1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (NKJV)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
How important is your body to your spirituality? Does what you do with your body reflect your relationship with God?
Many religious traditions say, “No.” The various forms of monism, the idea that there is no Creator but that the physical universe is all that is real; beliefs such as Hinduism, gnosticism, New Age thought, and Buddhism, declare that the body is really not that important. Spirituality has to do with the spirit not the body; it’s about becoming one with the universal all-soul. How? Sometimes drugs can help; sometimes illicit sex can help; sometimes severe asceticism can help; sometimes exercise can help. The means vary but the goal is the same: escape your body.
The fruit of this type of thinking has become increasingly evident in our culture. For what are homosexuality and transgenderism but radical rebellion against the body? Male and female anatomy are perfectly complementary. But if you hate the body, if you hate that you are a male or if you hate that you are a female, then just do what you want: exchange the male for the female. Escape your body.
Even modern femininists have shown a great disdain for the body, including the female body. “Biology,” they say, “does not equal destiny.” As the feminist Shulamith Firestone declares, “The heart of a woman’s oppression is her childbearing and childrearing roles.” Escape your body.
How utterly different, how completely contrary, is the message of the Bible. According to the Bible, what we do with our body is an essential part of our relationship with God. Paul writes in Romans 12:1 that Christians are to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Offering your body to Christ is your spiritual act of worship. Elsewhere he writes:
- The body is… for the Lord, and the Lord for the body (1 C 6:13).
- Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity…so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness (Ro 6:19).
- Each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable (1 Th 4:4).
- You were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 C 6:20).
Notice, therefore, that the message of Christ is not “escape your body” but “honor God with your body.” The Christian faith is about what you do with your genitalia, what you do with your knees and hands and mouths and stomachs. This is why Christianity and monism are completely incompatible: why Idaho Senator Sheryl Nuxoll’s declaration that Hinduism is a false religion is right on; Christianity and monism have radically different visions of the body. They cannot both be true.
So what of you? Men and boys, have you given thanks that God made you a male and have you endeavored to learn what it means to have a male body and to be a man? The Bible does not denigrate your body but rejoices in it: I have written to you young men because you are strong and the Word of God abides in you (1 Jn 2:14).
Women and girls, have you given thanks that God made you a female and have you endeavored to learn what it means to have a female body and to be a woman? The Bible does not denigrate your body but rejoices in it. Women will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control (1 Tim 2:15).
Christ took on human flesh and dwelt among us; in this way, God broadcast to the world the glory, dignity, and wonder of the body. God created us, male and female, soul and body, after His own image, in His own likeness. So this morning let us confess that we have often despised the body. And let us use our bodies to kneel as we do so.