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God created, loves, and is saving your body. Thatâ..s the second pillar of Paulâ..s theology of Christian optimism.
Unfortunately, many peopleâ..including many Christiansâ..donâ..t appreciate the bodily element of salvation. Because of the Bibleâ..s prohibition of sex outside marriage, for example, many unbelievers think that Christians hate bodily pleasure. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Christians, we believe that God created our bodies, including their capacity for pleasure. But we also believe that marriage is the divinely created relationship where that pleasure is best experienced.
Unfortunately, some Christians think that our bodiesâ..while importantâ..are nonetheless left out of Godâ..s salvation plan. They speak of the salvation of our souls, but not our bodies. They speak of eternity in heaven, but the Bible speaks of eternity on a new earth, in a New Jerusalem (Revelation 21.1-22.5). The biblical truth is inescapable: God is pro-body, so we should be too.
With that in mind, consider what Paul writes in Romans 8.22-25:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In these verses, Paul makes three points, centered on three words: groaning, redemption, and hope.
First, groaning: Because I have a chronic back condition, I am something of an expert on groaning. I can remember when I didnâ..t have this condition, and I look forward to being healed of it in eternity, but for the time being, I groan a lot. When I stand up, when I sit down, when I roll over in bedâ..I groan. All creation is like that. We all are like that. We are caught in imperfect times between the perfection of creation and the perfection of New Creation.
Second, redemption: God is not the kind of God who leaves us groaning forever. Instead, one day, he will rid the world of the condemnation and contamination of sin. On that day, our adoption as Godâ..s sons and daughters will be complete. Part of that adoption is the redemption of our bodiesâ..their resurrection into eternal life. Our groans will be transformed into eternal shouts of â..Hallelujah!â. Iâ..m looking forward to that day.
In the meantime, however, hope: We are not yet what God wants us to be, but one day, we will be. Until that day, however, we must exercise an eager and patient hopefulness. God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. He will do the same for us.
The world will be saved, and our bodies will be redeemed: Those are two reasons why Christiansâ..of all peopleâ..are eternal optimists.