1 Corinthians 6: 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20a you were bought at a price.
The headline intrigued me: “FIFA bans third-party ownership of players”. Soccer, or football as it is better known around the world, has the seemingly archaic practice of owning players; with this comes the ability to transfer such ownership (or selling such possessions) to other clubs. In this case, English clubs took on a practice that Spanish clubs call “third-party ownership” where, for instance, a wealthy individual or investment fund offers a club money up front for a stake in a promising player. When the player is sold to a bigger club the transfer fee is split between the club and the third-party owner.
Don’t get me wrong, while I would have been ecstatic had I been offered a chance to play professional soccer and while the associated money would have been very enticing, I have to think that the concept of being “owned” and transferred like a commodity would have been somewhat difficult to fully embrace. The whole idea seems to smack of slavery (of course with the glaring difference that the players are usually paid astronomical salaries).
As a Christian I sometimes fail to embrace that I am not actually my own and that I too was bought at a price. We live in a very individualistic and independent society, one in which rights are paramount and indebtedness to others is frowned upon. The idea that we are “owned” by another would not resonate well in the world, and rarely is this the enticing beckoning of a preacher teaching about salvation. But it is a Biblical reality and a teaching point that should, at a minimum, be taught to believers as they mature in their faith through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Today’s key scripture says: “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20a). And to further understand the price that was paid we read that: “18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1: 18-19). Not only have we been purchased, but we have been bought with the highest price that could have ever been paid for a human – the blood of the Son of God!
But what does that mean? I think all evangelical Christians who accepted Christ as their personal savior had to, by definition, come to that realization – that Christ paid the highest possible price for us. But I challenge you: did it ever transfer from your head to your heart? If it transfers to your heart, it must change your conduct (read the context of today’s scriptures and you see an emphasis on holiness). Being owned by God must change what we devote our time to – our agenda has to be dominated by God’s work in our life (Ephesians 2:10) and we must have an ear that hears God’s voice and follows His direction. Being a true disciple means that we don’t wallow in the sin that once entangled us, but we live holy lives, prompted by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). A realization that we are owned, must direct us to unashamedly and joyfully follow the one who owns us.