2. The believer’s body has become the purchased possession of the Lord.
This fact is plainly stated in the Scriptures: “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19-20). Peter reminds his readers that they were “not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:18-19).
(1) The Purchase of it.
No greater price was ever demanded, and no greater price was ever paid than that which God demanded and Christ paid at Calvary, nearly 2,000 years ago. Christians are assured that “all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:21-23). There is one thing, however, that does not belong to the believer, and that is his body! This belongs, body, soul and spirit, to the One whose “purchased possession” it is, to “the praise of His glory,” and who, one day, at His second coming, shall glorify it, and make it like unto “His own body of glory” (Eph. 1:14; Phil. 3:21).
Though the believer’s body belongs to Christ, it is now called “the body of our humiliation” (R.V.), for it is subject to disease, pain, suffering, decay and death. One day, however, every believer will have a glorified body, incapable of disease, decay and death. This will take place at the return of Christ, and it is termed: “the redemption of the body.” For this great event, every Christian waits with glad anticipation (Rom. 8:23 cp 1 Cor. 15:47-57; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
(2) The purpose.
Christ has purchased the body of the believer in order that, through it, He may express Himself and be magnified. Paul realized this fact and declared: “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:20-21).
The Lord Jesus is in Heaven, but the bodies in which believers live are on earth. His desire is to use these bodies of ours to accomplish His purposes. He desires to use our lips to witness for Him; our eyes to see the needs of others and alleviate them; our feet to go at His command and proclaim the gospel to the unsaved; our hands to work for Him, and our ears to listen to His voice and translate His will into the terms of a life lived to His honor and praise. 2 Thessalonians 1:12 sums up the whole matter. Mark the words carefully: “That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the Christian ideal. May it be ours to make it our ambition to fulfill it!
(3) The believer’s body should be presented, as a living sacrifice, to the Lord.
Paul, by the Spirit, after a masterly setting forth of the mercies of God in the provision of His free, full and eternal salvation, appeals thus to the believers to whom he is writing: “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).
This is one of the great passages of the greatest of all books, the Bible. It should be carefully read, preferably upon one’s knees and in privacy, and prayerfully and sincerely considered by every Christian and allowed to challenge him in respect to his life as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are thousands of professing Christians who are living aimless, shallow, purposeless and fruitless lives, because they have never honestly faced this stirring appeal, and responded to it by a glad dedication of their bodies to the Lord whom they profess has bought them to be His possession.
Remember, this appeal was made to these who had already been saved by the grace of God, whose bodies were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and who had been “blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.” It is not a formal command, but a loving appeal, based on their possession of the multitudinous mercies of God, and who desires the glad response of their appreciation of all He is and has done for them.
Perhaps a true incident may serve to illustrate this presentation of one’s body to the Lord as a willing and glad sacrifice. Many years ago, and under compulsion, the great Kohinoor diamond was ceded to Great Britain by a very young Rajah in India. When this Rajah had grown to manhood, he paid a visit to England and was received by Queen Victoria, who asked him if there was anything she could do that would make his visit more pleasurable. He replied: “Yes, Your Majesty. I would like to see the Kohinoor diamond, which was once in my possession as a child, but which was taken from me, and is now owned by Great Britain.” The Queen granted his request and the beautiful gem was placed in his hand. After he had examined the diamond carefully and appreciated its great beauty and worth, he handed it back to the Queen and said: “Your Majesty, this jewel was taken from me as a child, when I did not appreciate its beauty and value; but now, fully realizing both its beauty and great value, I gladly present it to Your Majesty.”
Surely this beautifully illustrates what is involved by the willing presentation of our bodies to the Lord. When we were first saved, we did not fully realise all that was involved in our salvation. We thought chiefly of deliverance from hell and of the forgiveness of our sins, and the possession of eternal life. But now, fully aware of the fact that we were bought by Him, we are privileged, out of gratitude, to present our bodies to Him that He may be glorified through them. May it be ours to say:
“Not my own, O Lord,
Thine alone I’d be;
Take Thou full control
As I yield to Thee.
By a righteous life,
Service, glad and free:
Glorify Thyself, O Lord,
Just as Thou wilt through me!”