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What Is Food For? What Is Food For?

What Is Food For?

Phyllis grew up in poverty during the Great Depression. Hunger was a daily concern for her family. Sometimes they had enough food for only three or four meals per week. On other occasions the entire family had to share a single can of beans. Perhaps because of this, Phyllis became obsessed with food as an adult. She had odd eating habits and often stared at pictures of food in magazines. She suffered physically and emotionally from her inability to eat well.

The Corinthian church had their own food issues—but fundamentally their problem was a spiritual one. They had trouble grasping the spiritual significance of the body. A popular slogan of the day shaped their philosophy of life: “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both” (v. 13).

Some in the church also wanted to extend the gospel’s theology of freedom beyond biblical limits. Rejecting a legalistic approach to righteousness that tied it to certain foods, Paul taught that the kingdom of God “is not a matter of eating and drinking” (Rom. 14:17). Righteousness is not a function of the food you put into your body. Unfortunately, some of the Corinthians extended this notion even further, saying that it did not matter what you did with your body at all. They even concluded that it was permissible to engage in sexual immorality.

This shocking conviction was the result of a kind of a belief that Christ’s salvation was for the spirit but not for the body. Paul offered a sharp correction for this false theology, saying that the body is for the Lord (v. 13). The resurrection was the proof of this. Not only was Jesus’ spirit raised, He was also raised bodily from the dead.

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Please uphold in prayer Moody’s Customer Service department on our campus in Chicago. They respond to hundreds of phone calls every day with a kind and cheerful attitude, and we are grateful for their service.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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