But, as we established last week, “we cover our bodies not because they are so shameful, but because they are so wonderful; far too wonderful to put on display for every eye to see.”
Do you think of your body that way: as so glorious it shouldn’t be seen by just anyone? Or how about the bodies of others? Do you consider them so precious that the thought of objectifying or lusting after them seems abhorrent (even if it’s still a temptation)?
If this perspective feels foreign to you, or maybe even impossible to believe, let this post unveil just how truly magnificent the human body is.
Made in the Image of a Holy God
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – Gen 1:26 (ESV)
Perhaps you’ve read that verse too many times to count, but sometimes familiarity breeds blindness and we can easily miss the wonder of the truth being conveyed. That said, as you reflect on Gen 1:26 (you can even read it again, if you like) don’t miss this: our God, who is spirit, deliberately chose to give His image-bearers a body.
Actually, he chose to give them two distinct kinds of bodies! And how does He define these two different forms?
My Granddad would have said, “By their plumbing,” but what that meant was, “by their sex organs.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Gen 1:27
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, God not only doesn’t have a body, He doesn’t have sex organs either, but when God decided to create a representation of Himself, He made an embodied creature with two distinct sexual anatomies.
Made in God’s image, our essential human essence is spirit, but God chose to manifest His spirit in flesh: male and female. Do you see how that bestows divine worth and wonder on our bodies?
It’s so critical to understand this, because ever since the Gnostics of New Testament times, some have purported the body is inherently evil and separate from the spirit.
Spirit good. Body bad.
(Hmmmm. That sounds more like the shame-based view of the body of which the church is so often accused.)
Called to be Holy
God’s word says something entirely different. Not only does it present the human body as God’s chosen vessel to reveal Himself at the dawn of creation, but then when God came to redeem that creation, He literally put on flesh and dwelt among us.
And in the person of Jesus, He showed us that the human body was made to be holy.
This is why Paul says to the believers in the city of Corinth:
Or 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. – 1 Cor 6:19 (ESV)
Your body, was made for the Holy Spirit of God to reside in! It was made to be holy!
That’s why Paul makes this charge to the church in Thessalonica:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. – 1 Thes 4:3-7 (ESV)
We can so easily focus on the negative – “abstain from sexual immorality” – that we miss the positive – “control your own body in holiness and honor.” We’re not called merely to avoid sin, but to live honorably! Holy! Set apart for the holy call of God on our lives; a calling that we fulfill in earthly bodies.
And to clarify, the human body isn’t holy because it’s worthy of worship, but because it was made to be an instrument of worship!
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. – Romans 6:12-13 (ESV)
Our vain and hyper-sexualized culture teaches us to:
- Worship our bodies, by caring for them in such a way that others would admire them
- Worship the bodies of others through envy and lust
In contrast, Paul says to the church at Rome:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. – Romans 12:1 (ESV)
Can you see what a glorious calling God has placed on our bodies? He made our bodies to display His holy image, host His Holy Spirit, care for in a holy way and yield to Him as a holy sacrifice.
Next week we continue our series on The Naked Truth about Your Body, as we share motivation and encouragement for living holy when we maybe don’t feel so holy (and aren’t, and can’t imagine how we ever could be).
In the meantime, consider going over these questions with one or more friends:
- Do you think of your body as so glorious it shouldn’t be seen by just anyone?
- Do you consider the bodies of others so precious that the thought of objectifying or lusting after them seems abhorrent (even if it’s still a temptation)?
- What difference does it make to you that your body was made to be holy?
- Do you care for your body in such a way as to bring glory to God or yourself?
- Do you regard your body as a blessing from God or a curse?
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!