Bought With A Price
Robert Wurtz II
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 NKJV)
Our passage offers tremendous insight into the thought process of Christians that started out well, but now were walking as unregenerate men and women. (1 Corinthians 3:3) If we grasp what Paul is revealing here we will understand much better a great problem in many Christian lives that prevents them from going on with God. When Paul uses the phrase, “do you not know” it can generally be taken to mean that many Christians ‘do not know’. This is either because they have not considered the fact, they have forgotten or they are living in such a way that it appears that they do not know. Let us observe the fact that how and what we think has a direct effect on how we live. Many of the Corinthians were in a carnal state of mind, living as if they did not have the Spirit nor were ever born again. Paul brings them around to the point with this tremendous statement, “…you are not your own. For you were bought at a price.” They had been living as if they were never redeemed and sanctified unto the Lord. Think of how horrifying it would be to hear this and yet know you had been doing sinful things with a body that actually and truly belonged to God alone. Now consider how Paul introduces again as he did earlier in 1 Corinthians the Temple motif. He had already said to them, Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1 Corinthians 3:16,17 NKJV) Both the individual and the organism of the local church constitute the temple of God. I believe both are in view in this passage.
You are the temple
A cursory reading of the Old Testament beginning at Moses would reveal to a person how absolutely the things of God had been set apart for His use alone. This is why reading the Old Testament is vital to understanding the New Testament. If a person never read or were never taught about the Levitical Priesthood they would have no clue as to the seriousness of the handling and use of the holy things of God. All of the examples from Nadab and Abihu to Uzziah and a host of others that profaned the temple or its members (vessels, etc) were written for our example and learning. Over and over again we encounter this issue in the Old Testament. People like Uzzah were smote dead on the spot for their error. (2 Samuel 6:7) Even when Jesus came into the Temple and found the money changers He took up a whip and drove them out. Why? The House of God is not an ordinary house. This demonstrates how strongly God feels about keeping that which is sanctified unto Him- sanctified unto Him. If I might so say it demonstrates our Lord’s reaction to the notion of ‘progressive sanctification’. The Temple is not an ordinary place. It belonged 100% to God and they that have been bought with a price belong 100% to God. The Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple could not be rented out for weekend parties, shindigs or any of that. It was holy ground and was to be treated with godly reverence. Now we can reckon with the fact, do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
Profaning the temple?
Now, tremble at this thought. Imagine it just dawned on the guilty person that Paul is writing to at Corinth that their bodies were God’s ideal of a Temple of the Holy Spirit in the earth and that the Wilderness Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple were only types and shadows of what God had planned. The temples made with hands were not where God wanted to dwell (Acts 7), He wanted to dwell in man. And yet these Corinthians had been treating their temple (the members of their body), that were sanctified unto the Lord at least as much as the Lamp stand, Laver, Veil, etc. was in Israel, as if they were common items. I wonder if some of them looked up on the wall to see if a hand had appeared with the words, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. (Daniel 5:25b) You will know that these are the words Belshazzar saw and then his knees smote together. What was he doing? He was using the artifacts from the Temple of God that had been sanctified unto God alone for party dishes! They were holy vessels unto the Lord. Perhaps this is an area that we desperately need to revisit in this dreadful age, the difference between holy and profane. All throughout the Old Testament, especially in areas that pertained to the priesthood, man was being taught that God is holy and the things that are sanctified unto Him are to be used for Him alone and are not to be taken out for common use. Even the most pagan of societies understand the concept of sacred. The things of God were to be treated with the highest levels of respect out of reverence for God. Belshazzar did not reverence God so he profaned and desecrated the holy things of God. What God did to Belshazzar and how God responded to what Belshazzar was doing is a standout example unto all Saints as to how He feels about irreverent profanation of things sanctified to the Lord. When God sanctifies a man He does so for His service. We are made kings and priests unto God. Very sobering indeed.
The Saint Belongs to God
When a person is truly born of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit comes in to take up residence, they become the possession of God instantly. This is an instant setting apart of ourselves to God as His unique possession. That is to say, were are at the point of transaction 100% sanctified unto God. I’m now using the word sanctified in the true biblical sense rather than the modern Evangelical sense. Modern Evangelicalism would suggest that we are being progressively set apart unto God, but this is a strange notion that has no parallel in scripture. It stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means for someone or something to be sanctified unto the Lord. Carnality blinded Corinth to this reality and it blinds today. God paid the full price to redeem the Saint and He retains 100% ownership and rights of property from the moment of transaction. God does not redeem man on an installment plan or on layaway. Let Paul ask us, Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. Here ‘were bought’ is in the first aorist, meaning that the event has taken place. The consequence? You are not your own. Who do we belong to? Obviously, the purchaser.
Imagine the enemies of Israel attacking the Temple mount when the shekinah glory of God was filling the house. If Nadab and Abihu could not stand before the Lord in disobedience when He glory was on the House, how could the enemies of God have ever stood? There is no reason whatsoever for a believer to be defeated by sin and Satan. The Fire of God burning in man consumes everything that is not of God. It is just unfortunate today that true sanctification has been so ignored that to discuss the subject almost feels heretical. “Because of failure in their own lives men lower the standard and tone down the message because they do not wish to preach something they are not living. When a man preaches his own experience as a substitute for the pure word of God, there is always a loss of power. This cannot be helped, because it is based on and proceeds from man. 1 Thessalonians 5:23: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctification, by intention and provision of God, embraces the whole man. God has committed Himself to this and He is faithful to do it. God makes a man holy in a moment of time and, if that man is co-operative, will keep him holy through the successive moments of time till the Lord comes.” (G.W. North)
Jesus not ashamed of us
One of the great challenges of our times is to get Christians to stop what they are doing and start to think about what God has purposed for them in this life. Jesus desires that we live a manor of life in which He would not be ashamed to call us His brethren. (Hebrews 2:11) Yet sadly and tragically today many folks seem to only care about having their sins forgiven and then they are ready to move on to a thousand other church related subjects from prosperity to politics, daring not to mention purity. Those that do touch the subject focus on how we are being sanctified as if we are called to live lives of sin- but ever slowly surrendering ground to God as He progressively sanctifies us. In other words, we’ll give God what is rightfully His as we get ready. As if a person is saying in their heart, “if I want to use my hands, eyes, ears, etc. as members of unrighteousness to sin, then I can do that.” Why? Because God understands that I’m being progressively sanctified, and I don’t have to concern myself with truly being one of His sons until I get ready. God forbid! What did God say, “And they delivered the burnt-offering unto him, piece by piece, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar. (Leviticus 9:13 ASV) Paul in the language of priesthood then takes up the subject, And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:13 NKJV) Piece by piece and member by member. It not just the blessings that we should count.” (Ron Bailey)
Present Active Sanctification
Jesus is our example in all things, including sanctification. He was the Temple of the Holy Spirit while He walked the earth. (John 2:19) Just as the Wilderness Tabernacle was utterly sanctified to God as was the Temple of Solomon, Jesus Christ was sanctified unto God. He was not being progressively sanctified, He was presently being sanctified and there is a great difference. What did He say?
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (John 17:19)
Here Jesus says “I sanctify myself” where hagiazo (sanctify) is in the present active. He does this so that we “might be sanctified” where hagiazo is in the perfect passive. Keep in mind that He made this comment just prior to the cross event. He was a mature man and readied for the final trial. The context of the passage is life in this present evil world. Jesus left the sanctuary of Heaven to teach you and I through the word of truth that God could keep a holy man ‘holy’ in this present evil world. So what did Jesus mean, “I sanctify myself.” Certainly He did not mean that He was being progressively sanctified in the Evangelical sense. This is the language of priesthood, purification and holiness. He is guarding against defilement. By using hagiazo in the present tense He is teaching us that He consciously set Himself apart unto God continually and in every circumstance. “I am not of this world” was a common attitude of His. He then continued for our sakes, And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are]. Keep them what? Keep them sanctified even as Christ kept Himself sanctified. How? When Satan came to defile Him with sin He told Satan that He lived (and we all must live) by every word that is proceeding from the mouth of God. This is ‘right now’ revelation and grace from the Father to deal with the present circumstance so that He could go on sanctifying Himself unto God. That is to say, He kept Himself unspotted of the world. Jesus was and is perfect and He has perfected us while simultaneously sanctifying us. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are (being) sanctified. (Heb. 10:14)
I suggest, that like Jesus we too must be being sanctified. Not in the Evangelical sense of the word, but in the same sense that Jesus used the phrase. We must consciously set ourselves apart unto God continually and in every circumstance. We have to do it the same way Jesus did it, by every word that is proceeding from the mouth of God. That is not to say that we will be without mistakes or errors in judgment (as Wesley would say), but that we would not willfully and knowingly go against the revealed will of God. Having been bought with a price and sanctified, we are continuing to be sanctified as we present ourselves in obedience to Him.