Who Owns Us?
Thoughts from I Corinthians 6
Although it goes against Western sensibilities in the present day, the Bible claims that all of us are owned by one of two masters. Using the servant/slave metaphor is common in the Bible in order to teach a spiritual reality. The reality is that all human beings serve something. Whatever we love most in life, that is the thing that receives our attention and worship. Everyone worships something, it is just a matter of what object or being they worship.
In I Corinthians 6, Paul speaks to Christians and reminds them that they have been bought by God from the slave-market of sin and selfishness. The servant/slave metaphor in the Bible suggests that all people are born into a type of slavery or servant hood to their own desires and selfish inclinations. However, when a person becomes a Christian, part of the process is God purchasing us, by paying the price on the cross, from the slavery to ourselves and our desires. Since He has purchased us, we are now doubly His possession. First, because He created us and made us in the first place. Second, because He has now purchased us back from our self-imposed slavery. Of course, this is a radical claim the Bible is making. But not only is this truth-claim radical, but so are the implications. For instance, Paul finishes this chapter by saying “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (I Cor 6:19-20).
This means that Christians cannot do whatever they wish. Rather their actions should align with what God has directed. Paul is really arguing that Christians do not have the ‘right’ to do whatever they wish because their bodies (mind, heart, etc) belong to God. If this is the case, no wonder God commands Christians (in chapter 6) to be mindful of how they act sexually. If God has purchased them, then Christians should not respond by using their bodies out of step with what God has prescribed. This outcome seems quite reasonable if you accept the premise.