Glorifying God in Our Bodies
Your body, and what you do with it, matters.
More than once in his writings, the apostle Paul expresses great concern about people’s bodies. He asks the Corinthians, for instance, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” He then goes on to say, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In other words, our bodies belong to the God who created them and who sustains them. This way of thinking is at the heart of Paul’s theology.
Paul found great joy in knowing that Jesus would be honored, or exalted, in his own body. It was his chief aim and prayer that in his ministry he would possess courage and faithfulness to do this. For Paul, to exalt Christ meant to make much of His great name: to give Him glory. We see this attitude expressed by John the Baptist, who said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Similarly, you’ll never find Paul drawing attention to himself. He saw himself only as a conduit leading to Christ.
It comes as no surprise, then, that when he wanted to establish his credentials as an apostle, Paul didn’t say, “Let no one cause me trouble” just because he was a mighty apostle or because he was used by God to preach the gospel. No—he said, “Let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Galatians 6:17, emphasis added). Through his body, his commitment was revealed. He was increasingly abused for his devotion to Christ. He finally went to his grave scarred, brutalized, and disfigured—yet through his trials, his cry remained “I will rejoice.”
God was Lord over Paul’s whole life: his body, his time, his totality. Only that could bring him such joy. Only that can bring us such joy.
The bottom line is that you are not your own. Nothing you have is your own. Everything is a stewardship, whether God has given you much or little. You belong to God, your Creator and your Redeemer. One day, He will raise us with glorified, imperishable bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54). For the moment, in this life He calls us to serve Him in this body. In everything you do with it, then, let your body be an offering that you joyfully lay before God.
Flee Sexual Immorality
12“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16Or do you not know that he who is joined4 to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin5 a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
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