Reflections on 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own. You were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.

The same week I was memorizing this, I was also nearing the end of Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis, which is essentially an abridged auto-biography. 

He mentions that one of the things that kept him from the faith was a desire to be left alone, to be not interfered with, and that he found the idea of a God who knew him fully to be unattractive and even terrifying. 

He mentions a quote by George MacDonald, whom he cites as one of his favorite authors, and in it we find the converse of one of the sentences in the verse.

The one principle of hell is: "I am my own."

The belonging that Paul talks about in this verse is both comforting and uncomfortable. It certainly goes against the spirit of individualism, and it would certainly be described by many as restricting freedom.

But it is also not true to describe it as a cruel type of belonging. Even though Paul uses words that conjure images of slavery–"you were bought with a price"–the type of belonging is not that of a slave to master, but rather a son or daughter to a father. 

The unspoken but assumed truth here is that we were slaves to sin before we were bought by Christ, and I think it is Tozer who in The Pursuit of God says something like "when we serve Christ, we exchange a cruel slave driver (sin) for a kind and gentle master (Christ)."

As Jesus himself says:

Very truly I tell you, anyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:34-36

It seems to me that the heart of this verse is pointing out that part of accepting the grace of God is accepting that he has a claim to our lives now.

We can't say: yes I will let you rescue me from the evil in me, but I also want to be able live however I want, and I refuse to submit to your authority. Our deliverance is found in our submission to God, not outside it. 

One thing that comforts me is that God is good, and he exercises authority over us for the purpose of our good, not just to exercise power, and not to crush us. We see so few examples of authority used for good that we forget that that is what it is meant for. 

Furthermore, we have to remember that his love is set on us, not what we can do for him or what he can exploit us for. He desires us for us, and he finds joy in our joy.