Articles

Articles

Belonging to Jesus

If I were to describe a common occurrence in our household, it would probably have to do with a battle of wills between two brothers. Make no mistake – they love one another, but this relationship can often be strained by jealousy, anger, and pride. Their battles usually begin with something small and insignificant, such as brother A taking away a lego man from brother B. The conflict will begin with a disagreement over the ownership of the lego man. Brother A will proclaim ownership based on purchase. He will assert his authority over the toy’s use and play. Brother B will argue for his right to play with the toy, because the other was not using it and he was not going to steal it forever. These disagreements are often solved by compromise, but then at times they become shouting matches of who can proclaim his side of the argument the loudest. This will require the parental units to end the argument by distributing discipline as needed. It is just another day in the household of three brothers.

The battle of ownership does not end in childhood, but rather it continues throughout our lives. We take great pride in the possessions that we own; i.e. our home, cars, and other valuables. We lock the doors of our home and cars to reduce the threat of anything being stolen. We establish passcodes on our phones and tablets to prevent someone from using our devices, or stealing them easily. Why are we willing to go through all of these steps to protect our material possessions? It is because we understand there is a cost for ownership.

The aspect of cost and ownership is no different in the realm of spiritual things. Our God who created all things desires for all men to be saved from their sin (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). The penalty of man’s sin is death; therefore, the cost of our redemption was great. The redemption of man’s sin required the sacrifice of the unblemished Lamb of God. It was for this purpose Jesus was sent from the Father to accomplish His will. Jesus left the glories of heaven and put on flesh and lived as a man (Hebrews 2:14; Philippians 2:6-7). He was tempted as we, yet without sin, and He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus came to fulfill the words of John the Baptist – “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

The death of Jesus is the greatest cost ever paid for the right of ownership in the history of mankind. It is through His death that God offers to every person His grace – the forgiveness of sins and a hope of eternal life. These things were impossible under the Law of Moses, but were made possible through the death of His Son. Why would God give so much for our salvation? Jesus gave us this answer in His discussion with Nicodemus – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The love of God is far too great and awesome for us to ever fully comprehend.

This love paid the cost for our sins! It is through the blood of Christ that we are cleansed from the penalty of sin and given life abundantly. It is through the blood of Christ, we are transferred from the domain of darkness into His kingdom of light. Luke records on the day of Pentecost and everyday since, “…the Lord was adding to their number (the church, bcj) day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b). We have been bought by the blood of Christ and placed into His body. The apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders in Miletus – “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28; emphasis mine, bcj). What a tremendous thought that God has given us the right to fellowship with Him through His Son!

The blessings of being one of God’s chosen is immense. The apostle Paul wrote of these great blessings in the first chapter of Ephesians. We receive redemption, forgiveness, grace, and an inheritance in heaven with Christ. We also receive the security of being one of God’s chosen. Jesus told His audience –

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand (John 10:27-29).

The sheep who continually walk after the Shepherd’s voice are given security from the Father. The cost of ownership is tremendous and God does not want any to fall from the grace He has extended.

The apostle Peter wrote similarly of this security in his first epistle –

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1:3-5).

The security of God for those who are called according to His purpose is enormous. We must never misunderstand His security as cover for our sins, but rather humbly submit to His will in every facet of our lives. If we live selfishly and contrary to His will, then God will withdraw His blessings, and we will again become slaves of our sin.

The cost of ownership is great, especially in the spiritual realm. If we are willing to protect those things we have on earth, how much more should we be willing to protect the relationship we have with God through the blood of Christ? While the argument between brothers over a lego man will only matter temporarily, the One who owns our heart spiritually will matter for all eternity. May we keep a proper perspective of our Savior’s sacrifice and the cost He paid for our sins. Let us be faithful in all things and He will own us on that great day!