God Owns Our Lives!

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God Owns Our Lives!

James R. Aist

“The earth belongs to the Lord, and its fullness, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalms 24:1).

This is, perhaps, the most difficult matter for us to truly settle with God: God claims to have the right to do anything He wants to with every human life, anything. What I want us to do while reading this article is to seriously consider this question:  Have I really made peace with God’s claim to His right to do whatever He pleases with my life, or do I stubbornly cling to the notion that my life is mine to do with as I please?

Just as we destroy our possessions if we want to, so also, God destroys even our lives if He wants to, as illustrated by the following examples:

  • The law of sin and death: The wages of sin is death (eternity lived in the Lake of fire), unless God saves you;
  • The flood: Sin was so pervasive that God destroyed the entire human race, except for Noah and his family, with a world-wide flood;
  • Christian martyrs: For more than two millennia now, Christians who refused to deny Jesus, including all of the Apostles except John, have been murdered for their faith;
  • Even Jesus was sent to give up His earthly life as a ransom for many!

These examples clearly demonstrate that God has the power to do whatever He wants to with our lives, that His sovereignty extends even to the point of our death. But does He have a right to exercise that sovereignty?

To answer this question, it is necessary to look for biblical bases for God’s sovereign right to use our lives any way He wants to. Here are two that have been found:

1) The right of creation (ownership by creation applies to all people)

  • “The earth belongs to the Lord, and its fullness, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalms 24:1);
  •  “Indeed, heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14);
  • “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and the earth is Yours” (1 Chronicles 29:11); and
  • “Who has preceded Me that I should repay him? Everything under heaven is Mine” (Job 41:11).

2) The right of redemption (ownership by redemption applies only to those whom God saves)

  • “What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God, and that you are not your own?  You were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
  • “Rather, O man, who are you to answer back to God? Shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does the potter not have power over the clay to make from the same lump one vessel for honor and another for dishonor” (Romans 9:21)?
  • “What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He previously prepared for glory…” (Romans 9:22).

Note that the lives of true believers are doubly owned by God, by virtue of both creation and redemption.

Have you truly made peace with God’s sovereign right to do with your life anything that He wants to? If not, then why not? It’s just the way it is, whether we like it or not. It’s time to truly “surrender all.”

Either Way, We Die for Christ

Either Way, We Die for Christ

 James R. Aist

“For to me, to continue living is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21

There has been an apparent uptick recently in the persecution of Christians for their faith in Jesus Christ. This persecution has taken many forms, including loss of property and/or livelihood, jail time and fines. Many have even lost their lives for refusing to renounce Jesus. These martyred believers have clearly died for Christ. But, what about the rest of us? Are we, too, called to die for Christ, even though we live?

Indeed, we are all called to die for Christ. While we live, we are to be dead to sin, so that we might live for Christ (Romans 6:11, 1 Peter 2:24). We may also have to suffer loss of property and/or livelihood, serve jail time or pay fines for our Christian faith. Jesus put it this way: “If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever will save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24).

For our further instruction, the Apostle Paul elaborated considerably on these points:

2 Corinthians 4:8-11. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; and always carrying around in the body the death of the Lord Jesus, that also the life of Jesus might be expressed in our bodies. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that also the life of Jesus might be manifested in our mortal flesh;”

Colossians 3:3-4; 8-9. “For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then you also shall appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death the parts of your earthly nature: sexual immorality, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. But now you must also put away all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie one to another, since you have put off the old nature with its deeds.”

So, you see, believers who are executed (martyred) because of their Christian faith die physically for Jesus and go immediately to be with Him (2 Corinthians 5:8). And, those who live on become dead to sin, make tangible sacrifices, live righteously and eventually go to be with Jesus as well. Either way, if you are a born-again Christian, you will die because of your faith in Christ and receive your reward in heaven when the time comes.

In the eyes of God, you and I are “to die for”, and Jesus did just that: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Our fitting response, then, is to die for Christ, one way or another.