Overcoming Sin Through Christ – Bodily Harm

Overcoming Sin through Christ

Richard Hollerman

Bodily Harm

This is a sin often overlooked. It would seem that when the physical condition is mentioned, it is in the context of dieting to lose weight in order to look better. Or it may be in the context of athletic performance in order to win a race or excell in a sport. Others may seek bodily health to live longer and it may become an idolatrous quest, exalting the human body to the status of a “god.” The Christian, however, seeks to treat his body as a stewardship from God, thus he avoids harming his body since it is a gift given by God his Father.

Our human body is a unique gift from God the Creator.  The psalmist sang, “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3).  David also wrote, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14).  In the New Testament, Paul says, “No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:29).  Generally speaking, people do want to take care of their bodies; at least, they don’t want others to harm their body, though we will see that most people do sin against their own physical body.

Our body is to be cared for and preserved in safety, making sure that we acknowledge God with the precious gift of our body.  Note: We are not denying that the sin of Adam (Genesis 3) brought death into the world (Romans 5:12-13) and all of the defects, debilities, and degeneration that comes on our physical bodies. Paul wrote, “I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).[i]  Do you give your body to God as a sacrifice?  Do you consider it a “living” and “holy” sacrifice? 

Paul elaborates on the physical body by saying that “your bodies are members of Christ” and if anyone is sexually immoral, he “sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:15, 18).  He goes on to present four more truths about our physical body: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (vv. 19-20). 

From this powerful and significant passage, we notice that (1) our body is the temple or dwelling place of the Spirit, (2) our body doesn’t belong to us but to God, the Giver, (3) God has bought and paid for our body, and (4) we are to glorify God with our body.  It is no wonder that he later wrote, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (10:31).  We must treat our body with honor and respect.

In light of the fact that God has created us and given us a physical body, that Jesus Christ was sacrificed to buy our body, and that the Holy Spirit now dwells in the Christian’s body, who would think of abusing his or her body?  It would seem unreasonable, even absurd.  But this is exactly what most people do?  They sin against their own body in many different ways.  They sin against their body by smoking tobacco, by getting drunk, and by taking drugs.  Millions misuse their body in these common ways. 

Then there are additional millions who consume junk foods and so-called non-food “foods” that are not really nutritious; in fact, they are harmful to one’s health.[ii]  Other people injure their health through air pollution, by taking employment that is dangerous to their health, by speeding on the highway and driving recklessly or without a seat belt.  Still others engage in sports or practices that the world acknowledges are dangerous to one’s health (such as football, boxing, sky diving, and many others). 

Some even ruin their health by not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep.  And there are also those who lead a totally sedentary lifestyle, knowing that this is exceedingly harmful to one’s physical health and that physical activity (in exercise or work) is a key to good physical health.  In all of these ways, the majority of people sin against their physical body and offend the One who made their body and died to purchase it.

What about you? Do you have the proper motivations to care for your body–or do you abuse your body in some way? We will give an account for all that we have done “in the body” (2 Corinthians 5:10), thus let us treat our body with great care and respect.


[i] See our booklet, Devoting Your Body to God!

[ii] See our booklets, Why I Don’t Eat Junk Foods, and, Do You Want that Soft Drink?


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