Last night I was reading in Nicholas Cabasilas' The Life in Christ. Cabasilas was an Orthodox Archbishop of Thessalonica in the 14th century. The Life in Christ is mostly a work on the power of the sacraments for Christian living. The final chapter focuses on joy in Christ. As I was reading I was really struck by his discussion of 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a, "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price." (ESV). I left the book at home, so sometime after vacation I'll have to post the pertinent paragraphs. Basically he observed how no one really knows what a man is worth because no one has ever really bought anything more than a body. No one has ever purchased the whole man, body, soul, and spirit. No one, but Christ, who paid an infinite price to redeem the whole man.
This morning at our monthly church men's breakfast, my friend Matt, who is moving away (sob) to plant a church (Huzzah!), spoke on 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a, and how we were bought with a price. His message was titled, "Gospelizing Your Sexuality...and Everything else." "Gospelizing is a great word. It's a nice Anglicizing of Evangelizing. (Incidentally, I think "holification" is also a fun Anglicized substitute for "sanctification"). His message took in the whole of 1 Cor. 6:12-20 and how the point is not to focus on right and wrong, but to focus on the truth of the gospel for all of life. Namely, that God has purchased us and owns us absolutely but his slavery is freedom (cf. Romans 6). With that in mind, how can we possibly turn from Christ, our master and lover, to immorality. Not only is that an unhelpful thing to do, but, more importantly, it just doesn't make any sense. We need to constantly gospelize our lives so that we remember the truth. After the message we talked some about how we can have that gospel perspective on our lives. I thought, though I didn't say it, that it would be helpful to walk around wearing a sticker that said, "Sold." Then I realize that I already wear a cross all the time. I wear my price tag daily. Unfortunately, it still tends to become more of an accessory than a reminder as does my daily recitation of the Jesus Creed. It's easy for reminders to become background and lose their meaning. The word "phylactery" also came to mind. Various guys mentioned different things they do, such as listing reasons for thankfulness to God or meditating on the obedience of Christ. Ultimately it comes down to two things. The power of the Holy Spirit and remembering. Without the regeneration of the Spirit we're spiritual corpses and nothing matters. Without actual deliberate remembering, howsoever you do it, no reminder will help. It's not technique, it's action.
Some quotes/thoughts that struck me:
-The chiasm of v. 13. The Lord is for the body as food is for the stomach. We are meant to be filled by Him.
-We think about God coming to fill a hole in our life, but God's not that small. He invites us to be part of his plan and kingdom work for the whole world.
-In the context of accountability groups we need to preach the gospel to one another rather than just confess sins. And in gospelizing one another we need to move beyond just proclaiming forgiveness to the whole work of the gospel: You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.
-Matt has given us permission to use other adjectives for the blood of Jesus than precious. It is "effective blood", "powerful blood", "costly blood". I like "strong blood".
I think over this next week I will work on memorizing 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 while I'm on vacation.
1 Cor. 6:12-20 (ESV):
2 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. 13 "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." 17But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.