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The Believer, the Temple of the Holy Ghost
by Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769)
II. The Great Obligation of a True Christian

If true Christians possess so great and sublime a dignity, they have also a great and sublime duty to observe, and that for the very same reason—they are not their own, but God's, both as it respects body and soul. Hence it is said in the words of our text, “ye are not Your own: therefore glorify God in your bodies your bodies and in your spirits which are God's." Both our body and our spirit are God's and not our own. Christ has purchased them, therefore we must praise and glorify God with both, that is with our body and our spirit. It is consequently, not only hypocrisy and error when an individual, in worshiping God, offers Him only that which is external, approaches Him with his lips, but cleaves with his heart to the earth, and continues far from God.

It is also a shameful and pernicious deception and a false spirituality which seeks to put asunder that which God hath joined. Hence it is also a dangerous deception for anyone to pretend that he can and ought to serve God only in the spirit and that he need not pay such strict attention to externals, and that it is therefore nothing very heinous or criminal, although our bodies are serving sin and vanity, if the spirit during the time. is serving God. Dangerous and shameful deception! Christ has purchased body and soul; therefore both must praise God and be dedicated to His service. I am not my own but God's. The life of my spirit, the life of my body, my powers and faculties, belong not to me, but to God. For this very reason I must praise God with my body. Hence David says, "My tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness, my heart and flesh shall rejoice in the living God.” "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight,"

I must desire neither grace, nor long life, neither health, nor bodily powers, except for the sole end and purpose of applying them to the service of God to whom they alone belong. I must devote all my powers and faculties to Him; all must be for Him. If I only employ them in eating and drinking, in amassing money possession, or in attaining honor in order to live in ease and pleasure, I commit a culpable wrong. I have no right nor authority over my bodily powers, no right nor power over my property. I must offer them up to God and devote them to His service. I dare not use my limbs, for instance, my hands, and other members, as instruments of unrighteousness. I dare not lend them to sin, as Paul says, that we are not to make our members instruments of unrighteousness. I must present them to God as instruments of righteousness to praise and glorify Him.

"Know ye not," says the same apostle, in the chapter from which the words of our text are taken, "that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid!" Shall I take the members that belong to Christ, and make of them members of pride, members of unrighteousness? What a shame! What an abomination! No! My members must be given up to God, as instruments of righteousness in order to serve Him with them to the best of my ability. I dare not work with my hands anything but what is good and useful to others. I dare not use my tongue for the purpose of sinful, vain, and worthless conversation. My tongue belongs to Christ; therefore, it must be devoted to Him. All useless words, by which He is not praised, magnified, and glorified, must be most carefully avoided.

Thus I must act with all my other members. This is that real and complete service which God requires of His people even as we read in Romans 12 that we are to "Present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God." Thus, our senses, our eyes, our ears, and all the rest, are no longer our own who are Christians, but they belong to Christ, because He has purchased them for His service. Therefore, since Christ has purchased my body and my senses, I must not lend my ears and eyes to hear or see anything sinful. Like Job, I must make a covenant with my eyes and ears that I do not desire to hear, see, taste, and feel anything that does not lead me to God. I immediately apply all that I hear, see, taste, and enjoy, to the praise and glory of God.

... I dare not love the world, nor that which is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. My heart belongs entirely to God. I must, therefore, present and devote my love, my inclinations, and desires to Him, or else I commit real sacrilege.... Ought I to steal my heart from Christ, and lend it to sin? Ought I to rob Christ of the inclinations, the noble affections, to which alone He has a right, and present them to the creature? Ought I to take pleasure in vanity? Have I not enough in Christ? Why ought I to desire anything else beside Him? This would be just as much as if I said to Him, "Thou alone art not enough. I must therefore have something else for my gratification besides Thee!"

This be far from us! Let us delight ourselves in the Lord alone and entirely, for He alone is able to give us all that our hearts can wish and desire both in time and eternity. Christ, who has bought our hearts, not with gold and silver, but with His precious blood, and has, therefore, the greatest right to them, will not have them half and divided, but is desirous of possessing them entirely. . . . Observe! We ought to love God with our whole heart; not the smallest particle ought to be taken away from Him for it belongs to Him entirely.

My will is no longer my own, since Christ has purchased me and has weaned my spirit from the world. My will is become God's by purchase and by presentation. I dare not use my will any more according to my own will or my own good pleasure, for self-will must no more be mentioned amongst Christians.

The words, I will, and, I will not, are disgraceful in the mouth of a true Christian. Our will must be resigned to Christ. We must be prepared to live according to His will and not according to the will of the Gentiles. We must ever be ready and willing to follow the smallest intimations of His good pleasure. The pernicious and unrighteous liberty, which has remained over to us since our sinful fall, we must and ought entirely to yield up to Christ as a voluntary gift. We ought to renounce all right over our own will in order that Christ, by His Spirit, may alone will and not will in us and rule and govern us according to His free option and good pleasure.

My understanding is not mine. It does not belong to me, but it is become God's by more than one right. On that very account I must glorify God with my understanding. I dare not make use of my understanding for things which are sinful and which lead away from God. I must use it solely for the glorification of Him Who has bestowed it upon me for that purpose. I must employ my understanding in contemplating God as present, glorifying God, and filially knowing it is in this way and manner that we ought to use the powers of our understandings.

It is extremely shameful to occupy our understanding so frequently and manifoldly with vain, useless, and even disgraceful and highly objectionable things. Ah, my dearest friends, is that praising God with the understanding, praising Him in body and in spirit? Do we humble ourselves before God when we thus suffer our ideas and imaginations to wander? Do we glorify Him by our thoughts and meditations? Is it this or other things that fill our minds?

We ought to glorify our God both with our body and with our spirit. We must seek to glorify Him both outwardly and inwardly. Therefore as much as we do not seek to walk according to our vocation, holy and blamelessly in the sight of God, as well as before the eyes of men, God is not only not glorified by us but rather dishonored and disgraced. For when those individuals who have the appearance of being particularly devoted and attached to godliness, lead at the same time a culpable life and act as the world does, the latter is then ready to say, "Look, these are the people who would be better than others. These are the people who bear the name of pious saints and regenerate, and yet they are no less fond of vanity than the world and seek after wealth and riches and after great honors. It is all mere hypocrisy with them. It is true, they have the name that they live, but they are no less spiritually dead than other men." …

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