Matthew 5:6 - Body and Soul

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” -Matthew 5:6

Does it strike you as strange that Jesus uses bodily terms here to speak about something as lofty and spiritual as seeking righteousness? Of course, we know that Jesus’ words are perfect, but it almost feels, does it not, like it would make more sense to speak of spiritual longing in higher, more spiritual terms. After all, we think of our bodies as temporary right? Bodies need to be washed to prevent a stench, but our souls and spirits are high and pure right? Or at least that’s how we instinctively feel. But what does the bible say about our bodies? In the first chapter of Genesis the word of God declares that our bodies are made in the very image of God and that he has declared his creation very good! Psalm 139 declares that our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and in his letter to the church of Phillppi, the apostle Paul teaches that we honor God in our bodies in life and in death, and that our bodies will be gloriously transformed to be like that of God. It sounds like in the eyes of God our physical bodies are good things, created in his own image.

There is just no dividing our beings into separate and disparate parts

All very well, but doesn’t the bible teach that our bodies are at war with our souls? Aren’t our souls the seats of our true self and our bodies the sources of our sin? After all doesn’t Paul talk about the urges of our flesh? And yet in Jeremiah 17:9 we learn that it is the heart, our inner self, that is deceitful and wicked above everything. In Romans 12 we are told to offer our bodies as holy and pure living sacrifices as an act of worship, and indeed this is what Christ himself did on our behalf. He took on a body like ours and in it made himself a sacrifice for us. Isaiah says that by his stripes, the physical lashings to his body, we are healed. Not only was it his physical body that was disgraced for us, but it was in this same body that he ascended physically in all his Glory to take his seat at the right hand of the Father. It seems that we are not pure souls trapped in lowly bodies but are indeed holistic persons made up of bodies and of souls. Our bodies can be pure and holy or our spirits can create a stench in the nose of our creator. It is not the parts of our beings that make us sinful, but our status in or out of Christ or His will that identifies both our bodies and spirits as vessels of righteousness or of wrath.

Is it not then more important to tend to our souls and deprive our bodies, since it is our souls that will live forever as our bodies return to dust? According to scripture our bodies do return to dust, but only temporarily! In 1 Corinthians Paul argues that we cannot deny the future resurrection of our own bodies without denying the resurrection of Christ himself. John 5:28 teaches that a time will come when we hear his voice from the grave and in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 we learn that those who died in Christ will be bodily resurrected. It is in our own physical bodies that we will reign with Christ for 1000 years.

It seems like there is just no dividing our beings into separate and disparate parts, we are holistic creatures made up of body, mind, and spirit, and we are told to bend all of these things toward the service of God (Matthew 22:37.) He created us to hunger and thirst for him and for his righteousness, with  our entire selves, mind, soul, and strength, in imitation of Christ who became flesh for us.

posted by Daily,
September 04 18

Daily Nourish serves to encourage Christians to honor God with all their heart, mind, soul & strength and to love their neighbor as themselves. Thanks for stopping by!


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