That God would chose a people to be uniquely his is heralded throughout redemptive history. To be bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20) and therefore belong to him as bond slaves is but one of the biblical metaphors to help us understand, even remotely, what it means to be his. Certainly the language and images of the market place resonate with the consumerism that drives life today. Still, the value of being his seems to be lost in a culture of much. Oscar Wilde said that a cynic is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. We know the price of being his. We don't value it.
So, the redemtive transaction isn't the only biblical reference to our being his. It's announcd in creation and in his movement toward the human species he formed from the ground. King David wrote, "It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Psalm 100:3). We are his. We belong to him. And, it's not a casual posession, an ownership like everything else in the created order. He told Moses and the nation, "Now, therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples..." (Exodus 19:5). They were to be his "segullah", a transliteration of the Hebrew word meaning valued property, peculiar treasure, perhaps jewel (see Strongs Concordance #5459). His elect would be his, his greatly valued possession.
Back to the pronouns. I am his. You are his if in Christ. We are his in a corporate setting. In New Testament words, we're his peculiar, chosen nation, the body of Christ, his workmanship, the ones in whom he has chosen to live. His bride (that will be mentioned tomorrow). And, here we are, in the twenty first century, the digital age, living as a run-away bride, fleeing the cherished blessing of being distinctly his, in his world but not of it.
There's still this ownership thing, this very basic and fundamental tension in so many of us individually and corporately. Whose am I? And, whose is the church? They must be the under- lying questions of our spiritually impotent days. If we are his, I mean, truly his, could we not expect the promises he made to his followers and to his church to be vibrantly visible even in this dark world? There can be only one explanation for times like these. There's been a change of owenership. It's my life and I'll live it the way I choose. And, it's our church and we'll operate it in the way we choose as well.
Then, there are the pastors and ministers and missonaries and servants caught in the crossfire of these ownership wars. Today I'm praying for a long list of them, name by name, situation by situation. Worn and weary, frustrated and discouraged, as many as 1,700 leave the pastoral ministry each month. At the same time the back doors of the churches constantly spin as 3,500 people leave the church every day. And, its not the music that creates this movement, the finances, the mission program, the denomination, the local communities, or even the people drama. It's the ownership thing.
Jesus said it in a way that could not be misunderstood or misapplied. He said "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Nada. Zil. Zip.
So, we are his. We must be his. Nothing is the result when we're not.