Honoring the Body as Temple of God
Rev. Mathai Joseph
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. ….that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect”. (vv.1-2)
The first eleven chapters of Romans can be termed as a dogmatic treatise, a theological exposition, in which Paul defines in its depth and breadth the Gospel message. And, the section starting from Ch.12 focuses on how to translate theology into actual practice in the lives of the faithful. Through baptism we are incorporated into the body of Christ and thereby we are set apart to belong to God. It is in the light of this reality, that Paul exhorts those who are called to belong to God, to present their bodies ‘as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God..’
What Paul calls for, from believers, is not to set apart for God a portion of one’s life - time, talents or resources- but to ‘present’ one’s body, suggesting a glad, willing offering of oneself as a living sacrifice for God. It is submitting the entirety of one’s life. It is the kind of worship God is looking for from those who truly belong to Him, and not worship at an external, partial, lifeless level. True worship is a holistic act in which the total being of a person is actively and vitally involved. In this act of worship, our bodies are presented for holy, sacramental living.Here, we are called to live a transformed life, continuously being renewed by the indwelling Spirit, thereby discerning the perfect will of God. It is a call for formation into a new being, necessitating an identity change. It is a challenging task for each one of us. It is Martin Luther King who commented about the pressures for cultural conformity ‘to condition our minds and feet to move to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo’. It is true that, the lures of the present competitive consumerist society pressurises us a lot to a life of conformity to the current streams of the dominant culture. Consciously and intentionally we need to heed to God’s call and commit ourselves to a holy living, pleasing to God.
Thank You Lord for graciously calling us to be Your children. Strengthen us to live as Your children, by being transformed by the renewing of our minds, enabling us to discern Your will for us. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: