The Lord for the Body
“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body” (I Corinthians 6:13).
There is reciprocity in God’s relations with man. That which God has been for me, I ought in my turn to be for Him. And that which I am for Him, He desires again to be for me. If, in His love, He gives Himself fully to me, it is in order that I may lovingly give myself fully to Him. In the measure in which I more or less really surrender to Him all my being, in that measure also He gives Himself more really to me. God thus leads the believer to understand that this abandonment of Himself involves the body, and the more our life bears witness that “the body is…for the Lord,” the more also we experience that the Lord is for the body. In saying, “The Lord [is] for the body,” we express the desire to regard our body as wholly consecrated, offered in sacrifice to the Lord, and sanctified by Him. In saying, “The Lord [is] for the body,” we express the precious certainty that our offering has been accepted, and that, by His Spirit, the Lord will impart to our body His own strength and holiness, and that henceforth He will strengthen and keep us.
This is a matter of faith. Our body is material, weak, feeble, sinful, mortal. Therefore it is difficult to grasp all at once the full extent of the words, “The Lord [is] for the body.” It is the Word of God which explains to us the way to assimilate. The body was created by the Lord and for the Lord. Jesus took upon Him an earthly body. In His body He bore our sins on the cross, and thereby set our body free from the power of sin. In Christ the body has been raised again, and seated on the throne of God. The body is the habitation of the Holy Spirit; it is called to eternal partnership in the glory of heaven. Therefore, with certainty, and in a wide and universal sense, we can say, “Yes, the Lord Jesus, our Savior, is ‘for the body.'”
This truth has many applications.
In the first place, it is a great help in practical holiness. More than one sin derives its strength from some physical tendency. The converted drunkard has a horror for intoxicating drinks, but, notwithstanding, his appetites are sometimes a snare to him, gaining victory over his new convictions. If, however, in the conflict he gives over his body with confidence to the Lord, all physical appetite, all desire to drink will be overcome. Our temper also often results from our physical constitution. A nervous, irritable system produces words which are sharp, harsh, and wanting in love. But let the body with this physical tendency be taken to the Lord, and it will soon be experienced that the Holy Spirit can mortify the risings of impatience, and sanctify the body, rendering it blameless.
These words, “The Lord [is] for the body,” are applicable also to the physical strength which the Lord’s service demands of us. When David cries, “It is God that girdeth me with strength” [Psalm 18:32], he means physical strength, for he adds: “He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet…a bow of steel is broken by mine arms” (Psalm 18:33-34). Again in these words: “The Lord is the strength of my life” (Psalm 27:1), it does not mean only the spiritual man but the entire man. Many believers have experienced that the promise, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31), touches the body, and that the Holy Spirit increases the physical strength.
But it is especially in divine healing that we see the truth of these words: “The Lord [is] for the body.” Yes, Jesus, the sovereign and merciful Healer, is always ready to save and cure. There was in Switzerland, some years ago, a young girl with tuberculosis and near death. The doctor had advised a milder climate, but she was too weak to take the journey. She learned that Jesus is the Healer of the sick. She believed the good news, and one night when she was thinking of this subject it seemed to her that the body of the Lord drew near to her, and that she ought to take these words literally, “His body for our body.” From this moment she began to improve. Some time after she began to hold Bible readings, and later on she become a zealous and much-blessed worker for the Lord among women. She had learned to understand that “the Lord [is] for the body.”
Dear sick one, the Lord has shown thee by sickness what power sin has over the body. By thy healing He would also show thee the power of redemption of the body. He calls thee to show that which thou hast not understood hitherto, that “the body is… for the Lord.” Therefore give Him thy body. Give it Him with thy sickness and with the sin, which is the original source of sickness. Believe always that the Lord has taken charge of this body, and He will manifest with power that He really is the Lord, who is “for the body.” The Lord, who has Himself taken upon Him a body here on earth and regenerated it, from the highest heaven, where He now is, clothed with His glorified body, sends us His divine strength, willing thus to manifest His power in our body.