1 Corinthians 6: Don’t you know that you are not your own?

“What is your comfort in life and in death?” begins the Heidelberg Catechism. And it answers, “That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.”

The Catechism is drawing directly from Paul, who asks: Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Spirit? Don’t you know that you were bought with a price? Don’t you know that you are not your own?

Our world thinks otherwise. The world tells us that we belong to ourselves alone and are free to do whatever we want with ourselves. The only limit is that we can’t limit another person’s freedom to do whatever he wants with himself. That is the gospel of the modern world, the gospel of John Locke.

It is not the Christian gospel, which says instead: You are not your own.

Your hands are not yours; they belong to Jesus. Your heart is not yours; Jesus owns it. Your house and goods are not yours; all belongs to Jesus. Your children are not your own; “Let the little children come to Me,” Jesus says.

This is the gospel made visible in baptism. Two transactions happen at every baptism, two exchanges of ownership. Your son will be marked with the Name of the Triune God. Baptism plants a sign that says, This is God’s holy ground. Baptized, Zane will no longer be his own, but will belong to Jesus.

At the same time and for the same reason, you are engaged in a property transaction too. You are giving your son to God. When I hand him back to you, he will not be yours. He will belong to His Father and His Brother Jesus, because He is sealed by water and the Spirit.

Giving up yourself and your son sounds risky but it is not. What’s risky is protecting your property rights, holding on to yourself and your son. Anyone who wishes to save his life will lose it. Giving your son to God in baptism is the only way you can give him or yourself comfort, the only comfort he has in life and death: “I am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.”

Peter Leithart

Christ have mercy.

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