Bought and Sold
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“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” I Corinthians 15:51-52, NIV

 

We have all had the experience of shopping for something and finding just the right item across the room while searching for it in a store. Excited, we hurry over. We can tell it will be just right. It’s the right color, the right style, and the right size. We can almost see it in our home where it will finish off the décor perfectly. But our excitement is abruptly replaced with disappointment as we come to the item and see a “Sold” notice fastened to it. With sadness we turn away as we realize this item will be in someone else’s home, not ours.

The devil must feel something like that when he encounters someone who has a living relationship with Jesus. The Bible tells us we have already been sold. As Paul put it in his letter to the Corinthians, “you were bought at a price…” 1 Corinthians 6:20, NIV That price was paid by Jesus on the cross. It was the price of love. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16, NIV

God beat the devil to the sale. The Bible says, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Ephesians 1:4, NIV You see the price for our sale was determined and arranged by God before we were even created. God knew that mankind was perfect for a place in His home.

Unlike the object we saw in the store, however. We can choose to remove the “Sold” label God has placed on us. We can choose not to go to His home. We can do this in several ways. We can choose not to accept the label in the first place. We can say, “This is not the right owner for us. We will wait for another.”

Since there are only two shoppers in this store, we will then end up being sold to the devil. The devil is a sharp bargainer. He never pays full price. He never sees our worth as God sees it. He will point out our flaws and how hard it would be to fix them. In the end, he argues the price way down and then does not even pay up front. He loves credit. He puts us in his truck and drives down the road full of promises to pay, but he never does. By refusing God’s purchase, we end up sold for little or nothing.

We might also refuse to go to God’s home by doing all we can to demonstrate that we just don’t fit there. When our Owner tries to take us one way, we choose to go another. When He tries to speak to us, we refuse to listen. When He places a cloth over us to hide our flaws, we can refuse to wear it. We can even flaunt our flaws, acting as though we are proud of them. Even though we belong to Him, we can do everything we can to hide the fact.

The strange thing is that God never gives up on us. As many times as we might choose another path, He stands ready to show us the way to His place. As many times as we refuse to listen to Him, He still continues to speak to our hearts. As many times as we remove the cover that hides our flaws, He keeps trying to put it back on. He hopes we will eventually agree that we look better with our flaws covered. His patience with us is infinite.

Another thing that is amazing about all this is that He does not do this because of the very high price paid for us, but because He loves us. He loves us so much that He would be heartbroken if we were not with Him.  The Bible puts it this way, This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10 NIV You see God does not love us because He paid a high price for us. He paid a high price for us because He loves us.

And that cloth he keeps trying to put on us? That cloth is the perfect character of Jesus. He wants us to wear it because it looks better on us than our flaws do. When a man and a woman are in love, the man wants his lady to look great, and the woman wants her man to look great as well. God is in love with us, and He knows we will look great in the character of Christ. He knows that we will see it also. He knows that when we see how we look in Christ’s character, we will feel so great about ourselves that we will do all we can to make our character like His.

The Bible describes it like this, “…you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:9-10, NIV  By choice, we can experience this change as Paul said in his letter to the Romans. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV

Elsewhere, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV But this transformation is not a work we can accomplish in and of ourselves. No, this transformation, just like the cloth of Christ’s character, comes from God.

When we are introduced to Jesus, we want a relationship with Him. Then that relationship, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, awakens in us a will to be like Him. We try to do that on our own, but that does not work. In frustration, we finally come to God and confess our failures and allow Him to do what we could not. Then He begins to transform us. He builds us up where we need building up and prunes away what is hindering us. He is very patient. He works as fast or as slowly as we are able to go.

Like a craftsman working on a fine piece of furniture, he burnishes and polishes us until we reflect all the light He shines on us. He sees in us the beauty that we cannot see in ourselves and lovingly brings it out where all can see it. I cannot help but love a God like that. I want Him to take me home to his house and polish my character to make that possible. Don’t you?


Editor’s note: The Bible includes many analogies of salvation because no single analogy can capture the fullness of how God saves sinners. In this post the author explores the analogy of a purchase, as Bible writers do in Ps 74:2; 1 Cor 6:20;  Rom 7:14; 1 Cor 7:23;  Acts 20:28 and Eph 1:17. (Note that in this analogy, there is no seller. Only we can sell ourselves to Satan.) You can probably think of other analogies. Please feel free to share them.

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Bought and Sold — 7 Comments

  1. I have decided to give my heart to Jesus and to place my life in His hands completely. I have been raised in the Adventist church all of my life, but I have now just been able to say that I am accepting Christ's way for my life. I will use Romans 12:2 as a life standard from now on. Thank you so very much for allowing God to speak and write through you, because your words have been a blessing to me this morning. God bless you and your ministry.

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    • Chelsea,

      Your kind message has been a blessing to me this morning as well. I give God the glory for anything He has been able to accomplish through my writing. My greatest wish is to show how deep His love is for us. May God hold you in his hands and lead you to be all He created you to be as you walk with him.

      Here is a special verse I would like to share with you as it has meant a great deal to me as a reminder that God's love will never let me go.

      "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139:9-10, NIV

      God bless.

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  2. One of the amazing things about being sanded, polished, and made anew is that the finished product often looks better than before. Similarly, if we let God refine us we will become better than we were before.

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    • Good point, Elle,

      My favorite quote about that is from "Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, page 10:

      The Saviour’s words have a message of comfort to those also who are suffering affliction or bereavement. Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. God “doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:33. When He permits trials and afflictions, it is “for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10. If received in faith, the trial that seems so bitter and hard to bear will prove a blessing. The cruel blow that blights the joys of earth will be the means of turning our eyes to heaven. How many there are who would never have known Jesus had not sorrow led them to seek comfort in Him!

      The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace.

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  3. Amen!!! God is good all the time. I would like to share my experience before when am not an adventist. I loved to share what God done to my life. I denied God, says to my friend, "they say God will coming back in the year 2000, why is it He did not? if God is true, He must keep His promise." But my friend keep telling me that God is true but am just ignoring what he said it is because at that time i was very drunk. Many times I am in great trouble when nearly got killed but did not recognized the love and care of God that He delivered me from this peril. Until one night, I have a dream that change my life. "In a one big night the sky was very clear, there was no moon and even clouds, all I saw the stars twinkling in its brightness. Then I heard someone saying with a loud voice together with the formation of the stars in heaven, saying " JESUS CHRIST IS "OUR" SON", then the formation of stars remains while the voice continued, saying, " whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish". Then after that words, I heard the thunderings that ripped the sky into two and I saw a bright light shining upon the sky and there were men in an outfit of war came down. I am confused because of the word "OUR", why He told OUR SON, and who is He talking? I asked my brother what will be the meaning of this dream because I know he can help me because he is an adventist and only in the family. He told me that it was the Father talking to the Spirit, saying JESUS CHRIST IS "OUR" SON. After that dream, I began searching the truth through internet while I am in the office because there is no internet device at home. I found many sects while I continued searching, until I had found the website of the Amazing Facts. And I found out that the rest day is the Seventh Day and the only sign of loyalty unto the Creator. Through out the religious sects that I have found only this Amazing Facts, the Seventh-day Adventist Church have followed and obey all the precepts of God's commandments.
    So I decided to go to church every sabbath day. Just to feel to go every sabbath but not to baptize. But I fell incomplete because my old passions and vices are still in my thoughts and I was struggling with myself that I could leave all of this without the Savior's help but all was in vain. And then I bowed to God, saying "Lord, if You want me to be with You, please take all my vices and I promise to serve You for the rest of my life." Then, I fell the power of my Savior because all my desires in taking alcohol, drugs and even smoking that I was hardly struggling to quit was all immediately vanished in my mind. On October 2009,two days after I bowed down to God, I was baptized. When I raised to the watery grave, I felt that I am a new creature because my heart and my mind were in at peace. When my parents knew that I am already an adventist, they got mad. They were not happy for that decision. But I know Someone was very happy for this wise decision which is in Heaven. When my family and my friends scorn my faith, I just take His promises and He gave me strength to endure all of this. God is very faithful to His promise, that until now He keep holding me. I am very blessed because He trained me as well. And now, God gave me new task for being a teacher in the sabbath school group and joining to my co-members in their personal ministry. GOD IS SO GOOD. AMEN!!!!

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    • Amen, Json

      God is glorified every time we tell the story of what he has done for us. Thank you for sharing. God bless.

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  4. This is very powerful. Just like someone who sold everything to buy the hidden treasure that how we are before God. He is ready to go an extra mile for our benefit. Thanks for this article.

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