be careful not to defile God’s temple—that is, their bodies—with sexual sin. Believers are no longer autonomous; they are not the sovereign authority in their lives. Instead, they live under God’s authority since they belong to him and are indwelt by him.
20. Verse 20 explains why believers are not autonomous, why they are not ‘[their] own’. For some reason, the niv leaves out the ‘for’ (gar) in the text (see the csb here), but the ‘for’ makes it clear why the bodies of believers belong entirely to God: they were bought at a price. The word bought (agorazō) is used elsewhere by Paul to denote the ransoming effect of Christ’s sacrifice (1 Cor. 7:23; cf. 2 Pet. 2:1; Rev. 5:9; 14:3). We also find the closely related word ‘redeem’ (exagorazō) in two crucial places in Pauline literature (Gal. 3:13; 4:5). The price here is almost certainly the blood of Christ; hence the word ‘ransom’ nicely captures what is being communicated. Believers have been freed from slavery at the price of Christ’s blood, and now they belong to God; their bodies are under his lordship (cf. Rom. 6:15–23). Since God has loved believers in such a way, they are called upon to honour God with your bodies.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ certifies that the bodies of believers will be raised from the dead. What believers do with their bodies sexually cannot be dismissed as trivial, for sexual union constitutes a profound psycho-physical encounter with another person. Furthermore, believers do not enjoy autonomous authority over their bodies. Their bodies are members of Christ, and he has ransomed believers at the cost of his blood. Hence, believers are summoned to glorify and honour God with their bodies, which means that they will not indulge in sexual sin.
19. For the sixth time in this chapter Paul drives home his appeal to what the Corinthians know so well with his argumentative question, Do you not know …? Earlier he had referred to the church as a whole as God’s temple (3:16), but here body is singular, so that each believer is a temple in which God dwells. The word is naos, which means the sacred shrine, the sanctuary, the place where deity dwells, not hieron, which includes the entire precincts. This gives a dignity to the whole of life, such as nothing else could do. Wherever we go we are the bearers of the Holy Ghost, the temples in which God is pleased to dwell. This rules out all such conduct as is not appropriate to the temple of God. Its application to fornication is obvious, but the principle is of far wider application. Nothing that would be amiss in God’s temple is seemly in the child of God.
This verse sheds light on the way Paul regarded the Spirit. The temple is the place where God dwells; that is its distinguishing characteristic. Now the One who dwells in this temple is the Holy Spirit, who is thus seen to be divine. This comes out also in the expression, whom you have received from God. The Spirit within man is the gift of God, not the result of some man-induced experience. And because the temple is God’s and because the believer is that temple it follows that the believer is God’s.
20. The reason is you were bought at a price (Goodspeed, ‘you have been bought and paid for’). There is possibly an antithesis to the price paid to a prostitute (Ruef thinks that this ‘is not a very delicate way of putting it, but the Corinthians were probably not very delicate people’). The verb is in the aorist tense, which points to a single decisive action in time past. Paul mentions neither the occasion nor the price, but there is no need. Clearly he is referring to Calvary, where Christ gave his life to purchase sinners. The imagery is that of redemption, perhaps what scholars call ‘sacral manumission’. By this process a slave would save the price of his freedom, pay it into the temple treasury of a god, and then be purchased by the deity. Technically he was the slave of the god, but as far as men were concerned he was free. Deissmann says that the words used here are ‘the very formula of the records’ (LAE, p. 324). Of course Paul is not saying that Christ’s redemption corresponded exactly to sacral manumission; it is the terminology, not the precise process that is significant. And the price paid for sinners was no pious fiction, but the very real price of the death of the Saviour. The result is to bring us into a sphere where we are free (cf. ‘Everything is permissible for me’, v. 12). But we are God’s slaves. He has bought us to be his own. We belong to him. Héring comments on this appeal to act in accordance with the truth that the body is God’s temple: ‘we are probably witnessing here the first attempt in the history of moral thought to refute libertinism in some other way than by the arguments of an ascetic, legalistic or utilitarian type’. We should miss neither the originality nor the force of Paul’s argument.
The obligation now rests on us to honour God (cf. Rom. 12:1). This is the positive where ‘flee fornication’ is the negative. The prime motive in the service of the Christian is not the aim of accomplishing purposes attractive to him personally, but the glory of God. Therefore translates dē, a shortened form of ēdē, ‘already’. It is sometimes added to an imperative to give it a note of greater urgency. ‘Do it so speedily that it is already done!’ The use of the aorist rather than the present imperative agrees with this. There is an urgency about it. Let there be no delay.
19. Know ye not that your body. He makes use of two additional arguments, in order to deter us from this filthiness. First, That our bodies are temples of the Spirit; and, secondly, that the Lord has bought us to himself as his property. There is an emphasis implied in the term temple; for as the Spirit of God cannot take up his abode in a place that is profane, we do not give him a habitation otherwise than by consecrating ourselves to him as temples. It is a great honour that God confers upon us when he desires to dwell in us. (Psalm 132:14.) Hence we ought so much the more to fear, lest he should depart from us, offended by our sacrilegious actings.
And ye are not your own. Here we have a second argument—that we are not at our own disposal, that we should live according to our own pleasure. He proves this from the fact that the Lord has purchased us for himself, by paying the price of our redemption. There is a similar statement in Rom. 14:9. To this end Christ died and rose again, that he might be Lord of the living and the dead. Now the word rendered price may be taken in two ways; either simply, as we commonly say of anything that it has cost a price, when we mean that it has not been got for nothing; or, as used instead of the adverb τιμίως, at a dear rate, as we are accustomed to say of things that have cost us much. This latter view pleases me better. In the same way Peter says, Ye are redeemed, not with gold and silver; but with the preciousblood of the Lamb, without spot. (1 Peter 1:18, 19.) The sum is this, that redemption must hold us bound, and with a bridle of obedience restrain the lasciviousness of our flesh.
20. Glorify God. From this conclusion, it appears that the Corinthians took a liberty to themselves in outward things, that it was necessary to restrain and bridle. The reproof therefore is this: he shows that the body is subject to God no less than the soul, and that accordingly it is reasonable that both be devoted to his glory. “As it is befitting that the mind of a believer should be pure, so there must be a corresponding outward profession also before men, inasmuch as the power of both is in the hands of God, who has redeemed both.” With the same view he declared a little ago, that not only our souls but our bodies also are temples of the Holy Spirit, that we may not think that we discharge our duty to him aright, if we do not devote ourselves wholly and entirely to his service, that he may by his word regulate even the outward actions of our life.
Ver. 19.—That your body is the temple (or rather, a sanctuary) of the Holy Ghost. He has already said that the Church is a shrine or sanctuary of the Holy Ghost (ch. 3:16); but here for the first time expression is given to one of the deepest and newest truths of Christianity (comp. 2 Cor. 6:16). Three great epochs are marked by the use of the word “temple.” In the Old Testament it means the material temple, the sign of a localized worship and a separated people; in the Gospels, our Lord uses it of his own mortal body; in the Epistles it is used (as here) of the body of every baptized Christian sanctified by the indwelling Spirit of God. Ye are not your own. We cannot, therefore, use our bodies as though they were absolutely under our own control. They belong to God, and, “whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8).
Ver. 20.—Ye are bought with a price. That price is the blood of Christ, where-with he purchased the Church (Acts 20:28; Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev. 5:9). This metaphor of ransom (ch. 7:23; 2 Pet. 2:1) has its full and absolute applicability to man. The effect of Christ’s death for us is that we are redeemed from slavery and prison, and the right of our possession is with Christ. Thus by various metaphors the effects of redemption are revealed to us on the human side. When we unduly press the metaphor, and ask from whom we were purchased, and to whom the price was paid, we build up scholastic systems which have only led to error, and respecting which the Church has never sanctioned any exclusive opinion. The thoughts touched upon in this verse are fully developed in the Epistle to the Romans. Glorify God; by behaving as his redeemed children, and therefore by keeping yourselves pure. In these few brief words St. Paul sums up all he has said, as he did in ch. 5:13. In your body. The following words, “and in your spirit, which are God’s,” are a perfectly correct and harmless gloss, but are not found in the best manuscripts, and are foreign to the drift of the passage. Your body is a temple, and in that temple God must be honoured. (As Augustine says. “Dost thou wish to pray in a temple? pray in thyself. But first be a temple of God.”) “Unchastity dishonours God, and that in his own temple (Rom. 2:23)” (Meyer). In these clauses St. Paul has touched on three subjects which occupy important sections of the remainder of the Epistle, namely, (1) the relation between the sexes (ch. 7); (2) the question of idol-offerings (ch. 8): and (3) the doctrine of the resurrection (ch. 15).
6:19 / Paul turns more directly to religious imagery in the following lines. In this verse he reiterates the point he made earlier in 3:16, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s pronouns are plural, addressing the entire body of believers in Corinth. He does not single out only those who have been fornicating, for while those particular persons have acted inappropriately, they have acted in a manner that ultimately touches and shapes the life of the Christian community. Thus, the community is in need of instruction, for in different but complementary ways all have been involved in the degradation of the body of believers.
Moreover, Paul qualifies his reference to the Holy Spirit by adding the phrases who is in you, whom you have received from God. All the pronouns are plural, indicating that Paul directs his remarks to all the believers at once. With these brief lines Paul registers at least four crucial theological truths. First, the Spirit is present and active among the Corinthians, empowering them to live the life to which they have been called. Second, the Spirit comes to them from God, whose will is to be manifest in the life of the Spirit-filled community of the Corinthian believers. God’s authority, will, presence, and power form and should inform the shape of the temple of believers in Corinth. Third, the Holy Spirit was received by the Corinthians. They did not earn or produce the Spirit’s presence among them; God acted graciously in bestowing the Spirit on the Christian community in Corinth. Fourth, the Spirit dwells in the temple so that the Corinthians are bound into an intimate relationship to God through the presence of God’s Spirit. They are not independently blessed, but they live in relation to the life that God lives among them.
Paul’s final words in this verse, you are not your own, may form the final part of the question that began at the outset of the verse: Do you not know that … you are not your own? The sense is self-evident: the Corinthians are neither autonomous individuals nor an autonomous community of human beings. God founded, forms, and holds a claim on the lives of these and all other believers. No greater truth can be brought home to the church and its members in every generation. How often do discussions of personal and community affairs (freedoms? rights? responsibilities?) take their start and find their course from the reality that every aspect of the life of believers belongs to God? Nothing we have is ours to have and to do with as we please. All of life belongs to God, and it is ultimately God’s will and work that is to be accomplished in our lives and in our life together. The believer and the believers find identity, purpose, direction, and meaning from the foundational nature of the relationship that God has established in creating us and in reclaiming us in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
6:20 / In concluding his deliberation as it extends through chapter 6, Paul expounds the foundation of the relationship that forms each element of life in relationship to God. Stated bluntly, believers have been bought by God! In 7:23 Paul will reiterate this same idea, you were bought at a price, which he makes here as the crescendo of his argument. In 6:11 Paul used the metaphors of washing, sanctification, and justification to elaborate the meaning of Christian existence. Now, he reaches back to and through those images of the ongoing nature of Christian life to give a glimpse of the creation and nature of Christian existence. God did something, humans did not. God paid a price, humans did not. God bought, and so God owns or has a claim on the lives of the believers.
The language Paul uses is vivid and would have been familiar to the Corinthians, who were accustomed to the purchasing of slaves in the marketplaces. Today we are unfamiliar with this practice, but the idea is simple. Slaves were bought and sold, and in the purchase they came under the absolute authority of the one who paid the price for them. Paul’s statement can be literally rendered, “You were bought for cash!” He does not state, and he may not care, to whom the purchase price was paid; his concern is to underscore the initiative and the rightful authority of God in the relationship between the believers and God.
Therefore, Paul utters his final words of instruction, Therefore honor God with your body. The address is a command in the plural form, saying more literally, “Therefore you all glorify God in your body.” The niv attempts to make sense of Paul’s command by translating “honor” rather than “glorify” and by using “with” instead of “in,” but the result is questionable. Paul may intend to say more than “Act honorably,” which is the simplest understanding of the niv. “Your body” includes all the individual bodies of the Corinthians, but it literally names the corporate body of all the believers, so that the life manifested by the Christian community in both moral and mission-related dimensions of existence brings praise and honor to God’s work in the world.
The Body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit
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. (6:19–20)
As Christians our bodies are not our own. Paul puts sting into this verse by framing it as a sarcastic question. They are the Lord’s, members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Spirit, who has been given by God to indwell us. So Paul calls for sexual purity not only because of the way sexual sin affects the body, but because the body it affects is not even the believer’s own. Understanding the reality of the phrase the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God should give us as much commitment to purity as any knowledge of divine truth could.
To commit sexual sin in a church auditorium, disgusting as that would be, would be no worse than committing the sin anywhere else. Offense is made within God’s sanctuary wherever and whenever sexual immorality is committed by believers. Every act of fornication, every act of adultery by Christians, is committed in God’s sanctuary: their own bodies. “For we are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16). The fact that Christians are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit is indicated in passages such as John 7:38–39; 20:22; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:9; and 1 Corinthians 12:3. The fact that God sent the Holy Spirit is clear from John 14:16–17; 15:26; and Acts 2:17, 33, 38.
We no longer belong to ourselves because we have been bought with a price. We were not “redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from [our] futile way of life inherited from [our] forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18–19).
Christians’ bodies are God’s temple, and a temple is for worship. Our bodies, therefore, have one supreme purpose: to glorify God. This is a call to live so as to bring honor to the person of God, who alone is worthy of our obedience and adoration.
A friend once took a visitor to a large Catholic cathedral in the east. The visitor wanted to pray at the station of his favorite saint. But upon arriving at that station, he was startled to find no candles lit, and a sign saying, “Do not worship here; closed for cleaning.” The Corinthians provided no divine focus, either, no place for seeking souls to worship, since they were unclean. That, Paul said, had to change.
Recently I read again what Jesus said in answer to the question of the disciples,
“What must we do to do the work of God?” Jesus replied, “Believe… “
(John 6:28-29). That is our work. Paul wrote, “God’s work, which is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:4).
This is good news. My work for Him is faith. I remembered that in the Complete Jewish Bible faith is always translated TRUST, for that’s what it means. That puts a different spin on it, doesn’t it? My work for him is TRUST.
Romans 1:17 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) “But the person who is righteous will live his life by trust.”
Hebrews 11:6 (CJB) And without trusting, it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches him must trust that he does exist and that he becomes a Rewarder to those who seek him out.
Ephesians 6:16 (CJB) Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (CJB) But for now, three things last – trust, hope, love...
So let’s return to the question:
“What must we do to do the work of God?” Jesus replied, “Trust…”
God asks us to trust that He loves us. that He is with us this moment. that He rewards those who seek Him. that He will provide in the future as He has in the past. that He is working all things together for our good. that He is directing us and living His life through us. that He continually gives the wisdom we need. that He hears and answers our prayers.
Easy to say, harder sometimes for the heart to fully do. Father, we want to trust you with all things today.
And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. – Malachi 3:2
Scripture reading: Nahum 2:10-13 and Malachi 3:1-5
Friends of ours complained about their hotel accommodations. They booked a weekend retreat at a distant hotel, longing for some peace and quiet. They were awakened at 6 AM on a Saturday morning to bell ringing and loud shouting. Jumping to his feet and terribly annoyed, the husband threw open the curtains to see a gathering of people dressed up in old-fashioned clothing. It was a town crier’s convention.
Long before phones, social media, or telegraph and printed newspapers, an important message would be sent via a town crier. He would shout aloud in the streets bringing news. For example, the Assyrian King Sennacherib sent a messenger, Rabshakeh, to King Hezekiah, to announce Jerusalem’s destruction (II Kings 18:19ff).
Nahum’s warning serves to remind the people of God of their own covenant with the LORD. The LORD is not some magical charm to keep them safe and allow them to do whatever evil they want to do and have His immunity. The LORD sends out His messenger of the covenant so that the covenant people—those who are under the binding promises of the LORD their God—will turn from their sins and obey Him.
The Gospel of Mark picks up this theme of a Messenger—John the Baptist is the final messenger of the Old Testament who tells the people to prepare for Jesus, the King of Glory. At the cross, the sins of believers are punished on the Person of Jesus. Those who reject Jesus will face God’s punishment in eternity.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God that He continues to warn us so that people do not have to face His punishment throughout eternity; pray specifically for friends and family members who do not know the mercy of Jesus.
Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.
China: Soros is the “son of Satan” The rich and powerful frequently collect enemies on their climb to the top but billionaire George Soros seems to have more than his share of haters. As part of an ongoing tit-for-tat, a Chinese media labeled him “the son of Satan”, among other choice epithets.
Transgender Bishops & The Fall Of The Evangelical Lutheran Church In America According to this group, there are over 390 queer ministers in the ELCA at this point. The ELCA is known for its strong theological shift in the last 15 years towards an “inclusive” theology, except when it comes to Israel. Last year the Danish Bible Society, which is run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church, came under heavy fire for the Danish “translation” of the Bible that virtually wipes out “Israel” from the New Testament.
Tropical Storm Nicholas to take aim at coastal Texas A hurricane watch was issued for parts of the Texas Gulf coast Sunday night as Tropical Storm Nicholas lurked in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. AccuWeather forecasters expect the storm to bring flooding downpours from northeastern Mexico to New Orleans, with the most significant flooding expected around the Houston area early this week.
It’s Time To Acknowledge Anti-White Racism The definition of racism has undergone a radical change in a short time. According to the new eighth-grade curriculum for the Albemarle County (Va.) School District, racism now means: “The marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.”
In Surprising Reversal, England Drops Vaccine Passport Plan The plan to mandate CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine passports for nightclubs and crowded events in England will not go ahead, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday. It comes after British lawmakers across the political spectrum voiced strong opposition to the plans this week. I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” Javid said.
Taliban takeover exposes largest Afghan ethnic group’s surprising Israel link Fearing reprisal from Islamists, members of the Pashtun ethnic group — many of whom helped former Afghan government — evoke historical theories tracing 15 million-strong community to 10 lost tribes of Israel, cite feeling strong connection to Israel, for which they may get killed. Many of them have served in the Afghan National Army, and the last two Afghan presidents were Pashtun themselves. Israeli anthropologist Prof. Avigdor Shachan suggests that the lost tribes of Israel settled in Afghanistan after the Assyrian conquest of the land of Israel in 856–732 BCE.
FBI releases declassified 9/11 document after Biden order The partially redacted 16-page document released by the FBI outlined contacts between the hijackers and Saudi associates, but no evidence the government in Riyadh was complicit in the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people. Saudi Arabia has long said it had no role in the attacks. The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment
Jewish Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel compares Biden vax mandate to Gestapo Do not comply with the tyranny. When the Gestapo show up at your front door, you know what to do,’ Josh Mandel says. Mandel said the White House was “trampling on our freedom, trampling on our liberty, trampling on what I took an oath to defend when I joined the marine corps.” “Joe Biden – I’m not even going to call him ‘President’ Biden, he’s not – is creating a constitutional crisis.”
North Korea test fires long-range cruise missiles North Korea carried out successful long-range cruise missile tests over the weekend, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing the country’s official news agency KCNA. The missiles flew 1,500 km (930 miles) before hitting their targets and falling into the country’s territorial waters during the tests held on Saturday and Sunday, KCNA said.
Lapid outlines ‘economy for security’ plan to stop Hamas terror in Gaza “We need to start a large, multiyear process of economy for security,” he said. An Israeli plan to improve life in Gaza if Hamas lays down its arms is a way to put pressure on Hamas and end the “absurd situation” in which an antisemitic terrorist organization attacks Israeli civilians and Israel is blamed for it, he said.
IDF strikes targets in Gaza as rocket sirens go off in southern Israel The IDF struck targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Monday morning in response to rocket fire into Israel on Sunday. Meanwhile, rocket sirens went off in the Gaza border area communities of Kissufim and Ein Hashlosha, with one rocket fired into Israel and intercepted by an Iron Dome, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
Third ‘murder-hornet’ nest discovered in US, this time with End-of-Days implications State entomologists discovered a fourth nest of Asian Giant “murder” hornets in Washington last week containing about 1,500 hornets in various stages of development. Sometimes translated as ‘a plague’, hornets (הַצִּרְעָה) are a key element in Redemption and, according to the Bible, helped the Hebrews conquer Israel after the Exodus from Egypt and like all the plagues, are prophesied to return in the end-of-days.
River in Jordan turns blood red: Is it Micah’s Messianic prophecy? Officials are investigating a river running through the arid Karak region of Jordan which, normally pristine and clear, turned inexplicably red last week. Rare Red Warning for severe gales issued for South Island, New Zealand The New Zealand MetService has issued a rare Red Warning for severe gale northwesterly winds for the Canterbury High Country and foothills from Sunday afternoon (LT), September 12 into early Monday morning, September 13, 2021. The winds are expected to produce widespread damage, especially to trees and powerlines, and could lift roofs. Red Warnings are reserved for only the most extreme weather events where significant impact and disruption are expected.
This Short Clip From 1976 “60 Minutes” Piece On Swine Flu Vaccination Has Gone Viral …And one thing that happened with the Swine Flu vaccine, is that it had to be pulled eventually because it was linked to Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and people were dying, although the actual number of people who died from the vaccine is not officially known, it is likely far less, however, than the “official” number we’re given for COVID vaccine deaths, which has not been “pulled.”
ICU Nurse Says Hospital Set to Deny Care to Unvaccinated Biden’s declaration of war on America, the fear-driven by the lying and criminally complicit, corrupt, bought-and-paid-for ‘media’, the tyrannical actions of school boards, acting outside of the law to abuse and torture your kids, the restriction of travel, family gatherings, your loss of employment, the threat of Court Marshal and the loss of real lives – the death of what will end up being millions of people – all of it is based on lies.
Why does Africa have such low rates of severe covid-19 infection and mortality? In 2015, the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded to William C. Campbell from the US, Satoshi Omura from Japan, and Youyou Tu from China. The three scientists discovered natural-based remedies to treat parasitic infections that cause malaria, river blindness (onchocerciasis) and elephantiasis (lymphatic filariasis). These infections plague over a hundred million people annually, especially throughout Africa, where living conditions are less favorable.
“The eyes of the world being thus on our Country, it is put the more on its good behavior, and under the greater obligation also, to do justice to the Tree of Liberty by an exhibition of the fine fruits we gather from it.” —James Madison (1824)
When our 43rd president compared the January 6 rioters to the 9/11 terrorists, he disgraced himself, dishonored the dead, and divided the nation.
Any American who doubts just how awful Saturday’s 9/11 address by George W. Bush was need only consider the remarks of Joe Biden immediately afterward: “I thought that President Bush made a really good speech today,” said the Coward of Kabul. “Genuinely.”
Bush, there on the hallowed ground of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to commemorate the first counterattack of the American people upon their murderous jihadist foes, did a deep disservice to the day when he compared the Islamist cutthroats of September 11, 2001, to the Trump-supporting Americans who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 of this year.
The perpetrators of the former event, who were bent on no less than bringing the American nation to its knees, murdered 2,977 people that day. The perpetrators of the latter event, who were bent on disrupting certification of a presidential election that they considered to be deeply flawed and improperly adjudicated, murdered 0 people. But, yeah, according to Bush, the two are “children of the same foul spirit.”
Here, we’re obliged to remember that this is the same Republican president who rightly took our nation to war in Afghanistan — a 20-year war that Joe Biden just lost — and who wrongly, as most Americans now believe, took us to war in Iraq.
For those too young to recall that clear September day, it is hard to describe the mix of feelings we experienced. There was horror at the scale — there was horror at the scale of destruction, and awe at the bravery and kindness that rose to meet it. There was shock at the audacity — audacity of evil — and gratitude for the heroism and decency that opposed it. In the sacrifice of the first responders, in the mutual aid of strangers, in the solidarity of grief and grace, the actions of an enemy revealed the spirit of a people. And we were proud of our wounded nation.
In these memories, the passengers and crew of Flight 93 must always have an honored place. Here the intended targets became the instruments of rescue. And many who are now alive owe a vast, unconscious debt to the defiance displayed in the skies above this field.
Indeed, as Mene Ukueberuwa put it in The Wall Street Journal: “[Todd] Beamer was among the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 who attacked the hijackers and prevented them from crashing the Boeing 757 into the U.S. Capitol. His rallying cry, ‘Let’s roll,’ rests in America’s memory. It is exalting to think of what he and his fellow passengers did on that short flight, and the people they saved on the ground.”
Beamer, armed with a strong body and an even stronger Christian faith, led three other passengers who spearheaded the revolt — Jeremy Glick, Mark Bingham, and Tom Burnett. Flight 93’s intended target was likely either the Capitol building or the White House.
As President Bush movingly put it: “We learned that bravery is more common than we imagined, emerging with sudden splendor in the face of death. We vividly felt how every hour with our loved ones was a temporary and holy gift. And we found that even the longest days end.”
And then, sadly, the former president went off the rails:
And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within. There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. And it is our continuing duty to confront them.
We wish we could un-hear those deeply, profoundly, despicably misguided words, but we can’t. No one has to defend the rioters whom our Mark Alexander called “jackasses” to chafe at Bush’s comparison. But hey, at least Joe Biden liked the speech.
The so-called “black national anthem” was played before every NFL game over the weekend.
The major sports leagues have a history of helping to lead the way in ending racial segregation in our nation. Sports also unite us across whatever political divides exist.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson famously broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, nearly a decade prior to the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision ending racial segregation in schools. Less well known, Kenny Washington (who happened to be a teammate of Robinson’s at UCLA) became the first black football player to break the National Football League’s color barrier when he signed with the LA Rams in 1946. Again, this happened well before the end of Jim Crow and racial segregation in the South.
In other words, pro football has a long history of standing against racism and segregation, and yet none of that seems to matter based on the “woke” messaging being promoted by today’s NFL.
NFL execs have bought into the “woke” worldview that condemns the U.S. for “systemic racism” despite obvious evidence to the contrary. And according to the upside-down “woke” worldview, racial segregation is now a good thing — a thing to be celebrated. The NFL has fallen so far down this “social justice” rabbit hole that teams have begun playing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the “black national anthem,” along with the U.S. national anthem before every game.
On Sunday, stadiums filled with fans were subjected to this divisive display, all done in the name of “combating racism.” Furthermore, players were encouraged to wear one of six approved “social justice” decals on their helmets. The choices included but were limited to, “It Takes All of Us,” “End Racism,” “Stop Hate,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Inspire Change,” and “Say Their Stories.”
This is the same NFL that back in 2016 denied the Dallas Cowboys’ request to wear a helmet decal honoring five police officers murdered in an ambush. Now, the NFL is promoting BLM slogans while literally celebrating racial segregation by promoting a black national anthem — as if our real national anthem doesn’t include black Americans.
This decision is so bad that even leftist Bill Maher blasted the lunacy. “I saw last night on the football game, Alicia Keys sang ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ which now I hear is called the black national anthem,” he said. “Now, maybe we should get rid of our national anthem, but I think we should have one national anthem. I think when you go down a road where you’re having two different national anthems, colleges sometimes now have — many of them have different graduation ceremonies for black and white, separate dorms — this is what I mean! Segregation! You’ve inverted the idea. We’re going back to that under a different name.”
While it was good to see stadiums filled with fans again after the pandemic shutdown last year, the NFL seems hellbent on insulting its biggest fans by insisting, despite historical evidence to the contrary, that the nation is awash in racism.
The motivation to challenge segregation in the 1940s was borne out of facing the truth. The motivation to push segregation today rests upon a pile of politically conceived lies.
It appears that his retaliatory drone strike killed innocent Afghans.
Is Joe Biden responsible for the deaths of 10 innocent Afghans? The evidence is building that such is the case.
On August 29, three days after 13 Americans and nearly 100 Afghans were murdered by a terrorist bomber in Kabul, the Biden administration struck back with missile attacks on supposedly high-value targets. It was an effort to show force so as to cover for the utter disgrace of Biden’s surrender in Afghanistan.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared that it was a “righteous strike.”
But among the dead were 10 innocent people, including several children. The target was … an aid worker carrying water and helping the U.S., not, as the Pentagon claims, an ISIS-K sympathizer loading a car with explosives for another airport attack.
To put it mildly, as John Stuart Mill once said, “War is an ugly thing.” Soldiers pay a heavy price for war — sometimes the ultimate price. Civilians are often casualties too, and we don’t mean to cast particular or special blame on the American personnel who carried out this one misdirected attack. Remember, radical Islamic terrorists often literally hide behind women and children like the cowards they truly are.
We do mean to lay the blame where the buck stops: with the commander-in-chief. Biden touted retaining America’s ability to continue “over-the-horizon” strikes when necessary. “We’ve shown that capacity just in the last week,” he boasted two days after the retaliatory strike. “We struck ISIS-K remotely, days after they murdered 13 of our service members and dozens of innocent Afghans.”
The other element here is that striking terrorists in Afghanistan is only going to be harder now that we have few if any resources on the ground. Biden can brag about “over-the-horizon” strikes all he wants, but he’s given up most of our intelligence capability by withdrawing all U.S. personnel from the country.
That’s just one more way in which he’s made America less safe, and the consequences have already been deadly.
Persisting in collectivist education practices is systemic racism at its core.
Public schools have long been in a downward spiral when it comes to giving all students a good education. There are many reasons for this: lack of parental involvement, poor and dishonest teachers, and misuse of standardized tests. Perhaps the biggest indicator of this plummet is the poor performance of black children.
When playing with the different datasets of The Nation’s Report Card, the results are unmistakable. Black students consistently score lower than their white peers.
Why is that?
It’s certainly not for lack of money, which is the Left’s favorite way of trying to solve problems. The last census report states:
Of the 100 largest public school systems (based on enrollment), the six that spent the most per pupil in FY 2019 were the New York City School District in New York ($28,004), Boston City Schools in Massachusetts ($25,653), Washington Schools in the District of Columbia ($22,406), San Francisco Unified in California ($17,228), Atlanta School District in Georgia ($17,112), and Seattle Public Schools in Washington ($16,543).
The real reason may be that leftists have simply given up on trying to bolster black achievement. Instead of modeling their schools to help children achieve, they are content to sweep poor grades and test scores under the rug. If there’s no proof of malfeasance, then it can be ignored. This is a classic example of the bigotry of low expectations.
To compound matters, leftist educational policymakers and teachers unions have put roadblocks in the way of school choice, wherein funds that the government is already paying to the public school system would provide an opportunity for black students to get into schools that actually care to teach them.
Political commentator Rick Moran puts it poignantly: “There are pockets of black achievement even in the most violent, drug-ridden neighborhoods. They can be found in charter schools and private parochial schools. But instead of making it easier for black parents to send their kids to schools that will make the effort to educate them, teachers’ unions — and politicians who cater to their agenda — try to limit opportunities for back parents to take their children out of violent, failing schools.”
But the heart of the issue goes even deeper than bad policy and lack of school choice. Our education ideology is collectivist in nature. The current philosophy treats students like a number. In the public schools, that number comes with state funding attached. Here are some truths that this author can impart as a professional teacher:
No two children are alike or learn alike. Therefore, a public school system that tries to force each child into the mold of their own curricular practices is doomed for failure.
Large class sizes are detrimental to children. No matter how good and experienced the teacher is, children’s educational needs will fall through the cracks by virtue of sheer volume.
If education is not a value in the home, building the bridge to a love of learning is much more challenging — and in the upper grades, well nigh impossible.
Children should not be used as fodder for political cannons. There is such a thing as teaching bad ideas.
Teachers should be held accountable. This is achieved through the realization of common educational goals with the students at the center and not based on standardized achievement testing.
Persisting in these collectivist education practices is systemic racism at its core. All children are worthy and are gifted in their own way. They each have something to offer the world. They are not blank slates, activists, or a dollar amount.
Many similarities have developed between the spirit of modern politics and ancient blood sport.
In Roman culture, gladiator fights were originally sponsored by the wealthy to pay tribute to the spirit of their dead with lavish and extravagant events for the elite. These events were taken over by those seeking notoriety after it became clear the sponsors of such expensive and showy violent clashes were able to self-promote and even earn votes. These events of mortal combat were often used to distract the public from issues and crises of the day. Fighting to the death was entertainment that Romans exploited for public visibility and campaigning. As disgusting and barbaric as that may be, today’s political climate has ingredients of the same approach.
Many reading this will remember a time in America when most of us, regardless of partisan stripe, upbringing, faith, race, age, or gender, had at least some agreement regarding the value of virtues, the family, and a society that worked together for a common good while expecting individuals to strive for self-reliance. Even in the arena of politics, Democrats and Republicans agreed on many issues, and the disagreement was focused on the manner to solve those problems and move our communities, states, and nation forward. Today, in pitiful contrast, the public is told that there’s your truth, there’s my truth, and there’s truth of those to come based on experiences and feelings. Everything is fluid and variable depending on one’s race, privilege, or gender. There’s not even agreement on the simple definitions of truth, gender, family, or life, much less equal and equitable standards.
While the substance of our policies and beliefs has been eroding and devolving, the new definition of winning has also gained standing. No longer is the aim of public service a win-win-win mentality, to improve a community, solve a problem, or remove a barrier, providing benefits and growing opportunities for all.
Today, you only win if your opposition loses soundly, so political attacks tend to exceed the bounds of decency, competence, and platform. What has changed?
The magnitude of money and power that now comes with some elected offices is clearly a driving factor that escalates the stakes of the competition but also enriches it. When Ronald Reagan was president, members of Congress received an annual pay of $75,100. Today, that annual income is $174,000, and the power of special interest money, along with other benefits, adds even more. According to a Federal Election Commission summary released on April 2, the 2020 presidential candidates, over a 24-month period, raised and spent in excess of $4.1 billion. House and Senate candidates raised and spent another $4 billion, while the political partisan committees collected and disbursed $3 billion in the same window of time.
At the federal level, the notion of citizen legislator has ended with many serving at the state level now enjoying annual compensation that reaches almost $115,000 in California and $110,000 in New York — unlike salaries in the low $20,000s for legislators in Tennessee, Iowa, and Arizona.
While money and the ascension to power are very often the motivating factors for many candidates, incumbents, the media (the greatest winner in this financial gain), and consultants, the public tone has been a reinforcing factor in the decline of our politics. The ever-growing distrust of the media has forced the average American to seek alternatives for news and information. At the same time, social media platforms have created mini battlefields of hateful engagement, canceling, and digital yelling. Most people are now angry at each other and invested in defeating their rivals, not working to solve problems. Not only have the goals of political players changed, but the public has coarsened its engagement. We’re distracted by the fight and losing opportunities to better our communities through public policy.
Will there be a day when politics returns to the idea of win-win-win? Where voters work to support candidates who articulate a platform benefiting their communities?
Or does the devolution continue with voters and leaders who encourage fighting and brutal destruction involving protests at one’s home, attacks on their family, and destruction of livelihood?
The bloodthirst of politics has changed little.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman and scholar who supported a republic form of government, observed that mankind’s mistakes included the belief that personal gain is made by crushing others. Cicero was assassinated in 43 BC by his political enemy, Mark Anthony, who fought for an autocratic Roman Empire, but that wasn’t enough. In addition to being beheaded, Cicero’s hands were severed and displayed for his work against his rival.
In a figurative sense, that’s still considered winning in politics.
Joe Biden’s abysmal retreat from Afghanistan is making determining who is friend or foe a serious problem.
Just who are these Afghan refugees, and how do we know they are who they claim to be? Following Joe Biden’s abysmal Afghanistan surrender and retreat, in which tens of thousands of Afghans sought to flee the country as the Taliban took control, serious questions are being raised over how well these refugees have been and are being vetted.
Questions over vetting have been raised via a letter sent to Biden by 41 Republican lawmakers. They write, “We are concerned that inadequate criminal and security background checks are being performed by the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of State on evacuees in their country of origin, and in other countries in which they have resided or to which they traveled before being brought to the United States.”
The letter further observes that DHS’s track record on vetting foreign individuals hasn’t been stellar due in large part to the lack of available and reliable information on foreign individuals. “DHS has released illegal aliens screened under the same U.S. government databases who were wanted for murder, as well as known MS-13 members,” the GOP members write. “DHS cannot reliably assess the criminal background of a person from Bolivia, let alone Helmand Province. In fact, this vetting has already failed in the case of Afghan nationals. An Afghan male convicted of rape in the United States and deported by DHS was evacuated from Kabul, allowed to enter the United States, and not caught until he arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport.”
Meanwhile, Biden’s Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas contends, “We have no information to suggest ISIS has come into the United States through the Afghan national population that we have admitted under our legal authorities.” Mayorkas also touted the department’s “multi-layered, multi-agency screening and vetting process,” essentially implying there is little for Americans to worry about regarding incoming Afghan refugees.
There’s no doubt that DHS is engaged in vetting these Afghan evacuees, but that vetting is only as good as the information available. Given the rush job of an evacuation, there is little reason to trust that the information collected is reliable. Nor is there any reason to trust the Taliban to supply accurate and uncorrupted intel.
There’s also the question of what to do with Afghan evacuees currently sitting in U.S. bases overseas — evacuees who fail vetting or are unable to be satisfactorily vetted due to lack of information. Do we bring them into the U.S. anyway? The way Biden has handled the southern border, does anyone really think he wouldn’t allow them in?
All of this is a huge problem, but don’t forget that there are tens of thousands of Afghans who helped the U.S. war effort. These people have been vetted and have shown their allegiance with and to the United States. And Joe Biden left them behind to be slaughtered by his new friends, the Taliban.
Every day that passes exposes more of the Biden administration’s absolute incompetence.
When we compare the punishments of anti-Trump rioters to pro-Trump rioters, we find there’s no comparison.
On any given weekend in Chicago — take this past weekend, for example — the self-inflicted slaughter of the city’s black population continues apace.
And yet all Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Georgetown Democrats can seem to focus on is the unarmed non-insurrection of January 6, an unruly and at times violent event that nonetheless saw just one violent casualty: that of an unarmed 110-pound Trump supporter named Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally and, we believe, senselessly shot by a Capitol cop who humbly said of himself afterward, “I showed the utmost courage on January 6.”
Democrats want blood for the events of January 6, and they’re getting it. In July, the first of the “felony” offenders who breached the Capitol was sentenced: a 38-year-old Tampa resident named Paul Hodgkins, whose crime was having walked peacefully into “The People’s House” while sporting a “Trump 2020” flag.
For his utterly nonviolent offense, Hodgkins got eight months in prison. And there are hundreds more like Hodgkins still languishing in jail eight months after the offense, still awaiting their sentencing for having protested an election they believed to have been deeply flawed and improperly investigated. So much for our Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantee of “the right to a speedy and public trial.”
Thus, DC Democrats, having had their comfy confines invaded by the likes of a QAnon shaman with horns and fur, reached for the smelling salts and headed for the fainting couches. “We came close to half of the House nearly dying,” shrieked New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Smollett, who also accused Texas Senator Ted Cruz of having almost “murdered” her.
The Left’s hyperbole about that day wasn’t limited to erstwhile Manhattan bartenders, though. As Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin put it: “A violent mob … broke into the Congress of the United States, broke into the Capitol, and came within a hair’s breadth of hanging Vice President Pence. … They built a gallows outside the Capitol of the United States. There was an assassination party hunting for Nancy Pelosi. … This was an attack on our country.”
Wow, what a Nervous Nellie. We must’ve been watching a different riot that day.
But what of those other DC rioters — the rioters of January 20, 2017? Surely you remember the ruckus Nancy Pelosi and her ilk raised in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s inauguration, when hundreds of violent protesters took to the streets and made mayhem? No, no you don’t. Because she didn’t say a word. As we wrote:
A month after the 2017 inauguration, CNN reported that 214 people had been indicted on felony rioting charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000. This seemed altogether appropriate for the “black bloc” antifa thugs who “smashed storefronts and bus stops, hammered out the windows of a limousine, and eventually launched rocks at a phalanx of police.” Six cops were injured that day, and 230 rioters were arrested. So far, so good, right?
Wrong. More than two years later, on July 6, 2018, the Associated Press reported that the government had dropped the charges against all inauguration protesters.
That’s right. All of those violent, Trump-hating, would-be felons had their charges dropped.
Then there were the rioters of last summer. You remember: the Black Lives Matter rioters. As RealClearInvestigations reported: “The summer 2020 riots resulted in some 15 times more injured police officers, 30 times as many arrests, and estimated damages in dollar terms up to 1,300 times more costly than those of the Capitol riot. George Floyd rioters were found to have used more sophisticated and dangerous tactics than did the Capitol rioters, and in some cases weapons of greater lethality.”
Those were “good” rioters, though. As the sleuths at RCI continue: “Authorities have pursued the largely Trump-supporting Capitol rioters with substantially more vigor than suspected wrongdoers in the earlier two cases. Many accused Capitol rioters, unlike accused participants in the other riots, have been held in pretrial detention for months — with one defendant serving more time than the maximum sentence for the charge to which he pleaded guilty. Some allegedly endured solitary confinement and other mistreatment.”
The reality is no longer debatable, and the statistics bear it out: There are two tiers of justice in this country — one for the Left, and one for the Right.
Insight: “The secret of liberty is to enlighten men, as that of tyranny is to keep them in ignorance.” —Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (1758-1794)
“I think our greatest national security threat, at least in the short term, is Joe Biden.” —former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe
“I think that the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan and then the way our exit happened has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world. The Taliban is saying we just didn’t defeat the United States. We defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s greatest military power ever. So there’s a celebration going on. … I think not only will jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central. So after 9/11, they all scattered from Afghanistan. I think we’re going to see a flow back in, and that’s one of the things that makes Afghanistan more dangerous than other spots on the planet.” —Obama-era CIA Acting Director Michael Morell
“It’s insane how we’re just pretending natural immunity doesn’t exist. Science tells us that prior infection grants better protection than the vaccine. And yet all unvaccinated people are lumped together, even if they are LESS of a threat to spread than vaccinated people. Madness.” —Matt Walsh
“So DeSantis is authoritarian for telling companies they can’t make their employees get vaccinated, but Biden is a hero for telling companies they must. Got it.” —Allie Beth Stuckey
“The President has the power, acting alone, to set health policies for private employers, forcing them to fire their workers who don’t comply? We’ve allowed presidential powers to become virtually limitless — well, Congress has — but this is quite a power.” —Glenn Greenwald
Grand delusions: “I think the president is, you know, being somewhat moderate in his demand, if you want to call it that.” —Dr. Anthony Fauci
The BIG Lie: “Vaccination requirements have been around for decades for diseases like polio, smallpox, and measles.” —White House COVID Response Coordinator Jeff Zients
Non sequitur: “Remaining unvaccinated & going out in public is equivalent to driving under the influence. You want to be intoxicated? That’s your choice, but if you want to drive a car, that endangers others. No one should have the ‘choice’ to infect others with a potentially deadly disease.” —former Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen
Famous last words: “We have no information to suggest that ISIS has come into the United States through the Afghan national population that has been admitted under our legal authorities.” —Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Dezinformatsiya : “Newly passed laws in Texas mean that people cannot have an abortion after six weeks — the point where a ‘fetal heartbeat’ appears, and the point before most people know they’re pregnant. However, doctors are coming forward to say that the ‘fetal heartbeat’ isn’t a real medical point in fetal development, casting doubt on the credibility of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill.” —Business Insider
Non compos mentis I: “The flickering that we’re seeing on the ultrasound [at six weeks] of the pregnancy is actually electrical activity, and the sound that you ‘hear’ is actually manufactured by the ultrasound machine.” —Dr. Nisha Verma
Non compos mentis II: “The term ‘fetus’ certainly evokes images of a well-formed baby, so it’s advantageous to use that term instead of ‘embryo’ — which may not be as easy for the public to feel strongly about, since embryos don’t look like a baby. So those terms are very purposefully used [in pro-life laws] — and are also misleading.” —Dr. Jennifer Kerns
What’s up is down: “Many employers are alarmed about the current labor shortage — the phenomenon of a labor market with more job openings than unemployed workers. … The labor scarcity we’re experiencing is real. But this is an opportunity, not a crisis.” —MIT professor David Autor in a New York Times column titled, “Good News: There’s a Labor Shortage.”
A despicable comparison: “We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within. There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home.” —George W. Bush on 9/11
Nope: “On 1/6/2021, 9/11/2001 ceased being the worst thing that happened to America in my lifetime. It’s really weird and painful to process and say that. But it’s the truth. And quite frankly… it’s not even close.” —Fight 4 Florida’s Future executive director Pamela Keith
Dumb and dumber: “White Americans might not have really felt true fear before 9/11 because they never felt what it meant to be accessible, vulnerable, and on the receiving side of military violence at home. But, white Americans’ experiences are not a stand-in for ‘America.’ Plenty of us Americans know what it’s like to experience fear and we knew before 9/11. For a lot of us, we know fear because of other Americans. We have to be more honest about what 9/11 was and what it wasn’t. It was an attack on the heteropatriarchal capitalistic systems that America relies upon to wrangle other countries into passivity. It was an attack on the systems many white Americans fight to protect.” —Syracuse University professor Jenn M. Jackson
And last… “The Taliban have killed thousands of American troops, but Joe Biden has empathy for them. He thinks they’re going through an existential crisis. For his fellow Americans who may be hesitant to get the vaccine? Biden despises them. That’s who Joe Biden is.” —Senator Tom Cotton
It’s fair to say that the significant number of evangelical Christians who supported President Trump in the election of 2016 did so for one primary reason: the judiciary. I feel confident that’s the case, because when I pressed my concerns about Trump’s character and honesty with these fellow believers, this was the rationale I heard repeatedly.
“The Chinese military is currently conducting a feasibility study about the effect of sending workers, soldiers and other staff related to its foreign economic investment program known as the Belt and Road Initiative in the coming years to Bagram, according to a source briefed on the study by Chinese military officials, who spoke to U.S. News on the condition of anonymity.”
As Moon Unit Zappa used to say, “Gag me with a spoon!”
Feasibility study? You don’t have to be Nostradamus to figure out how that’s going to turn out, assuming it hasn’t been done already and this is just a masquerade.
Why wouldn’t the Chinese take over Bagram? It’s sitting there.
And no real estate could be more apt for their Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as One Belt, One Road), essentially a large-scale bait-and-switch operation. The Chinese—in reality the Chinese Communist Party—lends the poor country—in this case the impoverished Taliban—money to modernize their infrastructure with the caveat that, if they don’t pay off the loan in a certain amount of time, guess who owns said infrastructure?
A president has no authority to tell the people of America that his “patience is wearing thin” with them. A government bureaucrat has no right to express that thought to the citizenry who pay his or her salary.
The Bible tells us that those who are not in Christ are tormented like slaves by the fear of death and judgment (Hebrews 2:15), but it also tells us that those who are in Christ have received the spirit of adoption, not the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear (Romans 8:15)…
John MacArthur compares the irrational fear of COVID to the fear of the coming judgment of God. People are afraid to die because they are afraid of God’s wrath, even if they openly deny it.
FOX News host Mark Levin spoke against President Biden’s latest Covid vaccine mandate on Sunday night. “This is tyranny, and it is getting more aggressive,” Levin said. ” Joe Biden gave a speech the other day, he always walks off, he never takes questions, like he is some kind of a dictator. He is the closest thing we have to a dictator yet,” the host said. “He does not treat you as a citizen, he is yelling at you, condemning you, he’s filled with scorn, you are not doing what he told you to do, 80 million of you are unvaccinated. You are the reason people are dying, you are the reason there is a spread, you’re the reason there are these variants, not him.”
Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), thinks evil communists are out to destroy America and your freedom.
General Flynn explains, “Transitioning to all the noise that is bombarding the American psyche, it’s all intentional. Don’t think this is all a bunch of haphazard things that are happening within our country…”
“The bigger 60,000 foot strategic view is that the country is being taken over by a very small minority of people that we call the Left, which are really a group of Marxists and communists who have decided over decades, and this is not just about Trump, have decided now is the time to do it . . . and they did. They outmaneuvered the Republican establishment during this last November election…
Let’s talk about what’s coming out of Arizona. Everybody knows this election was stolen. No way in the world 80 million people voted for the administration occupying the White House—no way…
This is no longer a conspiracy theory about election fraud. This is a conspiracy alright, but it is a conspiracy within a group of people that stole the U.S. Presidential Election and also stole parts of the down ballot votes, meaning the Senators and Congressmen.”