There are many terms and colloquialisms we Christians use that some like to refer to as ‘Christianese’. Many outside the Church and new Christians are unfamiliar with them, making them sort of an inside lingo. Washed by the blood, sanctification, evangelism, disciple, and… purchased by God are among the many things we say that can be confusing to some. We include “purchase of God” phrasing in our songs, conversations, and books; as the Church, we are referred to in Scripture as being purchased by God. (Acts 20:28)
So, what does that mean? I’ve heard a few sermons on what being a purchase of God means, so I’ll tell you a little of what I’ve been told. As a recipient of salvation, devoted to pursuing God’s commands, you are many things:
- A child of God (John 1:12)
- A member of Christ’s Body on earth, His Church (1 Corinthians 12:27)
- Temples of God’s Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- Held in the secure hand of Christ (John 10:29)
- An heir to eternal life (John 10:28)
We are all of these beautiful things and more when we are purchased by God. Many pastors will tell you this, but unfortunately, I have seen many stop there. While all of this is true and should definitely be preached to the Church, there is more to it than this.
I believe the specific verbiage “purchase” is intentional, as is the case with all wording in Scripture. This term gives us a better view of the full picture, because we can look to real world examples we are familiar with to get a glimpse at heavenly things we can’t fully comprehend.
So, let’s look at a typical transaction – a “purchase”. When you grab that soda at the gas station, (or water for the health nuts) you already know what plans you have for it. Namely, throwing it down your gullet. You walk it to the counter, exchange your tender with the cashier, and walk out of the door with your “purchase”. Here is where it gets difficult for some people regarding how this relates to God’s transaction:
The purchase no longer belongs to its original owner.
When that soda is paid for, it belongs to you; it’s no longer a possession of the store. In the same way, we no longer belong to ourselves. We belong to God Almighty!
Before we were purchased, our plans were our own, our desires were our own, our thoughts were our own, and our actions were our own. Now that we belong to God, it is our responsibility to give those things over to Him. Sound tough? It is… and it isn’t.
You see, before being purchased we would have reaped what we had sown. But as we see in Romans 6:23, the wages of those efforts were death, because all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23) As Christ said, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30) When He purchases us, we operate in His strength by linking our efforts up to Him, no longer in our own. So, things that would have been impossible for us to accomplish alone are no longer impossible. We are now directed by the Creator of all things that knows the beginning and the end.
That doesn’t mean giving up our desires is always easy. Our flesh wants to run back to that life that leads to death, so we must beat it into submission daily and live by our spirit, which is imparted to us by God. (1 Corinthians 9:27) And it is the best thing for us. as is the case with all things in life: the most beneficial is the most difficult. Putting down that umpteenth chocolate bar is going to make our lives better, though we really would prefer not to.
Thankfully, I have heard some sermons that carry the full message of being bought by Christ. I just wish it was given in all of those messages. Submission isn’t always easy, but it is crucial if we are going to follow Christ. As tough as submission sounds on the surface, it truly becomes a desire as we grow closer to God. Put your trust in Him. He can handle it.
Be bought; be sold out. Soli Deo Gloria.