A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 1: Biblical Foundations: Human Body, Fitness and Care 7 (Rom. 6:12-13), the mind has become darkened (Eph. 4:17-19), the conscience is impure (Titus 1:15), the heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9), emotions are at war (Jas. 4:1), and the will is enslaved to sin and Satan (John 8:34). The fall has had a tremendous and dire impact on all of creation (Rom. 8:19-23) and every facet of our being, including our bodies. We cannot restore ourselves; we are in need of someone to save us from this plight, namely, eternal, bodily condemnation in hell (Rev. 20:14-15). Praise God that in his love and mercy he has shown himself to be both just and justifier by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sins (Rom. 3:21-26). As human beings, we were made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28; Gen. 9:6), but that image was marred and distorted by our sin. Jesus, God in the flesh (John 1:14) came and dwelt among us. He is the perfect image of God, the exact representation of his nature and the radiance of the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). Scripture demonstrates that while the image of God is marred within humanity due to their sin, because of Christ’s work on our behalf we are called to be renewed in his image (Rom. 8:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:10). The call to be renewed in the image of Christ involves ongoing transformation of our hearts and minds and the use of our entire being to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus (Col. 3:17). This includes the use of our body, as we use the capacities God has given us for intellect, emotions, will, words, and deeds to glorify him in all we do. Jesus came as the God-man, fully embodied, and he calls us toward growth in him in all that we are as embodied beings. As new creations in Christ, humans have the capacity to worship God (2 Cor. 5:17–21). Humans cannot worship God as disembodied spiritual beings because God’s good created order is for humans to worship as embodied souls. The choice for humans is not between embodied or disembodied worship, but rather between embodied worship or embodied idolatry. On the one hand, worship involves everything that a believer does (a total-life response to God), but worship also is recognized in particular acts and contexts. Old Testament practices of worship involved the very physical acts of sacrifices, ascending to the temple, singing, teaching, and prayer. Similarly, worship in the New Testament involves gathering as the church, singing, preaching, praying, and caring for the physical bodily needs of others (e.g., Acts 6:1–7; 1 Tim. 5:3–8; Jas. 2:14–17). The acts of worship that most closely express the physicality of Christian worship are ordinances of the church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These ordinances are tangible, physical, embodied expressions of worship. The physical participation in the Lord’s Supper is a spiritual participation with Christ himself (1 Cor. 10:14–22). Because Christ died bodily in our place, Christians no longer worship through offering animal sacrifices (Heb. 10:11–14); rather, their worship is to be expressed in a whole life of worship: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to