How much are you worth?
Value can be measured in different ways.
Add up the value of your possessions, subtract what you owe, and you have your financial worth. If you owe more than you possess, you are insolvent.
According to Forbes, Bill Gates was worth 56 billion dollars in 2011. How much are you worth?
There is also potential value. If you can earn 1200 a month with a secondary school diploma and 2400 a month with a specialized degree, your degree is worth 575,000 over a 40-year period.
There is also lost value. If your education enables you to earn 2000 per month and you conduct a business that earns 1000 a month, your business costs you 12,000 per year.
There is also spiritual value. Jesus said: What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Matthew 16:26). The poorest faithful Christian in India is richer spiritually than Bill Gates who is an agnostic.
How much are we worth spiritually?
Without God's help, we are bankrupt! Worse than that, we are bondservants of the devil. Have you seen one of those spooky films where someone sells his soul to the devil? Did you think: How could he do such a thing?
Yet Jesus said: Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin (John 8:34). Through sin we are in the clutches of the devil.
One way value is determined is by the amount someone is willing to pay for something. A beautiful, delicate object that required many hours of skilled labor to make, might be sold at auction for practically nothing, if no one present values it. At the same auction, an old faded letter might be sold for a large sum if it was written by someone famous.
By this standard, you are worth a lot! God was willing to pay an extremely high price to buy you free from slavery to sin. How did God buy us and what was the price?
Peter explains: And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:17-19).
By sinning, we have rebelled against God, and we deserve to die. But Jesus died in our place, to pay the penalty for our sin, so we might go free. You are worth so much to God that He sent His son to set you free.
The church is the assembly of those who have been bought free from bondage to sin. Paul told the Ephesian elders: Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
In the first instance, we belong to God because He created us. Then, after we chose the wrong path and allowed ourselves to be taken hostage, He also paid our ransom. As redeemed servants of God we ought to live the way He wants us to live rather than according to our own desires. To the glory of God we should keep ourselves pure.
Paul commands: Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
In our so-called modern age everyone is encouraged to live the way he wants to live. The result is a sinful flood of lawlessness and immorality. Young people are fooled into thinking they can have free sexual relations without harmful physical, social and spiritual consequences. People live together without being married. Driven by egoism they do not want long-term obligations. They want to be free to walk away if difficulties arise, or just if they want to. They think they can violate moral standards without disadvantages.
A sea of misery and grief is the result. When people think they are smarter than God, it always turns out bad, because God's moral standards are for the well-being of man and society, and for the well-being of children.
The marriage relationship is holy. Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:4). By having a sexual relationship outside of marriage, one sins not only against the other person and against God, but also against his own body. He desecrates himself, he makes himself unclean, he defiles his own body.
In his argumentation against immorality, Paul tells the Christian that he is a temple of God's Spirit, that he belongs to God, and therefore must shun immorality. Someone who has been immoral must repent. From Christ he can receive forgiveness and cleansing, and the strength to keep himself pure.
Since we are worth so much to God that He bought us free from slavery to sin, we ought to dedicate our lives in service to God. Paul writes: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1, 2).
Peter writes: Conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear (1 Peter 1:17). Our time belongs to God, not just some of it, but all of it. Do we spend our days and hours in service to man and to the glory of God? Or have we been duped by the world into thinking that our time is our own to use however we want?
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15, 16). Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time (Colossians 4:5).
In the original language redeeming the time is literally 'buying up the opportunity', which means that we may not waste our time and possibilities, but must make good use of them.
We are not our own. A high price was paid for us, the precious blood of Christ. We should use our resources dynamically to serve God. Our time, money and talents should be placed at God's disposal. We have responsibilities to God, to the church, to our family and to all men, because we belong to Christ.
We must, of course, spend time earning a living and taking care of the daily responsibilities of life. But if our lives are dedicated to God, because we know that we belong to Him, everything we do is sanctified, and He has promised to provide. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men (1 Corinthians 7:23).
Although the sacrifice of Christ is sufficient to redeem all men from bondage to sin, one must obey the gospel to be saved. God invites us to participate in this gift of grace through repentance and baptism.
Paul explains that after baptism we are no longer slaves of sin: Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin (Romans 6:3-6).
You are worth so much that Christ died for you. Through baptism you can participate in His sacrificial death and be freed from slavery to sin.
Paul continues: For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:7-11).
Even when we were mired in sin, God valued us so much that He gave His Son to set us free. How much greater is our worth now that we are alive to God in Christ.
In gratitude we turn away from sin and submit to the will of God. Paul explains further: Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:12-14).
This grace may not be misused: What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! (Romans 6:15).
If Christians continue in sin, they fall back into the service of Satan: Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16).
We must be truly thankful that we have been redeemed by God, and show our gratitude by doing good: But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:17, 18).
Our spiritual worth, our spiritual wealth, is a gift of God's grace that is bestowed at baptism. We were slaves of sin. Now we are slaves of righteousness. Thus, we ought to walk in the way of righteousness, not in the way of sin.
Paul continues: I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:19-23).
How much are you worth? Your financial worth is of little importance. What is your spiritual worth?
Without Christ you are bankrupt, a beggarly slave of sin. The devil promises freedom, but gives slavery to corruption (2 Peter 2:19).
If you are a Christian, you have the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8). Your worth is greater than that of the wealthiest man in the world. In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7). Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive