A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise

Chapter 1: Biblical Foundations: Human Body, Fitness and Care 9 Paul describes both the anguish of living in a sin-cursed world and the promise of God’s deliverance: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:20–21). All creation fell with humanity, suffers with humanity, and awaits the adoption of humanity. As we await the eternal realization of our adoption, our physical bodies are subject to decay. Physical activity and healthful food are common graces of God that make functioning in the sin-cursed world possible as we await the final undoing of the curse. Being united to Christ does not always entail immediate deliverance from bodily suffering (Jas. 5:13–15); rather, Christians suffer all the more because they risk their bodies for gospel-ministry (Acts 20:22–25; 2 Cor. 4:7–12) and experience persecution (e.g., Mark 8:34–35; 13:13; John 15:20; 2 Tim. 3:12). So, the human body is a frail yet resilient vessel through which to worship God and in which to carry the gospel message, “so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor. 4:10). This resiliency can and should be enhanced through careful stewardship. Just as death was not the original intent for the human body, death is not the final end of the human body. God corrects the sin-caused distortion of his created goodness in the new creation through his Son. On account of Adam’s sin, God subjected the whole world to the futility of suffering, decay, and death (Rom. 8:20). God did so with the plan of salvation and ultimately glorification (Rom. 8:18–25). As Adam’s sin plunged all creation, including the human body, into decay and death, so Christ as the Second Adam saves creation by his own death and defeats death in his resurrection (Rom. 5:12–20; 1 Cor. 15:20–23). Thus, Jesus Christ can declare, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die“ (John 11:25–16). The promise of eternal resurrection life is for all those who believe and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus for salvation. Even as Christians die physical deaths, they await physical resurrection. And just as Christ’s resurrection body is a transformed physical body (John 20:19–29), so the Christian’s resurrection body will be a transformed physical body (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:35–53; Phil. 3:20–21). Christians’ resurrection bodies will have both continuity and discontinuity with their earthly bodies, but the Bible does not give us much in the way of specific details.