- Chad Werkhoven
Romans 14:7-9 - You Belong
You are not your own. Do you find this comforting, or constricting?
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,
body and soul, in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven:
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
Read / Listen
Read Romans 14:7-9
For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Most people would classify life and death as mutually exclusive opposites. You can't be both: you're either dead or alive.
Christianity breaks down this division. Certainly there's still a big distinction between being dead and alive, but what the Catechism and the Bible want you to know is that while there's much that will change after you take your last breath, there are some significant things that won't change.
First of all, your core identity won't change:
So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s (v8b)
Just as you belong in body and soul to your faithful Savior Jesus Christ while living, you will belong to Him in death just as you do in life.
Second, your primary purpose remains the same as well:
if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord (v8a).
In other words, you were created and given life so that you could live to/for the Lord by using the gifts and talents you've been given to glorify Him. Although sin has marred God's image and purpose in your life, the gospel proclaims that death - the ultimate result of sin - no longer can keep you from fulfilling your primary purpose. In fact, it's through death that Christians are finally set free from sin and can begin truly living for Jesus.
Human beings are weird. We're full of paradoxes.
On one hand, our sinful natures crave independence - especially from God. But on the other, we hate to be alone. Even the most introverted of us needs other people in our lives.
That's why the opening words to the Catechism are so comforting: That you are not your own, but you belong.
Certainly these words bring comfort to the part of you that needs community, but they also stand as a solemn reminder to your sinful nature that yearns for independence from God's ways, reminding you that you belong to the Lord.
As you begin a new year, remember to not just live to yourself (v7), but to live for Christ.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Father in heaven, you are the Lord of life and you have conquered death
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: I pray that in all things, I would live to the Lord (v8)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Mark 1