1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Who owns you? The common answer given to this question, even by many Christians, if you could get inside their heads and see what they’re really thinking, is that “I do.” A woman has a right to do with her body what she wants to do, we hear abortion advocates say. We might be quick to point out (rightfully) that a woman has no right to take the life of her child. But sometimes we accept the premise that, of course, a woman has the right to do what she wants with her body (just not her child’s.)
Under this contemporary philosophy that rules this culture, I can do anything I want with my body as long as it doesn’t obviously and seriously hurt others. Of course, we’re not really very good judges of this, especially since we can’t predict the future and we can’t, at the point of judgment and decision, see the long-term destruction our choices will bring. Under the ether of today’s ubiquitous media, we often succumb to this belief as Christians. I have the right therefore, to decide whether or not to go to church this Sunday. I have the right to decide whether I should spend time praying or reading God’s Word today, and I have the right to decide how much of my life I’m going to let God mess with.
To which God says “Baloney!”
God tells you that you are mistaken in believing that you belong to yourself. You belong to God. You are not your own but have been bought with the price of the Blood of Jesus Christ (verses 19-20.) Once you belonged to yourself, that is, in reality, to Satan and his world of sin and death. But at the Cross, Jesus Christ bought you back so that you belong to God once again.
In reality, you are God’s slave. He is your absolute Lord and Master and has the right and the power to compel your obedience much more than any human slave-owner in history. You owe your complete allegiance and obedience to God. If God says to patiently endure the physical suffering He has given you, you faithfully endure it. If God says to go to Ouagadougou, then you go to Ouagadougou. And if God says to take up your cross today and follow Him in a joyful game of Follow the Leader, then you follow Him wherever He leads you.
But you ought to obey God as His love slave for greater reasons than that God has simply executed an economic transaction on behalf of you and bought you. More than this, you are united to God. You don’t just belong to Him as a slave: you belong to Him as a part of Him, like an arm. If it’s true that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one with her, how much more so when we have intimate union with God shall we become one with Him?
It is this amazing, inexplicable, ecstatic union that Jesus Christ created through His birth, life, death, and resurrection. He who joins to the Lord is one spirit with Him (verse 17.) Your bodies are members of Christ (verse 15.) Therefore, whatever your body does, it is doing to Jesus Christ.So you belong to God. You are completely His, and no longer your own. You don’t just belong to God as an inert possession out there, though: you belong to Him as a part of Himself.
What difference does this make to you?
I’m glad you asked, St. Paul says. Here’s the bottom line: “therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (verse 20.)
Again, Paul is portraying such an intimate connection between God and ourselves that I am overawed. Actually, I’m speechless, as I try to let this truth settle in. (You might not hear or see me be speechless because in between sentences I paused for 5 minutes without you knowing it.)
Your body and your spirit are God’s. Paul seems to mean this in 2 related senses. First, they are God’s because He is your Master and you are His slave. But Paul also means that your spirit and body are God’s because He has chosen to unite Himself to them so that they are a part of Him!
My response is to be like Mary. For God says to me: “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among men!”
I am troubled at this greeting because I am not worthy of it.
“How can this be?” I ask.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Holy Spirit will overshadow you,” and I will make you my Temple, my dwelling place.
To which I can only say: “Behold, the slave of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
God has chosen to dwell in you and to make you a part of Him. Jesus Christ must grow spiritually in you, as He did physically in Mary.
How? By living for Him and by Him, one day at a time and one decision at a time. By feeding off Him who is the Bread of Life, and by choosing to live with Him and for Him in both body and soul.
Let us keep all these things and ponder them in our hearts today, meditating on the implications for our lives.
Prayer: My soul magnifies You, O Lord, and my spirit rejoices in You, my Savior. For You have regarded the lowly state of Your servant and have done great things for me. Bless me, Lord by Your presence in my life, and keep me from defiling Your holy Temple, through the Blood of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
Point for Meditation
Spend some time today meditating over I Corinthians 6:12-20. Meditate on the fact that God dwells in you and has made you a part of Himself. Seek to understand the truth of this, and seek to understand how God is asking you to respond in return.
Resolution: I resolve to consider the ways in which I may have made my body my god. I resolve to confess all of the ways in which I may still be enslaved to my own desires.
Pentecost, San Marco Milan – By permission of copyright holder