1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 29
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998|
|There are two things I want you to see. I want you to think clearly now as to what Paul is trying to say. Why in the world would you run around attaching yourself to man’s ways and wisdom when you can live attached to Jesus Christ Himself? We belong to Him and all things belong to us.|
I Corinthians 3:21-23
All Things Belong to You
I want to discuss the phrase that is found in verse 21, “All Things Belong to You.” Now we know that we are dealing with the church there in Corinth which was mancentered. It was not Godcentered. They were babies who refused to grow up. You may say, “Well, you are just being smart calling them babies.” No, that is what Paul called them in 3:2. He said, “You were babies. You were at the time in your life when you were just babes in Christ.” But he went on to say, “You are still babes in Christ.” That is not my terminology, that is Paul’s terminology.
But think about it, the moment you don’t walk by faith, you are still in the nursery. You walk right back into it. I mean, you should just carry a little sign around and say, “I am in the nursery. Don’t bother me.” Churches are filled with people who won’t grow up.
Well, if it is not crystal clear in your mind by now, following the context as closely as we can, that Paul is saying not only don’t attach yourself to man, but don’t ever boast in man, it should be in verse 21, because that is exactly what he says. He says, “So then,” connecting all that he has said thus far. He says in verse 21, “So then let no one boast in men.” Now that word “boasting” has appeared several times in many of the studies we have done and also in Corinthians. The word “boast,” kauchaomai, is the word that most people think comes from the word “neck.” When you think of somebody boasting, you think of them sticking that neck out. I can just see those Corinthians walking around saying, “I am of Paul.” And another one walks around saying, “I am of Apollos.” And the other one says, “I am of Cephas.” They have that neck stuck out. He says, “Let no man boast in men.” The point of this is that boasting in men is in an absolute sense.
Now you have to understand this. Sometimes you think it is wrong to boast about your children. No, that is not what he is saying. I mean, come on, if my son hits a home run, you are going to hear about it. I am going to write about it in the newspaper. That is not what Paul is saying. When he says “don’t boast in men,” he is saying it in the absolute sense. In other words, don’t have a mindset that trusts men, that believes in what men have to say. Don’t live that way, you see. That is the whole point that he has been bringing out. Don’t look at the merits of man. Don’t put any faith in the wisdom of man. Put your faith into God. Put your faith in His merit and His worth and His Word. A believer who won’t attach themselves to Christ is like that little baby. He has to attach himself to what he can see, touch and feel. If he won’t attach himself to Christ, he is the epitome of a person who boasts in man. I don’t know why we can’t understand that.
Another term for that would be humanism. We drag it right into our Christian walk. If we are not under the Word of God, then we are being affected and infected by the way man thinks and what man does. Churches all over this country are built on that premise. So was Corinth. That is what he is trying to say. Christ is the builder of the church. Attach yourself to Him. He said, “Man, listen, I was your first pastor. Apollos was your second pastor. Cephas, or Simon Peter, is the unsung leader of all the Christians. But man, listen to me, don’t you ever hook yourself to us. Jesus is the one who builds the church.” Jesus said, “I will build my own church.” That is why you never ever attach yourself to the ways of man. You attach yourself to the ways of God.
Paul says back in 1:12 every one of them is affected. A man said years ago about the church of Jesus Christ in America today, “The Holy Spirit could leave and nobody would ever miss Him, because they don’t need Him to begin with.”
Miss Bertha Smith died at 100 years old. If you ever knew anything about Miss Bertha Smith, I mean, she was a saint. She came out of the Shantung Revival in China. Miss Bertha Smith said many pastors came to know Christ at her conferences she would be doing over in the country. They would come to listen, and the teaching on sin and the teaching on the cross was so powerful that preachers came forward and actually got saved. You see, in America for some reason or another, you don’t have to be saved anymore to be a pastor. Just be able to be a good manager, be a good administrator, be a good personal type of person. As long as you can stroke the people and keep them pacified, you can stay in your office.
Paul says that is not what it is talking about here in the book of 1 Corinthians. That is not the way the church is built. You don’t build a church to depend upon staff. You don’t build a church to depend on a preacher. You build a church like God built it, to depend upon Christ and to depend upon His Word. Even when we make mistakes, we come back to this principle because we want to stay attached to Him, not attached to anything of man.
Well, it is a stern warning to the Corinthian church and to all of us. Let no man boast, let no one boast in man. They had already fallen into that trap. I pray we will never fall into that trap.
The basis of him telling them this is found in the next several verses here. Now, it is kind of like you ask a guy, “Why do you want a cow when you can have the farm?” I mean, why do you want to attach yourself to man when you can attach yourself to the creator of all mankind? I mean, hey, folks, which one do you want? Paul is limited. You will never find a man who has it all together. I don’t care who he is. That is the fallacy of attaching yourself to men. But I want to tell you something, Jesus has it all together. You can attach yourself to Him and you can have it all. This is the whole point of what he is saying. Look at what he says in verse 21: “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you [now watch this] whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.”
There are two things I want you to see. I want you to think clearly now as to what Paul is trying to say. Why in the world would you run around attaching yourself to man’s ways and wisdom when you can live attached to Jesus Christ Himself? We belong to Him and all things belong to us.
Why do we have all things?
The first thing we have got to look at is we must look at why we have all things. I mean, that is kind of an interesting point. Why do we have all things? What makes that possible? I mean, all of a sudden here are these people who are babies in the nursery attaching themselves to men. Paul says, “What are you doing that for? All things belong to you.” I guarantee you that was a revelation. Why is it that all things belong to us? You really can’t understand it from verse 21. You have got to jump to verse 23. In fact, the last phrase says, “And you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” That is the phrase, Christ belongs to God. Now the literal Greek there does not have the verb “belongs to.” In the Greek it says, “And Christ, God’s.”
It is interesting here that the definite article is not used there, which describes the Godhead. So the term, “belongs to” God is implied, even though it is not in there. Christ, God’s. He belongs to God, the Godhead. Christ is God. He belongs to the Godhead. He is not referring to rank. He is referring to possession. In other words, He is God. He is possessed by the Godhead. You take Christ out of the Godhead and you don’t have a Godhead anymore. He is God, very God. It is one God in three persons. He belongs to the Godhead. It is who Christ is that makes all of this possible, not who Paul is, not who Apollos is, not who Cephas is, but who Christ is. That is what makes the whole thing open up.
In John 1:1 it says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The word for “word” there is divine intelligence. In verse 14 of John 1 it says, “And the word became flesh.” Christ has always been. He has always been the Son of God. He came to this earth.
(Now, when He came, His name was Jesus upon this earth. He says, “You shall call His name Jesus,” because that is what God said. If you ever relegate just the word “Jesus” to Him, you have His earthly life here. But when you use the term “Christ,” that is the term He has always had, the anointed One, for He was the one before the foundation of the world who stood in the portals of heaven ready to come and die for our sins. And when Christ came into the world they knew Him as Jesus, but when He went to the cross and they crucified Him and He resurrected the third day, you watch through the epistles, they turn that around. Instead of Jesus Christ, it is Christ Jesus, pointing to who He is, for all times, to His eternal essence as being God.)
Now, this a very important fact. We would have nothing were it not for the fact that Christ belongs to God. He is a part of the Godhead. He is God. Now we can begin to understand why all things belong to us. It makes all the rest of verses 2123 possible.
The second thing we need to realize here in verse 23, not only does Christ belong to God, but also he says, you belong to Christ. It is the same basic phrase there. It is just referring now to us. We belong to Him as He belongs to the Father. That is what salvation is all about. You see, I receive the Lord Jesus Christ, with His Spirit wooing and drawing me to Him, for no man comes to Jesus except the Father draw him. When I get under conviction and God reveals to me that I am a sinner through His Word, which is that seed which must fall into human hearts that contains the gospel, the good news of Christ, when I bow down and in repentance and faith receive the Lord Jesus into my heart, then I become a believer. Now I belong to Him.
Paul refers to that in 1 Corinthians 15. He goes back and shows them the message that he preached to them and what it was they believed. He refers then to their salvation experience. I think it is critical sometimes just to slow down on and make sure we understand what it means to be a believer. Well, this is what you must believe in verse 1. “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel [the good news] which I preached to you, which also you received [he is talking to believers now that he had a great part in] in which also you stand.” Now, look at verse 3, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received.” In other words, I am just a mouthpiece. It came to me, and I gave it to you. “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures [Christ, now notice the term], and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Since Christ is the possession of God, He is God, therefore, that makes it possible for Him to bring God to me. That is what He did by coming down to this earth. By drawing me to God and when I receive Him, then I become a part of Him and I belong to Him. Now, the literal there is, “you are Christ’s.” In other words, you are possessed by Christ.
Look in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 just to make sure we understand that we are possessed by Christ. We are His. He belongs to God. We belong to Christ. He says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” You are not your own. That is very important. Verse 20 continues, “For you have been bought with a price,” bought and paid for, “therefore glorify God in your body.” What was the price He paid so that we might belong to Him?
Look over in Acts 20:28. It is just as clear as a bell. You see, grace to us is free, but to God it is very expensive. Here is the price that was paid for you and me so that we might belong to Christ. He belongs to God. That is what makes it all possible. He is God. God coming to this earth to become a man for us and to go to the cross and pay our sin debt. In Acts 20:28 it says, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock [he is talking to the Ephesian elders there on the isle of Miletus] among whom the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood,” not the blood of bulls and goats. Hebrews says He was sacrificed once. His blood was shed once and it was sufficient. It wasn’t just human blood; it wasn’t just divine blood; it was divinely human blood that was shed for us upon the cross and for that reason, we have been purchased lock, stock and barrel. When you receive Jesus, you instantly belong to Him. He belongs to God. We belong to Him. We are attached to Him at salvation. We belong to Him.
Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians, attaching yourself to Him. We are already attached to Him. However, he uses the analogy of baptism and says, “Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I think not.” What he is talking about is, when you are baptized in the name of somebody? It is a statement of attachment. You see, when we are saved, God attaches us to Him, but when we are baptized, we make a public statement of choice. We are attaching ourselves to Him now. We are living that way. That is why Paul said, “What are you doing attaching yourself to me?” So when you are saved, God attaches us to Himself. He is in us.
Look in 6:19 again. He is in us. Now make sure you understand how much this is all a part of His possession. He is in us. First Corinthians 6:19 reads, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
Not only is He in us, but secondly, we are in Him. He is in us, but we are in Him. Why do we belong to God? He purchased us with His own blood and when you receive Him, He comes to live in you in the person of His Spirit but He also baptizes us into His body. We are in Him. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 he says, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” So we were baptized into one body.
Look over in 12:27. “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” Paul has the same exact idea in Ephesians. Look over in Ephesians 1:2223. It is just good to mark these things. But there are many other scriptures. Oh, there are so many more that I am not sharing with you, but I just want to get across the understanding why it is we belong to God. We know that Christ belongs to God; He is God. That made it possible for me to belong to Christ. It is a beautiful picture here. Ephesians 1:22 says, “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, [Christ’s] and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body.” We are members of that body, just like my arms are attached to my body and my legs are attached to my body, my feet are attached to my body. He attaches us to Him. He is in us, but we are in Him. We are part of His body. That is what the church is called on earth.
Look in Romans 12. Right before he begins to show the diversity of gifts there in the body, look at what he says. Romans 12:5 says, “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” If I had a big, clear bowl right now, and I filled it with dye and I took a white cloth and immersed it into the dye, what immediately happens? The dye is immersed into the cloth. So the cloth is in the dye, but the dye is in the cloth. You see, that is the whole picture here. Now that the cloth has been baptized into the dye, submerged in the dye, it has taken upon itself the properties of the dye and the dye and the cloth belong to one another. You can’t separate them. Especially if it is the right kind of dye, you can’t separate them.
That is how we belong to Him, purchased by His own blood. When we receive Him, we are baptized into His body with or by the means of the Holy Spirit of God, but also His Spirit comes to live in us. Therefore, we belong to Him. He is in us, we are in Him.
Now there are critical points to understand why all things can belong to us. You have got to know that. You have got to understand Christ’s relationship to the Godhead. He is God, the second person of the Godhead. He belongs to the Godhead. You can’t take Him apart from the Godhead, you won’t have a Godhead. But as Christ belonged to God, that made it possible for Him to bring God to us. He came down to man, went to the cross, paid our sin debt, and now He draws us to God. He is the one who brings us to God. So, we belong to Christ. Some people think that you can separate that. Well friend, as I understand it, you can no more separate a believer from Christ than you could Christ from the Godhead because the same terminology is used there. Just as much as He belongs to God, we belong to Him.
By the way, sometimes you ought to take a red pencil or something and every time we hit a verse like this, mark it in your scriptures. You will find hundreds of verses on the assurance of your eternal security in Jesus Christ. We belong to Him, not by any work that we have done, but by the work that He did for us on the cross and He now is the foundation in our life. Everything hinges on the fact of Christ being God.
What do we have in and because of him?
Secondly, now that we understand why all things now can belong to us, we also want to see what we have in and because of Him. Now, here is Paul’s argument. “What in the world can I offer to you when you compare it to the fact that you belong to Christ and all things belong to you?” I go back to what I said a while ago. Why do you want a cow? Why don’t you want the whole farm? I mean, come on, man. Why are you attaching yourself to a part of it? Why don’t you attach yourself to the One who attaches you to Himself? You belong to Him, therefore, all things can belong to you. This is what you are missing when you don’t walk by faith. This is what happens in your life.
Well, verse 21 says, “For all things belong to you.” Now, it would help right now before we go any further to realize what Christ possesses, because if you see what He possesses, then you can begin to understand why we can possess those things. Alright?
Look over in Colossians 1:16. This is who He is. He is God. What belongs to Him? Colossians 1:1617 tells us two different things about Him. First of all, He is the creator of all things. In verse 16 we read, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities.” That would be a great verse to put on your refrigerator, when you read the newspaper or hear the news. What belongs to Christ? He says, “All things have been created by Him and for Him.”
Christ is the creator of all things. But wait a minute, it doesn’t stop there. Not only is He the creator of all things, but He obviously is the possessor of all things. Not only that, He is the sustainer of all things. Look in verse 17. Why is this world still hanging together? I hear people all the time say, “I can’t understand why this world even hangs on.” I can tell you why, because all things consist in Him. That’s why. The moment He turns loose of it, friend, you will know that and there is going to be a day that He is still in control but it is going to be very difficult here. Verse 17 says, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Now, let’s see. All things were created by Him, for Him, He sustains all things. That means He possesses all things. That means He controls all things.
I think I am going to make me a deduction. I think we will put this together here. If all things belong to Him and were created by Him and are sustained by Him, and I belong to Him, now I can see why all things belong to me in Him. That is the key, in Him. In other words, in Him now I become an heir to all that He has. You see, we are joint heirs. Joint heirs is different than a coheir. There are eight children in my wife’s family and if they were to get an inheritance, coheir means that she would have one eighth of that inheritance. However, a joint heir means that you don’t get one eighth. Wouldn’t it be terrible if we were coheirs with Christ? Say there are 30 million Christians on earth. I don’t know if there are that many of not, but let’s just say there are. A person gets saved and says, “I am real excited I have one thirty millionth of Him.” Of course, to me that would be enough for you to shout all the way through glory. But that is not the point. A joint heir shares in all that He has.
So how can all things belong to me? In Him; because He belongs to God and I belong to Him and He created it all and sustains it all, so if it all belongs to Him, then in Him and I am a joint heir, it all belongs to me. Now, why in the world would you want to attach yourself to man? Are you kidding me? Let’s go to the source, the one who is God, the one who possesses all things.
The sovereignty over all things was given to man when he was created on this earth. Go back to Genesis 1:26. I am wondering sometimes if we have ever studied this, or if you have ever studied this and you have come to understand what was given to man in creation. I am not so sure sometimes we realize the significance of it. In Genesis 1:26 let’s just look and see what God says about creating man. There was a counsel in the Godhead and the decision to make man and it says, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”
Is that dominion or what? Expression of His character, an exhibit of His power. Maybe you don’t realize that man lost every bit of that when he sinned. But it is reclaimed, not in us, but in the Godman. And the only way you could ever say all things belong to you is when you say I belong to God. It is in Him that these things begin to work themselves out. You see, it wasn’t given back to man, it was given back to the Godman. And when you are saved, you are taking out of Adam and he lost it all, and put into Christ who has it all. And because He owns it, all things belong to us. It is in Christ, the Godman, that it is restored.
The phrase “all things are yours” actually is “all things is yours.” Now you say, “That is terrible grammar, Wayne. You can’t do that. That can’t be the phrase.” But in the Greek, as I understand it, when the subject is in the neuter plural, the singular can be used with it. Now this adds to the thought tremendously. All things is, are, ours but stop thinking of “this, this and this” and think of the whole all together. The whole is ours. That includes everything we have in our Christian walk. All that belongs to Christ now belongs to us in Him.
Before we take off on a treasure hunt to see what belongs to us, let’s stick to the context. If Paul had wanted us to know every single thing that is ours in Christ, that would have taken the next two million verses. But he doesn’t do that. He goes right to the heart and stays right within his context of what he is writing to the Corinthians. He gives us a list of the essentials that belong to us in Christ, only in Him. He is in the context, remember, of talking to the Corinthians about attaching themselves to men.
Look at the first thing he addresses in verse 22. He gives us all the context we need because when you get through this list, there is nothing else that you even want to belong to you, if you will understand it. First all he says, “whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you.” Look at that first phrase, “whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas.” Now that ought to ring a bell. Man, he has mentioned that from 1:12 all the way down to where we are. That was their problem, attaching themselves to men. What is he saying? All the teachers, preachers and gifted men in the body of Christ belong to you. Not just one. Don’t run over to Paul and hook yourself to him. Don’t run over to Apollos. All of them who teach the Word very faithfully have been given to the body.
Ephesians 4 says the same thing, that they are given, they are gifts. They were given so that we might learn the Word more, might be encouraged to be in the Word, might understand the Word better. But don’t ever attach yourself to one of them, because if you do, and he is off somewhere and you don’t know where that is, you have just bought the cow instead of taking the farm.
So many people are this way. That is his whole argument. “I am of John MacArthur!” Well, good for you. “I am of Chuck Swindoll.” Well man, do you realize what you have just done? You have just chosen one little tiny aspect of the teachers God has given to the body, because all of them are yours. They are the ones who help you and come alongside you and get you into the Word of God and help you to clarify that Word. The Holy Spirit is always your teacher, but God has given these as gifts to the body. They all belong to you.
Think of the body of Christ today, and think what they had been given in Corinth. We still have the same people with those pacifiers in their mouths, running around saying, “I am of him, I am of him. I don’t like you because you are not of him.” Folks, you are missing the whole point. All of them are yours. They all belong to you. They are vessels through which God can use.
Now he goes on and says, “whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world.” Now, if you didn’t understand what he was talking about here, somebody could jump up and say, “I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. Name it and claim it. I have all the world. The whole world belongs to me.” Sometimes I wish that doctrine worked. I would like to walk outside and say, “God, I love my Suburban. I need three of them. I am going to name it and claim it.” I wish I could do that and it worked. Wouldn’t that be great! Hey, man, just enjoy yourself.
What does he mean by this? You have got to be very careful when it comes to this. The world here does not mean the physical world. The physical world is under the dominion of Satan and is a temporary dominion. Why? Because of man’s sin. He can’t mean the temporary world. As a matter of fact, if you will think about it for a second, it was not the Lord Jesus who tempted anybody with the kingdoms of the world, was it? It was Satan who tempted the Lord Jesus with the kingdoms of the world. He owns them. They are his. It is his domain. Why in the world would God say that belongs to you? That is not what he is talking about.
There are many Christians in this world who don’t have anything. I feel so rich. People give me a lot of stuff. I feel a little embarrassed sometimes receiving it. I don’t run out and get it. Most of what I have is exceedingly, abundantly beyond what I have even asked God for. Sometimes I feel embarrassed because of what we have in America. Man, go overseas with us sometime. Just help yourself. Come on, go with us. Those bush pastors in Africa, who we bring in for the International Congress on Revival, come in and don’t even have shoes to wear, but all things belong to them, Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world. Now, how are they supposed to understand that? Well, hang on.
What we have that the unbeliever does not have is an understanding of the guiding hand of God in this world. The unbeliever who has the world’s things sees himself as a victim. You watch it in every election. They always have to make their stand on why the world is treating them this way.
But the believer is not a victim. The believer is a possessor of understanding of who is in control of this world. He understands what makes this world tick. He understands there is an unseen hand in control of it. So when he votes in the election in America, where we are free to vote, and his candidate does not get put into office, he doesn’t go running and bury his head and say, “Oh, no.” He knows that God raises up kings. God establishes kingdoms. And God takes them down. And whatever is going on, God is sovereignly in control of that. That is the believer. The world is his. He knows what is going on. The unbeliever does not. Christ teaches that He is in total control of all that is going on.
The believer possesses the world in this way. He sees the world not as a play of blind power but as a carefully oiled machine designed by love and God’s wisdom and totally under the control of what God is doing. His circumstances do not work against him but for him. World ownership is a matter of spiritual capacity, folks.
If we are willing to bow down before Him and become foolish so that we might become wise, we start to become possessors of what is around us. But we possess it through understanding. We possess it through appreciation. We possess it by the fact of what God has revealed in our hearts.
Let me read a quote by a Frederick Shannon. “God leases the universe to all who can pay for it in the invisible coin of appreciation. Deity hangs a sign in the window of every star, on the breast of every sea, on the summit of every hill, on the leaf of every tree, on the face of every flower, on the peaks of history, on the souls of immortal men and women, and that sign reads, ‘To Rent.’ The only rental fee is the capacity to enjoy.”
We have some cows behind my house. I talk to them all the time. I love a cow. I think a cow is the funniest creature God ever created. I love the look on their faces. They are out there just eating. They are always eating. Have you ever noticed that? They are always eating. Well, sometimes they are laying down.
I go home sometimes and they are all out in that field with their back ends towards me. I park the car, and nobody is around. I walk out there and say, “MMMooooOOO.” When I do that every cow in that pasture looks up, turns around and looks at me. I will say, “Okay, guys, I have a few things I want to talk to you about.” I will stand out in the back yard and talk to the cows. Now, I don’t have to pay for them. I don’t have to feed them, but I own them. All I have got to do is go out there, give them their call and they will come right to me. It is amazing. I just enjoy those cows and I don’t have to fool with any of it. That is the beautiful thing.
That is, in a sense, how we own this world. God gives us an appreciation for it, an understanding of what is going on, how circumstances work and how He is in charge of all those things. But then Paul goes on and says, “or life or death.” The word for “life” here is the word zoe. The word really means really, in the spiritual sense, the quality and essence of life. That is what it means. It never talks about the length of life. Life has been given to us, the quality of life. That is what he is saying.
Jesus lived on this earth 33 years. That is all the time that He had upon this earth. But look at what was written of Him. John 21:25 says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did which if they were written in detail I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written.” That much went on in His life in 33 years. That is what he is talking about.
My wife told me the other day, “You have lived about 25 lives when you consider all the things that have gone on in your life.” I thought about that as I was studying this. That is what he is saying. When Christ is your life, you have the quality and the essence of what He gives to you. It has been given to you if you will attach yourself to Him and walk by faith. You can understand that. You won’t worry about when you are going to die because you will just take it a day at a time. Christ will overwhelm you with the joy in those days. To truly possess life you have got to be a possessor of the Giver of that life.
Philosophers argue about life and death all their life. Paul summed it up in one sentence in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ [zoe] and to die is gain.” Philosophers say, “Golly, we have been teaching classes on that for 25 years and you said it in one sentence.” Well, that is right because only believers have an understanding of this. We know that life belongs to us.
Galatians 2:20 reads, “I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” Eternal life doesn’t start when I die. It is already going on, as a matter of fact. Eternal is eternal. He just grafts me into it and I become a part of eternal life.
Romans 5:10 tells us, “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by HIS life.” Have you ever read Ian Thomas’ book, The Saving Life of Christ? You see, we are the possessor of His life, therefore, life is ours. It is a possession that we have. We possess life in its fullest quality when we live possessed by Christ.
Paul said, as we read a moment ago, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” The believer knows that death is just from here to there. As I understand it, when Jesus wept at Lazarus’ death, it really means He shed a single tear. Physical death never bothered Him. What bothered Him was spiritual death when He wept over Jerusalem. Now that is when He wept. We cry over the wrong things, folks. Death has been given to us. It is just a door through which we enter into the presence of Christ. That is all it is. But we are scared of it.
I love 1 Corinthians 15:53-56. “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’”
Verse 56 continues, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Death is our possession. Don’t ever fear it. It is the doorway through which we simply enter into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. It never, ever, ever is an end to us. As a matter of fact, it is an ushering in of something which eye hath not seen nor ear heard of what God has for us.
Why do you want to get the cow when you can have the farm? In Christ, all things belong to you. Christ is God’s. Thank God He is. Thank God He is God. I am glad He is God, aren’t you? He is able to bring God to man and become man. He becomes a sympathetic high priest, by the way, because He understands what we deal with. But then, thank God He brought us to God. He drew us to God. And because He possesses all things, created them, owns them and sustains them, in Him we possess all things. So why in the world would you ever attach yourself to a little piece of what He possesses? Why don’t you attach yourself to the possessor and then in Him you will start understanding what is really yours. That is what Paul is saying.