Bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20) – Part 2

A recent post was on this same verse as we were examining doctrinal implications of this text from the apostle Paul. “What truths does 1 Cor. 6:20 reinforce or establish?”

For you have been bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body.

The last post focused on “BOUGHT WITH A PRICE,” and from this, we saw that we could be confident about our salvation because Christ is the One who bought us. The verse indirectly teaches that, having been purchased by Christ’s blood, the believer can be assured that they will certainly persevere to heaven.

In this post, we will focus on the “YOU;” that is, we will focus on who was bought with the purchase price of Christ’s blood on the cross. Who is included in this transaction?

To review from last time, this verse describes what we might call a commercial transaction. There is a buyer, there is the item purchased, and there is the purchase price paid. In 1 Cor. 6:20, the buyer was Jesus Christ, and the purchase price was His death on the cross. Now the key question: Who did Christ buy with His death on the cross? A thoughtful reading of the verse makes it clear that the Corinthian believers were bought with the price of Christ’s death on the cross. Because they were bought with a price, they are obligated to “glorify God in their body.”

We need to pause here to think about what we have discovered so far. Paul states as fact that these Corinthian believers “were bought with a price.” But how does Paul know these people “were bought with a price?” Paul knows they “were bought with a price” because they are believers who have placed their faith in Christ and have thus been saved. Paul is not writing to the general population of Corinth letting them know that they “were bought with a price,” the price of Christ’s death on the cross. Paul has absolutely no warrant to write to anyone or to tell anyone that they “were bought with a price” unless that person manifests faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, because the only ones we know “were bought with a price” are those who have placed their faith in Jesus and thus have been saved. If there was no evident faith, the assumption would be that they were not bought with a price.

From this, it is obvious that the “default” for anyone is to assume that they were not bought with a price, for why would Paul make this grand pronouncement that the believers in Corinth “were bought with a price,” and why would he make the emphatic point that these believers were therefore obligated to glorify God in their bodies, if everyone were bought with a price when Christ died on the cross?

From this we can draw some doctrinal truths.

  • All those who have believed in the Lord Jesus and have thus been saved were bought with the price of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.
  • That a person was “bought with a price” is necessary for salvation.
  • The “default” for anyone is to assume that they were not bought with a price. It is only the manifestation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that reveals that this person was actually bought with a price.

We have answered some important questions already, but the most controversial one remains. We have said that being bought with a price is necessary for salvation. That is, the sinner must have their sin atoned for by Jesus Christ or they cannot be saved. But there is another question, and that is, “Does the atonement of Jesus Christ guarantee salvation?” Another way of asking this is, “If a person was ‘bought with a price,’ will they certainly be saved?” That is, “Does Jesus save those for whom He atones?” There are many who answer these questions with an emphatic “Yes!” It is impossible to separate the atonement from salvation. Opposed to this view, there are others who maintain that Jesus atoned for everyone when He died on the cross, but only those who believe are saved. These people would acknowledge that atonement is necessary for salvation, but they would say that, just because Christ died for your sins, you have no guarantee of salvation. Christ died on the cross to atone for all sin and for every sin, but only those who believe are saved.

To help answer this dilemma, I offer the following example:

AN ENGAGEMENT RING EXAMPLE

When I had decided that I wanted Lisa to be my wife, I went to the jewelry store for “a commercial transaction.” I looked over the available rings and carefully selected the engagement ring that I wanted for Lisa. There were many possible rings, but I chose THAT one specific ring. I could have bought any ring that was for sale, assuming I could afford it. Or I could have bought several rings, again assuming I could afford them. I did not do that. Of all the diamond rings in the world, I chose that one particular ring, and then I bought the ring that I had chosen with the expensive purchase price. Once the transaction had been completed, most importantly, I left the store with my purchase. I was not going to pay an exorbitant price for a diamond engagement ring and then leave the ring on the counter! It would be absurd to choose a diamond ring and pay thousands of dollars for the ring and then not actually possess the ring. No! When I paid the purchase price for the ring, the ring was mine. (And now the ring is Lisa’s.) But the sequence here in my “commercial transaction” is important. I chose the ring, I bought the ring, and I possessed the ring. Chose, bought, owned. Every ring I chose, I bought, and every ring I bought, left the store in my possession. Also, there was not one single ring that I bought that did not leave the store in my possession. In other words, I did not pay an extravagant price for any ring that I left on the counter in the store. Every ring I bought was mine. That is just the nature of a commercial transaction.

In the same way that, when I paid the price for the engagement ring, the engagement ring was mine, so when Christ bought certain people at the price of His death on the cross, those certain people belonged to Christ. They will be saved and will not perish (John 6:37-40). “Does the atonement of Jesus Christ guarantee salvation?” Emphatic “Yes!” “If a person was ‘bought with a price,’ will they certainly be saved?” Emphatic “Yes!” All the ones that Christ has bought with the price of His death on the cross will certainly be saved.

On the other hand, those who hold that “everyone was bought” see Christ like the buyer of engagement rings who went to the jewelry store and paid the exorbitant price for the engagement ring, but he never took the ring out of the store. In fact, the illustration could really be taken further, because, in this view, Christ paid for all the rings in the store, and yet He did not leave with any. But does this make any sense? Who pays for a house, but never actually takes possession of it? Who pays for a car, but never drives it off the lot? Does Christ spill His blood on Calvary without ever actually saving anyone? Does Christ’s blood not atone for sin?

So then, all those who were bought with a price will certainly be saved.

SDG                 rmb                  4/6/2021

Bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20) – Part 1

The nature of a purchase transaction has not changed substantially in two millennia. The way we purchase things today is pretty much the same as the way that they purchased things in Corinth in the first century. This is helpful when we take a long look at what the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 6:20.

For you have been bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body.

In this post, I want to take a few minutes to examine this verse carefully with an eye to its doctrinal teaching.

PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS OR “ONCE BOUGHT, ALWAYS BOUGHT”

The first doctrine we want to consider is what is called “the perseverance of the saints,” that is perhaps better known as the believer’s “eternal security” or “once saved, always saved.” This is the idea that, once a person is genuinely converted (or “saved”), they will continue in obedience to Christ and will persevere in their faith to the end of their life (Revelation 2:10; Matthew 10:22). Those who persevere to the end will be saved and will go to heaven. Those who do not, will perish with the unrighteous.

What does this verse, then, have to teach us about perseverance?

We will begin by looking at the commercial transaction which Paul mentions in this verse. In this transaction, who was the buyer? Certainly, the buyer was Christ. What was the price used for Christ’s purchase? The price was Christ’s own blood (or His death). (Isaiah 53:5-6; Mark 10:45) Lastly, who was purchased? The Corinthian believers were bought with the price of Christ’s own blood. Notice the nature of this transaction: Christ bought them. “You have been bought.” Thus, the Corinthian believers did not “get a vote” in this transaction. They were passive in the transaction. What was the return policy? All sales FINAL!

When I was thinking about marrying Lisa, the wonderful woman who is now my wife, I went to a jewelry store and selected the diamonds that I wanted in her engagement ring. Then, a week later I went back to the store and picked up the finished ring. Then I paid for it. Gulp! And right at the bottom of the paper receipt it said in all caps: ALL SALES FINAL. Now, while that was a daunting idea that I could not return the ring, it was not a problem for me, because I had no intention of returning the ring. I had bought that ring with a price and I intended to use it to win myself a wife. And now, almost sixteen years later, that ring still sits on my wife’s left hand.

Here is the point: When Christ bought His people with the price of His own blood, there was a no return policy, because Christ has no intention of returning those He has purchased. Those He bought, He bought for eternity. Once you have been bought with a price by Christ, you are forever purchased. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, then Christ has bought you. And so, you will always be with Christ. You are eternally secure.  

In the next post, we will see how this verse also contains implications for the doctrine of particular redemption, which is also known as “limited atonement,” the doctrine that Christ died only for those who will be saved; that is, only for the elect.

SDG                 rmb                 3/31/2021