God’s image within mankind supplies instantaneous value to each and every person—bodies and all. And for that reason, it’s time to get radical about how we view and treat our bodies.
The early church’s perspective on the body radically deviated from Greco-Roman culture . On one side, Gnosticism considered matter to be inherently evil, and did not believe Christ was truly incarnate or that there would be a resurrection of the body. On the other side, secular society had created a philosophical argument based on Platonic ideas that allowed for and encourage libertine living: prostitution, alcoholism, and gluttony. Whatever felt good was acceptable. But neither asceticism or libertarianism properly represents God’s view of the body, and Paul understood this, grounding the body’s identity in Christ, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
Today, cultural voices swarm around us: Do what you want with your body; it’s your choice, regardless of how that choice affects others. Change it. Sculpt it. Decorate it. Starve it. Work it out. If you’d like to take into consideration other’s thoughts or feelings — well — bonus points for you. You’re a good humanitarian. But when it comes down to it, your comfort and happiness is what’s most important.
How radical Paul’s imperative: Honor God with your body. Your body matters. Period. Because it — not just your soul — was bought with a price. Consequently, it’s not what the body looks like, but what it does (what we do with it), that matters. And when you come to Christ, you submit not just your heart and soul to him, but your body, making what you do with your body not a free-for-all choice. So guard your body like you do your soul. Our bodies are not plastic to be manipulated or a pleasure-machine to be operated.
Let us present our bodies as living sacrifices, wholly and acceptable to God, for this is our spiritual act of worship. Yes, our bodies — all of who we are — can worship him.