“For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” (Romans 14:7–9, NASB95)
One of the more recognizable scenes from children’s animated movies is where Nemo’s dad (Marlin) and Dory are floundering on a dock as Nigel the pelican was about to tell them that he knew where Nemo was. In their trying to escape, Marlin and Dory flopped themselves into the presence of a huge number of seagulls. The first word uttered then is “Mine,” and then it is repeated over and over as Nigel snatches the pair up and flies them off to safety. What sticks out in my mind is “Mine, mine, mine.” And all most of us have to say are those three words and others know what we are talking about.
While Nigel might have been thinking of others, the seagulls clearly had only themselves in mind. In verses 7 through 9 we are reminded that we were not saved to be selfish. In fact, while we were saved to be set free from the bondage of sin and given new life in Christ, Scripture also tells us that this new life comes with a new Master. Where once we were in bondage to sin as children of the devil, now we are owned by God. We belong to Christ as the One who paid the price for our redemption.
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44, NASB95)
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, NASB95)
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:15–17, NASB95)
We belong to Christ, and this is absolutely true whether we live or die. At the time we believed in Him as the One who died for our sins and rose again and we trusted Him for our salvation we were given eternal life. We were made a permanent member of His eternal family, and this applies to us now as we take breath and later when we die (or are raptured) and enter His presence forever. He is our Lord, and we are to live fully for Him. This is the responsive point of Romans chapters 12-15.
And the way that He calls us to live is in the power of His Spirit according to His ordinances as found in His Word loving one another. This kind of life is not a “mine” kind of life, but is one that is much more satisfying as we get to experience the love of God poured out on us and through us as we love others also. This was the summation of the first and second commandments, that we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and soul and we love our neighbor as ourselves.
“And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37–40, NASB95)