Jesus Warned Us; Don’t Be Discouraged

We live in a divided age. Many folks lament the seemingly unbridgeable gap between those on opposite ends of the political and philosophical spectrum. Even many Christians are heartbroken and deeply distressed.

It is right, on the one hand, for us to be disturbed. After all, as we see people hurting each other and going against the word and ways of the Lord, we should be sorrowful. We should be ready to weep with those who weep. And we should be genuinely and righteously angry over sin.

At the same time, I wonder how much of the distress that Christians are feeling today is because we are surprised. If in fact we have allowed ourselves to be surprised by this age and its evil, I fear that we have somehow swallowed a lie. Our surprise has to do with the dissonance between the falsehood we have believed and the true and biblical reality of our situation.

Christian, do you expect this life to be peaceful? Do you believe that, if you just behave kindly and live as a productive part of your community that the world will treat you well? Do you believe that, if your church does kind acts—picks up the garbage in the local park, makes lunches for teachers, hands out food for the homeless, washes the local library’s windows, walks dogs at the Humane Society—that the world will love your church? Do you believe that, if we will just compromise a little bit on seemingly secondary moral issues that the world will leave us alone?

I want us to be faithful and kind as citizens in our community. And I want us to live lives of such a salty flavor that the world will see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. And I want us to embrace causes of righteousness and justice. But, and this is important, if you expect that the world will embrace us, you are mistaken, dangerously mistaken.

Luke 12:51-53 – 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

In my daily reading, I ran across the paragraph above. There Jesus reminds his hearers that he came not to bring peace but division. Jesus knew that his gospel and the word of the Holy God will cause people to be in conflict. Families, communities, and nations will turn against one another. This is not because Jesus is a violent insurrectionist. But it is because the ways of the Lord and the sin of the world are infinitely separated by a gap that cannot be narrowed.

As time goes by, Christian, if you genuinely embrace the word of the Lord and genuinely follow the Savior, you will find yourself at odds with the world around you. People will see that you cannot applaud and embrace what they do and how they think. And in our fallen world, people will eventually hate you for not applauding them. Eventually, the world will demand that you bow down to their idols. And if you will not bow, they will begin to heat the fiery furnaces.

I do not tell us this today in order to discourage us. Instead, I say this to hopefully remind us of the need for steel in our characters. We need to be willing to suffer. We need to be willing to die instead of embrace sin. We need to be willing to speak the truth, even when speaking that truth could cause us to be turned out of our homes or fired from our jobs.

If you know me, you know that I am not here suggesting that we be intentionally provocative and insulting. I despise the ugly, snarky, insulting, gotcha language that I so often read from Christians in social media. I believe that we can speak the truth with respectful tones and at wise times. So, I am not suggesting that you have to be the one who forwards a nasty and provocative post or the one who somehow sabotages every family meal with an argument. Trust me, if you are faithful to the word, honest with your words, even if respectful, you will find the conflict without having to try to start it.

Christians, loving Jesus means we cannot love the ways of the world. Following Jesus means we cannot accept the world’s redefinition of morality. We cannot act as though lies are true. We cannot act as though all people have heaven awaiting them. And the world will hate us for what we believe.

What then do we do? We need to expect the world to divide against us as it hated Jesus. And then we live faithfully before our Lord. Share the true gospel. Tell the clear truth in a godly way. Love people enough not to pretend you believe a lie. And when the division comes, do not despair as though you are facing something God kept hidden. The Lord told us what it will be like to follow him. It is taking up a cross daily. May we do so for the glory of Jesus.

And do not let this division make you feel defeated. The Savior conquered the grave. The Savior promises his return. The Savior says that he will build his church and hell will not prevail against it. The Savior brings life to dead hearts every day. The Savior has the power to move the hearts of kings. The Savior will reign, and nothing will stop him. So, let us be faithful even as we pray, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”

Why Be Thankful?

I’m glad today to live where I do and when I do. I’m grateful for all who have sacrificed and served to give me what I have. I am grateful for the opportunities and the freedoms that I experience. I’m grateful to have family, friends, and a church who love me. And these are not the primary reason I’m thankful today.

Why be thankful? I am created by the God who made the universe. He gave me value and a purpose. And I, like all of humanity, promptly refused to fulfill that purpose. I have failed to be perfect from conception forward. And the God who made me could very rightly have cast me into hell immediately.

I am grateful, however, because the God who made me, against whom I have rebelled, chose to rescue me. God the Father sent Jesus, God the Son, into the world as a man to accomplish some amazing things. Jesus lived a perfect human life—the life I should have lived but could not. Jesus died as a sacrifice on the cross—suffering the death I deserve to die. Jesus rose from the grave—a feat I could have never accomplished and which proves his success and his glorious identity. And Jesus brought me salvation.

God has said that all who will repent and believe, all who will genuinely come to Jesus and Jesus alone for salvation, will be saved. When God brought me to trust in Jesus, he gave me glorious gifts. God applied to my account the perfect life that Jesus lived. It is as if his perfect test score is written down on my score sheet. God also applied Jesus’ death to cover my sin—he died a death that would have cost me an eternity in hell. And God proclaims to me that Jesus’ resurrection is my own. Now, because of Jesus and Jesus alone, I know that eternity in joy with the Lord is my forever home.

Why am I grateful? It has nothing to do with politics, health, wealth, prosperity, family, food, music, or the rest. All good things are gifts that ultimately remind us of the good God who made us and who sent his Son to be our Savior. And I encourage you, be thankful like this. Be thankful for Jesus.

And if you do not have his salvation, come to Jesus for life. How? Believe that God made you. Believe that you have sinned in falling short of God’s perfection. Understand that you can do nothing on your own to bridge the gap between you and the Lord. Entrust your soul to Jesus, placing all your hope for all your eternity in Jesus and his finished work. Admit you are a sinner and ask Jesus to forgive you. Surrender your life to his lordship. By the grace of God, truly believe in Jesus, and you will be saved. And that salvation will change your life, reorient your priorities, and grant you the forgiveness and eternal hope that will give you true reasons for gratitude.

A Quick Thought on God and Politics

Let us learn a few things about our God.

Isaiah 44:24-28

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
25 who frustrates the signs of liars
and makes fools of diviners,
who turns wise men back
and makes their knowledge foolish,
26 who confirms the word of his servant
and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
and I will raise up their ruins’;
27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry;
I will dry up your rivers’;
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
and he shall fulfill all my purpose’;
saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ”

What can we glean from this text that is over two-and-a-half millennia old?

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,

Our God is Creator. He made all things. He made you and me. And he did so by his own power. We cannot imagine this type of awesome power. You and I can create nothing. We can take existing material and fashion it, but we create nothing from nothing.

25 who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish,

God will frustrate liars. In eternity, we will not see the victory of corrupt news media, censoring social media sites, or evil politicians who would use deception to gain power. Neither will we find ourselves defeated by proponents of false religions and godless worldviews.

26 who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’ and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built, and I will raise up their ruins’; 27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry; I will dry up your rivers’; 28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ”

Here God speaks particularly of using Cyrus, the leader of an oppressive government, to accomplish his will. God intended that Jerusalem would be rebuilt in the late 6th century BC. God motivated a pagan politician, a man with selfish and godless motives, to send the people of Israel back into the land to accomplish exactly what God planned.

Can we see anything in the above passage to give us hope today? I pray that you do. God is mighty. God is Creator. God will not lose. Liars will not overthrow him. No politician or political party will thwart him.

Am I suggesting elections do not matter? No, that is not my point. I am suggesting that, whether the election goes the way I want or not, God is still God. He will use godly men or evil men to finally accomplish exactly what he intends. Our God will be glorified. His kingdom will come. His will is going to be done.

I would hope that you have voted in a way that best matches the truth of God and the standards of god in his holy word. But even more so, I would pray that you have surrendered in faith and repentance to Jesus Christ, God in flesh, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He reigns and will reign. And your only hope is to find his grace before facing his judgment.

Working Salvation with Your Own Hand

Gospel is found all throughout the Old Testament. We see clear pointers to Jesus in the tabernacle, in the Passover, in Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac, or in Noah’s ark. But we can also find pictures of the gospel in places we do not expect as well.

I found myself thinking of the more subtle presence of the gospel when reading about three strange yet similar incidents in the life of David in 1 Samuel 24-26. In 1 Samuel 24, David has the chance to kill King Saul in a cave. David nearly does, but instead cuts off a corner of the king’s robe. And David feels guilt for stretching out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and repents. In 1 Samuel 25, David straps on his sword and moves to kill Nabal, a foolish man who insulted him. Abigail, a godly woman, intercedes with David and prevents him from killing the unworthy Nabal. In 1 Samuel 26, David will not allow Abishai to strike Saul down when they sneaked into the camp of Israel and took Saul’s spear and water pitcher.

Where do I see gospel in these incidents? Look at David’s response to Abigail.

1 Samuel 25:32-33 – 32 And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from working salvation with my own hand!

David thanked Abigail for keeping him from working salvation with his own hand. Tie that thought back to the incident with Saul in the cave or in the camp, and you will see that, in those incidents too, David did not use his own strength to accomplish his own physical salvation. And there is where I think the gospel pointer is found. In our salvation, the one thing that we cannot do is accomplish our own salvation by the strength of our own hands.

When we are lost, we have no hope of saving ourselves. The offense we have committed in sinning against the Lord is infinitely great. We could never pay the penalty for our own sin without spending eternity in hell. Also, the gap between our own righteousness and that required by God for us to be welcome in his presence is infinite. Thus, we cannot behave well enough, even were we to be perfect from today forward, to earn entrance into the presence of the Lord. No, we cannot accomplish our own salvation by our own hands. We must instead trust in the Lord to accomplish our salvation for us.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is that Jesus, God the Son, has in fact accomplished our salvation for us. Jesus pays our penalty, a debt we could never repay. The Lord imputes to us Christ’s righteousness, granting us the ability to stand in God’s presence which we could never earn. And all of this comes to us, not by our works, but by God’s grace through faith in Christ.

The temptation to earn your way into God’s favor is a large one. And it is an anti-gospel. Thus, we should praise God for every picture he gives us to remind us that we are not to seek to work our own salvation.

Unequal Yoking is About More Than Marriage

Do not be unequally yoked. When Christians today hear those words, we immediately take a mental leap to the issue of marriage. The Bible has been clear, from Old Testament to New, that it is against the command of God for a follower of the Lord to unite in marriage to someone who is not a follower of the Lord. This was partly why God told Israel not to intermarry with the nations around them (preserving the line of Messiah also was involved here). And it is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7 that a widow is free to marry whom she wishes, but only in the Lord (1 Cor. 7:39). And this is certainly a fair application of 2 Corinthians 6:14, that a believer must not yoke himself in marriage to a non-believer.

But the context of 2 Corinthians 6 is not matrimonial at its heart. Rather, the context is one of deep and treasured relationships. Early in the chapter, Paul talked about how he and his fellow servants of the Lord were commending themselves to the Corinthians through suffering, godly character, and the faithful proclamation of the word. This would be in comparison to the false teachers who were attempting to lead the Corinthian church away from being faithful followers of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 – 11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13 In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.

Paul is clearly saddened by the fact that, though he and his ministry cohorts love the church in Corinth, the Corinthians have been reserved in returning that love. The Corinthians have been divided in their affection between those who love the Lord and those who are preaching something other than the gospel.

Now, read the 2 Corinthians passage with more than marriage in mind. Read it with friendship and other bonds of relationship in mind as well.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – 14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

I believe that God is wanting us to think about more than marriage here. Our chief relationships, our most valued and treasured friendships, are to be with those who follow the Lord. Yes, this has to apply to marriage. But it also must apply in all sorts of human affection. It applies to who are your friends. It applies to who are your business partners. It applies to in whom you delight.

I am reminded of David’s words on this subject.

Psalm 16:3-4

3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

David said that the saints, those who follow the Lord, have his delight. David will not delight in those who oppose the Lord.

Now, Christian, ask yourself if your delight is in the people of God. Be clear that I’m not merely talking about family and marriage. With whom would you most like to spend an afternoon? Whose life most interests you? Who would you most delight to meet? When you have free time, with whom do you want to just hang out? Are your answers people who are the saints of God, those who know and love the Lord?

It is wise that the people of God delight in the people of God. This is not to say that we do not develop kind relationships with those who do not know the Lord. But our delight, our soul-refreshing relationships, must be our relationships with people who are going the same direction we are. We must not be unequally yoked together with those who do not love our God. Ask yourself how this might impact your thinking and your actions regarding your local church. Pray that the Lord give you a primary delight in him and the people who love him.

Unwillingness to Compromise

What are you willing to do to add people to your local church? To what lengths are you willing to go? How clever are you willing to be? Are there limits?

If one were to examine the broad swath of churches in the United States, I think that one would conclude that there are indeed no limits to the lengths to which people will go to attempt to bring people into their churches. Some are publicly renouncing the Old Testament, suggesting that to disconnect from those old and hard stories will be more appealing to the modern mindset. Others are compromising God’s word when it comes to standards of sexuality or gender in order to appear more appealing, more open-minded, to a lost world. Others have gone to lengths of showmanship only rivaled by Disneyland as they seek to draw in a crowd hungry for entertainment.

But, if we look to the word of God, we should remember that, though we desperately long for the lost to be saved and the church to be strengthened, there are means that are unavailable to the faithful. There are lengths to which we dare not go. This is not for fear of our own personal loss, but it is out of a passionate commitment not to dishonor the Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:1-4 – 1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

In the letter of Second Corinthians, Paul is clear that he will not compromise the word of God in order to attempt to reach people for Christ. Paul will not use cunning. He will not tamper with Scripture. No, Paul’s practice is one that is committed to faithful, open, clear proclamation of the word of god.

What about those who do not believe? Paul is clear in this paragraph that he knows that not all will believe. But Paul does not attribute their unbelief to his unwillingness to compromise Scripture. Instead, Paul understands, inspired by the Lord, that the unbelief of the lost is due to the blindness of their minds, the deadness of their hearts, rather than to Paul’s unwillingness to play fast and loose with the Bible.

May we have a deep desire to see the lost saved. May we be eager to communicate the word of God to every ear we can reach. But may we, like Paul, renounce underhanded ways. May we turn from cunning strategies. And may we honor the Lord by clearly and simply proclaiming his word for all to hear.

God Gives New Hearts

One of the beliefs essential to the mind of the believer is that of God’s ability to transform the human heart. As we study Scripture, we find that the human heart is so corrupted by original sin that, apart from a supernatural act of God, we would oppose the Lord for all of our days. This is why Ephesians 2:1 declares that we, in our former, lost state were dead in our sins. But then Ephesians 2:4 declares that God made us alive.

This picture was in my mind when I read another account of God giving a young man a new heart. When the young Saul first met Samuel the prophet, Samuel let Saul know that he would be the first chosen king over Israel. As you might imagine, this concept would have been hard for any man to believe. So Samuel gave Saul a set of three signs that would attest to the truthfulness of his prediction.

As Saul left Samuel, something quite special happened. God changed Saul in an instant.

1 Samuel 10:9 – When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day.

God gave Saul a new heart. In a moment, in the turning, at the first step, apart from any belief or action on Saul’s part, God changed Saul’s heart.

Christians, it is vital that we understand that the Lord is able to give new hearts to people. If we assume that this is not a thing that the Lord can do, we must necessarily assume that all evangelism is useless and destined to be fruitless. But with the knowledge that the Lord transforms hearts in a moment, supernaturally, we can preach the gospel to the most hardened of sinners with confident hope that the Lord will continue to save for himself a people out of every nation.

No, the story of Saul is not telling me about Christian evangelism. But the story of Saul’s new heart at this moment tells me that God is sovereign over the human heart. What God did with Saul was not a spiritual conversion so much as it was a character transformation. But it shows me that the Lord is over all, and I can hope in the same Lord to do in the important matters of salvation what we see him do in the less important matters of government.

Living in Tents

Watching television as a child, I noticed the strangeness of shows about armies in the field. People lived in tents, and they hated it. For sure, they valued their tents while they needed them. But one never watched one of those shows and saw army captains dreading having to go home to solid houses. They might protect their tents from damage in the field. But once they went home, those tents were only part of their lives as a memory or as a thing to bring out for a short camping trip.

People do not want to live in tents. We want to live in houses. We want solid walls and clean floors. We want our beds, not a cot on the floor. We want chairs and tables and genuine protection from the elements.

All this came to my mind as I read what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5 about this life and the next. Paul gives us an image of living in the now versus living in the eternal state. And Paul compares this present life to living in a tent but longing for a home. He also compares this life to living nearly naked and longing to be clothed.

2 Corinthians 5:1-9

1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

Our lives at present are the forerunners of our eternal reality. Our present state, even our present bodies are merely tents compared to houses. We live today lives that are real and which matter. But the lives we live are awaiting the eternal state. We long to be clothed. We long to be housed. We, if we know the Lord rightly, long for the eternal and sinless state of joy in his presence in resurrection bodies.

This concept is important at all times. But how much more is it important now. Today we live during a time of pandemic. Many are afraid. Some fear the disease. Some fear the social and political consequences of this time.

Christian, ask yourself how thinking as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5 might change your attitude during this season. We are away from home. We are living in our temporary shelters. We long for home. We long for the presence of the Lord. We are not those who fear death. We are those who look toward eternity with joy, toward life forever with the Lord as home.

No, I am not suggesting that government does not matter. Nor am I suggesting that you should be careless with your body. You are living in this tent at the present, and you do not want it falling apart on you. However, I am suggesting that you and I ought to be quick to remember that this world is not our home. To be absent from the body is to be in the presence of the Lord. Let that call you to live without fear. Let that call you to live for the glory of the Lord. Let it call you to obey God’s commands, desiring more to please the Lord than to protect a tent. Love the Lord. Live without fear. Long for eternity. And do all that you do for the honor of the God who made you.

Don’t Be Selfish with Your Suffering

Our lives in this sinful and fallen world are going to include times of sorrow and pain. It is unavoidable. All who desire to love and follow Jesus will face persecution as Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:12. Children of God are not immune to sickness, to sorrow, or to the other evils that mankind faces.

What we must remember is that the Lord has a purpose, perhaps many purposes, for what we walk through. And if we are to walk through our suffering to its proper purpose, we must look to how that hardship might lead us to glorify God and bring grace to others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

As Paul opens the letter of 2 Corinthians, he is praising God for comfort in affliction. And if you will go and read that first couple of paragraphs, you will see that Paul is repeatedly clear about a couple of important things. We suffer. God comforts us in our suffering. And both our hardships and our comforts are for the good of others as well as for our own spiritual growth.

Suffering in life is a thing that is designed to make us rely on the Lord and look forward to eternity. Comfort from the Lord in our times of suffering is to make us worship the Lord in joy and gratitude. And, comfort in times of pain is something God gives to us so that we can help others who face similar pains. We comfort others with the comfort with which we were comforted.

What do you suffer? I am sure it is real and painful. It is also a thing that should drive you toward the Lord, toward longing for eternal life in his presence. I hope that God is also providing you with a means of comfort. Perhaps it is comfort in Christ and in the hope of eternity. Perhaps it is comfort in teaching you to cope with hardship. Perhaps it is comfort in an escape from your pain.

No matter what the comfort, the Lord wants you to find godly comfort in him and then to help others with your comfort. Your suffering is not merely for you. Neither is your comfort. If we are to live out the Christian life rightly, we must be in genuine communication with one another. We must be comforting each other in times of sorrow with the very comfort we have received from the Lord in our times of sorrow.

What does this mean for your life? If you have suffered, don’t waste it. Where did the Lord comfort you? How can you bring that comfort to bear for others?

Are you suffering? Don’t waste it. God wants you to let others in the body know. Do not keep it to yourself. Do not hide your sorrow out of a foolish pride or some silly notion that you would dishonor the Lord if people saw that you could face hardship. Do not whine and complain in self-pity. But, tell others and pray with others. Allow them to comfort you with the comfort they have received from the Lord.

The Powerful Principle of Ownership

In Genesis 1:1, we find in the word of god that, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Later, in verse 27, we discover that the Lord created humanity in his image. God, by his will, by his power, for his glory, made all that is out of nothing. God borrowed nobody’s material. God used nobody’s ingenuity, insight, or power.

One of the principles that we ought to take from this truth is the fact that all creation belongs to the Lord. If you make it, it is yours. You may use it as you wish. No one has the right to take it from you. No one has the right to do with it something beyond your design.

This concept has powerful implications for our understanding of our own lives. God made us. We are his. All that we possess is actually not ours. All that is ours is a loan from God. We are, at best, stewards of the Lord’s property. This is true with our money. This is true with our time. It is true with our thoughts, and it is true with our bodies.

Greg Koukl wrote about this principle in chapter 6 of his book, The Story of Reality, and I found his words helpful:

The basic principle is a commonsense one: If you make it, it’s yours. When someone invests labor and personal creativity to fashion something of value, then that valuable thing belongs to them and should not be taken from them. The way the Story puts it is this: It’s wrong to steal. It’s wrong to take something that is not yours. The concept of private property, then, is an important one in the Story; otherwise the command not to steal would make no sense.
Since God made everything out of nothing, it all belongs to him. He has proper authority to rule over all because none of it would exist without him. That includes you and me, by the way. We don’t own ourselves—God does. Let that sink in too. When we claim absolute ownership over anything without the understanding that God holds the ultimate title, it’s very much like stealing.

Here is why this last point is so important. Nowadays, when certain ethical issues come up, it’s common to hear someone say, “I have a right to do whatever I want with my own body.” It’s a popular point, but it isn’t quite accurate, is it? First, no one can do whatever he wants with his own body, not in a civilized society anyway. Second, if God made us, then our bodies are not our own, strictly speaking. We inhabit them, of course, and have an important connection with them. But if God is God, then we are not completely free to do as we wish with our bodies. In the end, the Potter has the right over his own clay.*

Christians, may we remember the truth of God’s ultimate and total ownership of all that exists. We do not have the right to do whatever we want with our bodies. We do not have the right to think however we want. We are the creation of the Lord. For us to take ourselves to a place outside of his design is for us to attempt to steal from the almighty God who made us.

* Koukl, Gregory, The Story of Reality (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2017), Chapter 6.