Cover 2019-08-04

Ron Writes

Love Thy Body

The church was established during a time when Greek philosophy devalued the body. Gnosticism, Platonism, and other Greek philosophies influenced the culture to believe that flesh was evil.

Christianity was revolutionary! The Bible teaches that God created our fleshly bodies. Our bodies were created with purpose and design. Our bodies have meaning. They were made male and female. On top of that, Jesus became flesh (Jn. 1:14). The apostle John reminds readers that he heard and saw Jesus and his hands touched him (1 Jn. 1:1). He came in the flesh, died in the flesh, and he arose in the flesh. For Greeks it would be foolishness to come back in a body (1 Cor. 1:23). Not only did Christianity not look at the flesh as evil, it correctly identified the true source of evil as our heart or mind (Mt. 15:18-19).

Greek influence was responsible for an early heresy within the church. Ascetics believed that the body was shameful, worthless and unimportant. Sex was seen as a great evil. Paul reminded us that rules of “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch…. have the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence” (Col. 2:21, 23). Paul also warned against those who would forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from certain foods (1 Tim. 4:1-4). Christianity doesn’t call for us to have a destructive view of the body.

Christianity elevated the importance of our bodies. It taught that our “body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19). As such it was not to be abused with sexual immorality. The life of Jesus has been made manifest in our “mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:10-11).

When our hearts were corrupt with impurity before we became Christians, we dishonored our bodies (Rom. 1:24). Now as Christians we have renewed our minds and have a proper view of our bodies. It’s the renewal of our hearts, not our bodies that’s important “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things (1 Tim. 4:8). Part of our transformation as Christians is to present our bodies to God as a living, and holy sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). Christianity calls for our hearts and bodies to be in harmony with one another. Christianity gives us a healthy, holistic approach to life. A Christian worldview leads us to a positive view of the body.