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Living the resurrection (1)

The Corinthians' view of the body was rooted in their culture. Their philosophers (especially Plato and Socrates), espoused a dualism which said that the body was essentially the vehicle the spirit went around in. It had its own impulses and needs that the spirit couldn’t and shouldn’t be expected to control. The spirit was ultimate reality; the body would perish one day and then the spirit would be freed. Until that time though, the body was a necessary evil that held the spirit. You can see how this kind of thinking would lead to the Gnosticism so prevalent in the last part of the first century. You can also see how this view left the individual free to live just about any way they wanted. That was Corinth.

You see a good bit of this in the American culture, but I think we have another layer as well. If you think about the nipping, tucking, lifting, zipping, implanting, injecting, suctioning, stapling, banding, piercing, and tattooing we do, it’s obvious we have some issues with our body image. And while some of it has to do with what we personally want, much of it has to do with meeting the expectations of what others think. We’re like the Corinthians in that we do with our body what we want; but perhaps unlike them in that much of what we want is to look good in the eyes of others.

In both cases, the Scripture would tell us, we’re missing the mark. The body isn’t primarily for us or for others --- it is for the Lord! But that’s just half the message. The other part is that the body isn’t just some vehicle we travel around in and then at death it is tossed on the scrap heap and is done with. It is an essential part of who we are and God’s has eternal plans for it. The Lord is for the body!

Christians believe in more than life after death! (Really, who doesn’t believe in that?). We believe that the spirit, which separates from the body at death (James 2:26), will be re-united with the body at the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:50ff). We believe this because it is what happened to Jesus, who is the first-fruits of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20). We are assured by the Scripture that we will be like Him (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-3). It teaches redemption of the body (Romans 8:23-25), not redemption from the body (as the Greeks would have it).

And none of this should surprise us for God didn’t create man as a disembodied spirit. Genesis 1 & 2 make it clear that man is both flesh and spirit and God’s verdict after creating man was that it was very good (1:31). This should make it abundantly clear that God is for the body! It is not more spiritual or in keeping with Scripture to suggest that God is uninterested in the body or that it is somehow unimportant in the larger scheme of things. God is interested in redeeming all that was lost!
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