Do Protestants Have the "Fullness of the Faith"?
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Do Protestants Have the "Fullness of the Faith"?

Your Body is More Beautiful Than You Think

Posted May 22, 2024
My Body

You might not realize it. But the way you think about yourself, and act out those thoughts, has likely been influenced by a too-low view of the body common in the world today. Given its emphasis on bodily pleasure and appearance, it seems counterintuitive that worldliness demeans the human body. But from the rampant objectification of both men and women, to an out-of-control hook-up culture, to arbitrary definitions of what constitutes a person in both their first and last days, the world clearly “sees no value in the living human body but places all… worth in the mind or consciousness.” Many Christians have been influenced by an unbiblical body-worldview.

God calls you to be different. You must “glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). The command was as counter-cultural in Paul’s day as it is now. But it is the only way. Humans are embodied souls. You can’t glorify God by mere ideas. You glorify God in your body or not at all.

We Undervalue Our Bodies

We are in a similar situation to that of believers in Corinth whose culture did not consider the body integral to personhood. In Greek thought, the body was a hindrance to the real person—the soul. What happened in the flesh didn’t matter. It was seen merely as a source of pain or an instrument for gaining pleasure. What the Bible calls sexual immorality was common practice among Gentiles in Paul’s day. Men married to gain a family, then they nonchalantly hired prostitutes for pleasure.

Sexual immorality was a problem also in the Corinthian church. Imagine Paul having to teach church members why they shouldn’t have sex with prostitutes (1 Cor. 6:15–16)! Christians failed to see how their faith—a spiritual commitment—impacted their physical bodies. They excused illicit sexual acts under the assumption that they occurred in a different category from their religious walk with God. A man could sleep with his father’s wife and still be a good church member; after all, he claimed to love Jesus (1 Cor. 5:1–2). Apparently in Corinth many Christians viewed sex like any other ordinary bodily function, like eating a meal with a friend or shaking the hand of a new acquaintance. So soliciting prostitutes was no problem. Paul quotes what was likely a popular saying in the Corinthian church, “All things are lawful for me” (1 Cor. 12:16). The Corinthains abused the doctrine of Christian liberty and minimized the sacredness of the body to the point that they imagined that external acts had nothing to do with godliness. Corinthian believers failed to recognize the fundamental union in humans between body and soul. So, for example, by a sexual act even without love or commitment, “the two will become one flesh” (1 Cor. 6:16), the union God reserves for the highest degree of physical togetherness. Your body is a vital part of the real you.

Like the Corinthian Christians, we have been influenced by the world’s values. Our culture radically divides the facts of the body from personhood and denies the existence of a God who cares about how we live. Humans are imagined to be advanced animals. Influenced by this logic, even professing Christians can disconnect spirituality from life in the body and rewrite God’s good rules for how to flourish in the flesh.

The results are troubling. We are unhappy about our appearances and endure rigorous routines to look like online influencers. We feel uncomfortable or even out of place in the bodies God has given us. We abuse food and alcohol in an unsatisfying quest for wholeness. Professing Christians use pornography, casually circulate indecent pictures of their bodies, and engage in intercourse outside of marriage.

But if we have a low view of our bodies, we will not glorify or enjoy God in them.

Scripture Presents a Rich Body-theology

We need to recover a biblical theology of the body. Only then will we present our “members”—our body parts—“to God as instruments for righteousness” (Rom 6:13). Honoring God’s will for our bodies requires at least six actions.

Believe in the Created Goodness of Your Body

When God made humans in his image—soul and body—he declared them “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Jesus affirmed the value of the body by assuming our flesh to do God’s will (Heb. 10:5–7). For you, too, God prepared a good physical home. You are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14). Your body is more beautiful than you think!

Confess Union with Christ

Believers can know that, “Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body. And so … we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.” That’s conjugal language (see Gen. 2:23). God indwells believers. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19–20).

Accept God’s Forgiveness for Past Sexual Sin

Believers must not doubt—on account of past sin—the sacredness of their bodies. In Christ, “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). Jesus gave his body for yours. Great sinners, when they repent, receive from Jesus great forgiveness (Luke 7:47).

Trust in the Resurrection

The resurrection is foolishness to Greeks, who view the body as something to escape, not reinhabit (1 Cor. 1:23). But a rich view of the body requires resurrection. You live in a broken world. Because of this,your body groans to be remade (2 Cor. 5:2). You don’t like how it looks. It doesn’t work properly. It is the instrument you sometimes use to sin. To fully glorify God in your body, you need a new one! And, heavenly, glorified bodies of believers will be perfect, governed completely by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 15:44)—the perfect home for your renewed spirit.

Flee Sexual Immorality

Sexual immorality is like a dangerous animal—you wouldn’t try to see how close you could sneak up to a grizzly bear! No, flee from it—it is a threat to the flourishing of your soul and body. Christians should reject coarse sexual jesting, objectification of the body, promiscuity and sexualized nudity, even in entertainment. All these lead away from the purity to which God calls us, and they invite God’s judgment (Heb. 13:4).

Glorify God in Your Body

Your body is so special that you can use it to please the Lord! So dedicate your body to Christ’s service and use it to bless others according to God’s standards. Commit to practicing sexual relations only in Scripture’s sanctioned context: marriage. Thank God for your body and treat it with respect. Practice modesty in your dress and conduct, and in this way honor the Lord and respect your neighbor.

You were made to glorify God. Believers delight in God’s law in their inner being (Rom. 7:22). But joy in God must be practiced in the body. If you are in Christ “you are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20).


  • Nancy Pearcy, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2018), 20.

  • Heidelberg Catechism, Q/A 76.

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William Boekestein

William Boekestein is the pastor of Immanuel Fellowship Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He has written several books and numerous articles. He and his wife, Amy, have four children.