Belonging To Christ
William R. John
In 1972, for every 100,000 people in America, 131 people committed suicide. While the ratio of suicides to those who die by other means is undoubtedly very small, the suicide rate is yet quite significant. Psychologists agree that the primary reason for all suicides is based upon a state of loneliness which exists within the person. It is necessary for each person to feel wanted and needed; to have a keen sense of belonging.
In a recent article of a particular series in the Indianapolis Star entitled, "America And The Future Of Man," Dr. Carl Rodgers, a psychologist of the University of California, seems to tie man's future to his ability toward being accepted or toward belonging. He states, "A final direction I would stress in this emerging person (the man of the future W.R.J.) is a thrust toward community. In the midst of a culture becoming more dehumanized, more alienated, this .person is not content to be a stranger. He is following his own deep drive - a tendency I believe inherent in the human species -toward community. He wants to be known. accepted, close (Emphasis Mine - W.R.J.)."
Christians, more than those of the world, should know what it means to belong or, if you please, "to be known, accepted, close." Paul says, "Among whom are ye also, called to be Jesus Christ's" (Romans 1:6 ASV; Emphasis Mine -W.R.J.). Christians belong to Christ with the feeling of being wanted and needed, with the state of loneliness cast aside as we are drawn close to Him.
Many children of God, however, fail to grasp the full meaning of belonging to Christ. Paul expresses his relationship with Christ very simply in Romans 1:1 when he says, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ." The same relationship is upheld in Romans 6:17-18; "But thanks be to God, that whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness."
The words servant and servants as used above are derived from the Greek word "doulos, "which means and signifies a state of slavery or bondage. This state of slavery exists because we are bought and paid for (Acts 20:28). Many times we emphasize that Christ Jesus purchased us or paid the price for our sins, but we often place little or no emphasis on the "slave" portion of the relationship. Let us quit palming off cheap grace. If we are not a slave to righteousness, let us forget about being bought.
Too often we try to rationalize thusly (and since when does a slave have this right) when we wish to do something a little on the "shady" side: "Well, what's wrong with it?," "You can't show me where it's wrong!," or "The Lord did not say not to do it!" Where is the attitude among the servants of Christ which compels us to say, "Speak, Lord, and thy servant heareth," "Thou art the potter and I am the clay" or "Lord, what do you want me to do?" Slaves of Christ have this type of disposition.
Stephen stood before the Jews (Acts 7), Philip went to Samaria (Acts 8), and Paul was stoned and left for dead at Lystra (Acts 14). Each man knew what it was like to be alone, but never were they lonely, unwanted, or unneeded. Why? Because they belonged to Christ as His slave, they belonged to His body, the church, and they belonged to His cause. That which sustained them in death, in persecution, and tribulation will also sustain us if we only have the will and desire to truly belong. Our sustenance as we live this life in view of an eternity in heaven, is summed up in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: "Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body."
Truth Magazine, XVIII:19, p. 2