Possessed By God
The significance of belonging to the Lord 

By Jon W. Quinn

“Do you not know...you are not your own?” Ohh? Did you think you were? Disciples should understand the concept as stated by Paul because they understand what God has done for us. We belong to the Lord because He paid the price for our redemption. Though we are also His by virtue of His being our creator, we had become estranged and lost. He paid the price necessary to bring us back home. We are His. “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.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

God Chose You
Note how Peter describes God's people: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10). He says that the people of God are:

a) “a chosen race” - God offered us grace, and we responded by faith. God chose us. He chose to make us an offer. He looked at me and said, “I choose you-now do you choose Me?”

b) “a royal priesthood” - Each of us are empowered by the king to kneel before God's throne. Through Jesus we have access to the Father; to offer sacrifices of praise and to make requests in our own behalf and in behalf of others.

c) “a holy nation” - Spiritual Israel, the church, is holy. The people have been set apart for service and glory which God has designated.

d) “a people for God's own possession” - We are His own special people. We have exclusive rights and privileges (these would include prayer; forgiveness; confidence; hope; peace; victory over sin and death; eternal life). Now, none of us are special in God's eyes because of God's favoritism, but rather as a result of being blessed by Him by His grace through our faith. He is willing and eager to take any man or woman who responds to His gospel by simple, trusting obedient faith and make him or her a person with a special standing before Him. (Acts 10:34,35).

Interestingly, these same four terms were once, out of all the nations of the world, reserved only for the physical nation of Israel. The Lord had chosen them - (Deuteronomy 10:15). They were a shadow of God's spiritual kingdom that would be established by His Son. God had made them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:5). They enjoyed a special status with God in accordance with the promises made to their ancestor Abraham (Deuteronomy 7:6). But these things are now available to all people who are in Christ, as it had also been promised to Abraham (cf. Galatians 3:8-9,23-29; Colossians 2:17-18; Hebrews 8:4,5; 10:1).

We also have special responsibilities and purpose to go along with our blessings. The text sums these up this way: “that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him” (see again 1 Peter 2:9-10). Because He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light and has shown us mercy, and has made us His people, we proclaim His wondrous excellencies.

Heirs of God
In one sense, all people are God's children - (Acts 17:26-29) - by right of creation. But sin has ruined that relationship. We desire that relationship to be restored, and grace has provided a way.

Christians are the children of God in a very special way. The relationship has been re-established. By faith we have been baptized into Jesus Christ and thereby have put on Christ. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27). It is sometimes called being born again. At other times the metaphor is spiritual adoption as children of God. Jesus even taught about this spiritual family. He said that it was His intention and purpose to do God's will, and He proclaimed that His family consisted of all those who do likewise (Matthew 12:48-50; cf. 1 John 3:1-2).

Paul referred to us as “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17; see also Galatians 4:7). We are heirs according to the promise of God - (Galatians 3:29). And, making the news even greater, our inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, and it does not fade, and it is reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4). As heirs, we have many responsibilities, including:

a) Being thankful for the inheritance we have (Colossians 1:12).

b) Abstaining from the works of the flesh - (Galatians 5:19-21).

c) Perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

If we wish to receive the promised blessings, we need to patiently carry out our responsibilities with an enduring faith. “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-39).

Pilgrim's Progress
"I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:15-16). Like Abraham, a Christian is a sojourner, a pilgrim while on this earth. This world is not our home (Hebrews 11:13; 13:14; 1 Peter 1:1). We are fellow citizens with other members of God's family (Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:20)

As pilgrims here who have a permanent home elsewhere, a home that God has prepared, we have several obligations. We are to conduct ourselves in reverence before our God as we journey; “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;” (1 Peter 1:17). We are also to abstain from worldly lusts which can harm and kill us (1 Peter 2:11; 1 John 2:15-17). We must strive to keep our conduct honorable and our lives filled with good works (1 Peter 2:12). We are to obey the laws, and respect the leaders, of the countries in which we journey here (1 Peter 2:13-17).

May the significance of belonging to God prompt us to always glorify God in our bodies and our spirits!

Some of the thoughts presented in this article are based on outline by Mark A. Copeland

From The Bradley Banner 2/1/2009
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
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