In his book The Spirit of the Disciplines, author Dallas Willard writes that being created in the image of God means that we have been given a measure of independent power. “Without such power, we absolutely could not resemble God in the close manner he intended, or could we be God’s co-workers,” Willard explains. “The locus or depository of this necessary power is the human body.”
In a sense, the human body is our kingdom. It is the domain through which we act upon our desires and exercise the authority of the human will. God’s work of redemption will culminate in the resurrection of our physical bodies (see 1 Cor. 15:52; Rev. 20:4–6). It is not surprising, then, that the apostle Paul should describe the offering of our bodies in service to God as an act of worship (Rom. 12:1). Under the law of Moses worshipers brought sacrifices and offerings to the tabernacle and later to the temple. These offerings not only expressed the worshiper’s devotion to God, they foreshadowed the offering of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for sin. Now that Christ has come, offering still has a place in the believer’s worship. Those who know Christ as Savior present themselves to God in devoted obedience.
The way that we use our body has important spiritual implications. Scan the magazine rack in the local market and you might think that the primary function of the body is to be displayed. Others live sensual lives, assuming that the only real purpose of the body is to be enjoyed. The extreme measures used to extend life by the medical profession could suggest that the body is primarily something to be preserved, while the use of aborted fetuses in stem cell research implies that it is merely something to be harvested.
The Bible provides us with a balanced, true perspective. The body is not an end in itself. It is not the sum total of a person’s existence. But it is important. “The body,” the apostle Paul declares, “is for the Lord” (1 Cor. 6:13).