Monday in the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Bodies Matter in the Christian Faith

There is an ancient heresy that originates from pagan thought which has often infected the Church.  That heresy is that our bodies and souls are not only distinguishable but ultimately mutually exclusive of one another, and that indeed our bodies are either evil or simply irrelevant.  The Christian faith rejects this idea on the basis of three fundamental theological truths: 1) God made human beings with bodies and declared that such was good; 2) Our Lord was made flesh when he came in the fullness of time for our salvation; and, 3) Our Lord rose bodily from the dead and so shall we on the last day.  Thus, the Christian faith rejects the notion that our bodies and souls are divisible based upon the doctrines of creation, Incarnation, and resurrection.  We ARE embodied souls.  (Incidentally, it is this pagan notion that the body and soul are separate entities that is at the root of transgenderism; that is, the demonically-inspired deception that my soul and body do not match as to gender, and so my body must be transformed to agree with my soul.)

This heresy will manifest itself in two ways, both of which were evident at Corinth: 1) That since the body doesn’t matter, we can do anything with it we want, like go to the temple prostitutes; or 2) Since the body is evil, we must starve and abuse it so as to make the soul more holy.  We see #1 in today’s passage.  The ESV and other versions place “All things are lawful for me” and “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” in quotes to indicate that the translators think that these were things that the Corinthians were saying to which Paul was responding, and I think rightly so, especially given Paul’s bold reply, “And God will destroy both one and the other!”  It seems there were some Corinthians who had extrapolated this into “The body [or some member of it] is for sex and sex for the body.”  Or perhaps “stomach” and “food” were simply euphemisms for sex.

At any rate, Paul corrects them.  Intimacy is a special gift of God whereby a man and a woman in the context of holy marriage may join together as one both physically and spiritually.  And as believers of Christ Jesus, we have become one with him.  Then Paul reasons: If the two become one flesh, as the sexual union naturally creates, shall I take my body which is inhabited by the Holy Spirit and make it one with a prostitute?  What a horrid image!  Our bodies as well as our souls were purchased not with gold and silver but by the broken body and shed blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:17-19).  And so Paul thunders, “You are not your own!”  And that’s a message our age desperately needs to hear.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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