Does 'You Are Not Your Own' Negate Free Will?
When you first hear the term, “You are not your own” found in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, it can appear confusing. Does this phrase negate free will? Are we puppets in God’s show? Today we are going to unpack what this saying means and why the Lord chose to share this biblical truth with us. Always remember that the enemy wants to twist the Bible on us in order to cause confusion, but our God is not a God of confusion.
What Does “You Are Not Your Own” Mean?
One of the most effective ways of explaining this concept is through the example of marriage. The day when I got married to my husband Drew, we entered under a covenant that I was not my own anymore and neither was he his own. I became his and he became mine. Song of Solomon 6:3a shares, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” I chose to be Drew’s and he chose to be mine. Jesus chose us first and we have the opportunity to accept Him or reject him. When we “choose Jesus back,” we then enter into a salvation covenant. His Holy Spirit comes into our lives, and we are eternally His children.
I find it no coincidence that the chapter proceeding 1 Corinthians 6 is on marriage. As part of the principles of marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife.” Although this is a teaching on sex within a marriage relationship, this points us to a greater picture of our Heavenly Father caring for us.
In the same way, when I think about the idea of us being God’s own, not our own, it can cause panic and worry to feel out of control. However, when we know Who holds us, it creates peace, safety, and security unlike anything else. Just like I committed myself to my loving husband and he to me, I could allow fear to stand in the way. If I distance myself, I miss out on our relationship of love, or I can choose to trust Drew in his faithful commitment and care for me as his bride.
What Does 'Your Body Is a Temple Mean'?
Another way in which our bodies are not our own is that the Holy Spirit lives in us when we are believers. When we think about our bodies as a place where God resides, it affects every area of our lives. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says, “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” We are told to honor God with our bodies. Christians are called to worship Christ through our purity, in the ways we dress our bodies, in the ways we act, in the ways we eat, and in our sexuality. Worship is not just a song; worship can be in the daily decisions we make to glorify Jesus with ourselves. The church is the people of the Lord, we are the body of Christ, and we worship Him with our lives.
What Is the Context of 1 Corinthians 6 and You Are Not Your Own?
The context of 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 is about sexual immorality. This would make sense due to the fact that those dating and engaged make decisions to live set apart for Christ by waiting to be intimate until marriage, single people live celibate lives for God’s glory or people who are married honor each other. These decisions are not made by fallen humans. These are made by Spirit-filled individuals who know that they are not their own. They are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. They are God’s own special possession (1 Peter 2:9).
If we humanize our Creator, viewing Him through fallen eyes, we might try to put sinful characteristics on Him. But look at His perfect track record. Read about His continual faithfulness. Remember His pure and holy character. He is Perfect Love. He is the First and the Last. He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. (John 10:11) Think about that, Jesus laid down His life for us like a husband is supposed to lay down his life for his bride. We are not our own because Jesus paid the price for us. He reunited us with God and brought us into His family. We owe Him everything, but He requires only to believe in Him.
John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus laid down His life for you and for me. When we understand His love for us, we operate out of a place of being loved. Jesus makes us whole. We are not our own, we are His. This is not captivity; this is freedom from condemnation, (Romans 8:1) freedom from eternal death, (Hebrews 9:15) and it is for freedom that we have been set free from the yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1)!
What Are the Implications of 'You Are Not Your Own'?
Lynette Kittle from Crosswalk shares, “Jesus came to free you from the devil’s claim to you but it’s still your choice to accept it or not. If you refuse to take Him up on His offer, by default, you belong to the evil one.”
When we are surrendered to Christ as Lord over our lives, we live in His power. This enables us to walk the narrow path and follow Him. We can make plans all day long, but the Lord determines our paths. Every time in my life when I thought I had a great goal, but God redirected me, I was able to see His greater gift for me. Following the Spirit instead of our desires is not easy, but it is always rewarding in the end.
Kristine Brown from Crosswalk says, “Instead of giving time and energy to the what-ifs, we can remind ourselves that an unsure outcome opens the door for God to be glorified in our situation. And isn’t that what we desire most?”
It can be a scary step to entrust our lives to God. However, when we stop and think about How He intricately made us, He numbered the stars, knows every hair on our heads, and gives us grace upon grace, why would we not trust Him? His ways and thoughts are higher. His plans and purposes are better than our own.
Joe McKeever from Crosswalk shares, “When we pray, we say, 'Not my will, but Thy will be done.’ And we say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” We want what we want, but more than anything, we want His will. He knows what is best.”
You are not your own does not negate free will. However, there is true freedom from sin and this world when we put our faith in the capable Creator’s hands. God gives us boundaries to give us true freedom. Just like Adam and Eve had a boundary of the trees they could not eat from, their decision to disobey that boundary led to the destruction of themselves and the world. Thankfully, Jesus made a way for freedom again.
When we live lives surrendered to Christ, He blesses that. When we live by the Spirit, we get to be a part of His kingdom work. Just like a healthy marriage is a secure and safe place, Jesus is all the more trustworthy and more than able to care for our hearts. We are loved abundantly, and it is truly for freedom that Christ has set us free.
You Are Not Your Own (Jeremiah 10:23) - Your Daily Bible Verse - September 2
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/AOosthuizen
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and mom to Graham. Emma serves alongside her husband in ministry, she focuses most of her time in the home, but loves to provide articles on the Bible, life questions, and Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 on Crosswalk in 2021. Most recently, Emma released Treasures for Tots, (Scripture memory songs) for young children. During her ministry career, Emma has released Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness, two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, and ran the Refined Magazine. You can view her articles on her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com and check out her Instagram @Emmadanzey.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy-to-read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. We hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in your life today.