SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BODY)

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Throughout Scripture we find the wonder and mystery of the human body, designed by God (Psa 139:13-15). Jesus created a body for himself, and Adam was the prototype. Paul described Jesus as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15). Jesus chose the human body as the from or image he would live in while on his earth mission. Our bodies become symbolic reminders that we were designed with a purpose, shaped to bye the aware and obedient servants of God, the Maker of heaven and earth. Furthermore, the fact that Jesus took on human flesh shows that through the body is dust and is wasting away (Gen 3:19; 2 Cor 4:16), it is good and useful, part of what makes us human beings in the image of God.

BODY AND SOUL:

The Old Testament view the body doesn’t usually emphasize components like flesh, spirit, or soul, but instead sees the human as a created unit. Job said to God, “My throat would rather be choked. My body would prefer death to these dreams” (Job 7:15). But among the Psalms and Proverbs we can also find a distinction between the body and the sword: “That is why my heart is glad and my soul rejoices. My body rests securely” (Psa 16:9; 31:9). Proverbs weighs in with “Pleasant words are like honey from a honeycomb-sweet to the spirit and healthy for the body” (16:24). So we see a gradual understanding that in the body resides the eternal soul, which continues after the body has died.

THE BODY AS A SYMBOL OF SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING: 

The Bible gives the understanding that our bodies are affected by sin. Biblical writers seemed to understand what scientists are now proving: our state of mind affects our health. We are told that “a tranquil heart makes for a healthy body, but jealousy is like bone cancer” (Prov 14:30). Psalm 38 says, “No healthy spot is left on my body because of your rage. There is no peace in my bones because of my sin” (vs 3), and then proceeds to list all the effects of sin on the physical body. These were not primarily literal aches and pains but more the symbolic connection between body and spirit. The outward condition of the body symbolizes what is going on inside the soul.

The Bible also uses the body as a symbol of circumstances. The wealthy are portrayed as fat (Job 15:27), and the poor as wasting away (Isa 17:4). The wicked are sleek and fat (Psa 73:4-17), while the oppressed are emaciated. The body is an external dwelling that reveals a person’s status and lifestyle.

THE BODY REDEEMED

By the time we enter the world of the New Testament, widespread Greek though regarded the body as evil. However, the Scriptures never portray the body itself as evil. It is marred by sin and is mortal as part of the curse, but the body is also part of us that God wants to redeem. Paul speaks about “sin in our bodies” (Rom 6:6), but he doesn’t mean that our bodies are left out of God’s plan for us.

Therefore, never let sin rule your physical body so that you obey its desire. Never offer any part of your body to sin’s power. No part of your body should ever be used to do any ungodly thing. Instead, offer yourselves to God as people who have come back from death and are now alive. Offer all the parts of your body to God. Use them to do everything that God approves of. Certainly, sin shouldn’t have power over your because you’re not controlled by laws, but by God’s favor. (Rom 6:12-14). 

      Once we become followers of Jesus, our bodies remind us daily that as Christ died and rose again, so will we. Because he lives, we will live. He was raised with a body, and we are destined for the same experience (1 Cor 15:42-44, 53-54).

THE BODY OF CHRIST: 

Scripture gives the term two meanings: the first from the words of Jesus, and the second from the words of Paul. Jesus took bread to symbolize his body that would be given as a sacrifice and payment for the sins of humankind. The communion elements symbolize Jesus’ willing acceptance of the pain, shame, and extreme suffering required to substitute for us on the cross. The combination of Jesus’ bodily capacity to feel and his capacity to physically die became the unique offering that provided forgiveness and eternal life to those who would otherwise have no hope.

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Communion is a remembrance of Christ’s bodily death on the cross for our salvation.

The body of Christ is also the rich New Testament symbol of all those who have been saved by him. Believers are parts of a body (Rom 12:4-5; 1 Cor 12:12-31). Our attachment to Christ, who is the head of the body, also means that we are attached to all others who have Jesus as Lord. This is true of believers presently alive but extends back to all believers. The body of Christ represents those who will be together for all eternity, experiencing the presence of Christ in the new heaven and new earth in a way we can only experience wit limits now.

As “members” of the body of Christ we have functions and roles within that body. Just as each part of the body is necessary, so each person has a valuable role within the body of Christ while at the same time depending on the rest of the body to do their parts (1 Cor 12). The loss of any member limits the function of the body.

 

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