For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
– 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Who are you living for? Or to rephrase it for English teachers, for whom are you living? Either way, when you make decisions about how you’re going to spend the next twenty minutes or the next twenty years, whose priorities drive those decisions? Do you make those decisions with a conscious awareness of the fact that you belong to someone other than yourself?
In our culture, possibly more than in any other, we bristle at the idea of being owned by someone. We’re not used to absolute authority. In our world of at-will employment and no-fault divorce, we’re unaccustomed to permanent relationships that require us to serve another without condition. But Scripture makes it clear that we are in just such a relationship. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 describes this by telling us that we are not our own, because we have been bought with a price.
Much could be said about the fact that we are owned by Christ. But for now, it is worth simply considering the fundamental fact that we belong to Him and not to ourselves. We are not volunteers or independent contractors or employees. In the happiest imaginable way, we are His property. Therefore, His will takes absolute precedence over our own.
This passage makes it clear that this relationship has been brought about by Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf. Christ’s work for us should result in our living for Him, and it’s important to understand just how these two things are connected. Our motivation to live for Him is not simply a matter of gratitude, but of ownership. It’s one thing to serve someone who has paid your debts. It’s another thing to serve someone who has purchased you.
It is also important to remember that while Christ’s will is the ruling principle in our lives, we are still called to make real decisions. We don’t have every required step of our lives listed out for us. But we are to make those decisions in light of the priorities of the One to whom we belong, and to whom we will each give an account.
And what is the central priority of that One? It is love – first to God, and then to man. So this living for the One who died for us is another way of describing the idea of being controlled by the love of Christ. Christ died and rose again for us, so that we might be united to His death and resurrection, and might as a result live a life that is subject to His universal rule. In other words, a life controlled by the love of Christ.
May we prayerfully pursue this life together by the power of His Spirit and His Word.