Living Icons

Brian Keepers

Read: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit . . . ? (v. 19)

Have you ever thought about what it means that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? If you’re a Christian, the body you have right now is the house where God’s Spirit dwells. This means you’re not your own: you’ve been bought with a price (vv. 19-20). We now belong to God. Even more, our bodies are members of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:27).

What you do to and with your body matters. In this passage, the apostle Paul is especially concerned about sexual sin. Sexual desire is not a bad thing—it’s a gift from God. But when we express these desires in ways that dishonor God, we aren’t treating our bodies as God’s temple, and we’re also damaging Christ’s body, the church. Of course, this all goes beyond sexual sin. Any time we harm our bodies or act in ways contrary to God’s will, we fail to glorify God in the body.

In God without Being, French philosopher Jean-Luc Marion distinguishes between idols and icons. An idol is a false god, a mirror in which we see ourselves, whereas an icon is a window that directs our attention to the one true God. We must not treat our bodies as idols, things to be worshipped. But when we seek to glorify God in our bodies, they become living icons—breathing works of art—that point to the triune God’s goodness, beauty, and justice. —Brian Keepers

As you pray, ask God to help you embody his truth and grace.