The next profitable thing we shall consider is
“Bodily exercise profiteth a little” (Marg. “for a little time” - 1 Tim. 4:8) .
It may appear strange that bodily exercise, on the part of the believer, should be included among the profitable things of Scripture; but inasmuch as the Word of God declared this to be so, it will be well worth our time to consider what the Bible has to say about the body of the believer and the necessity for him to keep it in good physical condition by the use of judicious exercise.
We shall think of four things which the Bible reveals concerning the physical body of the believer. First, it has been given to him by the Lord. Second, it has become the purchased possession of the Lord. Third, it is to be presented, as a living sacrifice, to the Lord. Fourth, it should be kept, as far as possible, in good condition for the Lord.
1. The believer’s body has been given to him by the Lord.
Each Christian should recognize this fact.
(1) The Creator of it.
The Bible reveals the fact that man is the result of the direct creative act of God.
We read: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them … And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Gen. 1:27; 2:7).
The introduction, wide dissemination and popular acceptance of the evolutionary hypothesis (guess), which has no foundation whatever in the facts of science, seeks to deny this fact, and to bow God out of His creation. It is a case of the wish becoming father to the thought. The thought of God and of man’s personal responsibility to Him, as his Creator, was resented by many. When this theory of evolution was introduced by Darwin in his, “Origin of Species,” it found immediate and willing acceptance on the part of those who said in their heart to God: “Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto Him?” (Job 21:14-15).
Briefly stated by Le Conte, the theory of evolution can be defined as: “Continuous progressive change, according to fixed laws, and by means of resident forces.” It affirms that all life, whether fish, bird, insect, reptile or animal, had its origin in a primordial germ which, through the millions of years which have elapsed since it began to be, has slowly but surely evolved or developed, by the innate forces of “natural selection,” and “the survival of the fittest,” to the various forms of life which are now existent on the earth, including man. Thus the direct creative act of God, as described in Genesis, is ridiculed as a myth, and relegated to the scrap heap, as being “unscientific.”
Though it is only an unproved theory, evolution is taught today as though it were a proven scientific fact. Our young people from grade school to university, are being taught this God-denying theory, and thus being robbed of their faith in the divine revelation of the Bible. There are two schools of thought regarding this evolutionary hypothesis. The Atheistical school which eliminates God entirely, and the Theistic school, which declares that God created the original germ and then left the development of it to purely natural processes. The person who believes the Bible record rejects them both.
Many books have been written combating the theory of evolution, in which many of the findings of great scientists, who reject the theory, are clearly stated. It would be a real service to put into the hands of our young people such literature, and thus forewarn and forearm them against this faith-destroying heresy. Two little booklets are recommended for this purpose: “Evolution. Science Falsely So Called.” Published by International Christian Crusade, 12 Spadina Road, Toronto 4, Ontario, Canada. (108 pages, 25 cents per copy). “Why I Believe the Genesis Record” by J. R. Hand. Published by “Back to the Bible Broadcast” Box 233, Lincoln, Nebraska. (15 cents).
The person who accepts the evolutionary theory, must face the fact that he takes issue with the Son of God who, when referring to the creation of man declared: “From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6; Matt. 19:4). Since He was the Creator, (Col. 1:16-17) His Word should surely be final on this question! The fact that man’s body is the result of a divine creation should therefore invest it with a dignity only Deity could give.
(2) The Composition of it.
Scripture reveals that man is a tripartite being, composed of body, soul and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). The body is the seat of world consciousness. Through the five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching, we are able to receive impressions from and communicate with the world around us, in which we live, move and have our being.
Through the soul, we become aware of our own entity, and are able to analyse the impressions received through the senses, and arrive at certain conclusions regarding those impressions as to whether we like or dislike them. It is therefore the seat of self consciousness, the memory, intelligence and imagination, the faculty by which we reason.
The spirit, which is the highest part of man, and which distinguishes him from brute creation, is the seat of God consciousness. God can communicate Himself to man through the spirit which He has placed in him. The spirit of man is described in the Bible as “the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts” (Prov. 20:27). In the case of an unsaved person, the spirit is said to be in a state of darkness, so that he can neither see, understand nor appreciate spiritual things (Eph. 4:18; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Cor. 2:14). When a person is regenerated, his spirit is said to be illuminated and he is described as being “light in the Lord,” and declared to be translated “out of darkness into light” (See Eph. 5:8; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Cor. 4:6; John 8:12).
The body is therefore the house in which we live temporarily. It is called a “tabernacle” or a tent (2 Cor. 5:1). David, as he contemplated the complexity of the human body declared: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works and that my soul knoweth right well” (Ps. 139:14). Some years ago, Dr. Alexis Carroll, a most skillfull physician, wrote a book entitled: “Man the Unknown,” in which he pointed out the marvel and mystery of the human body, which has defied all man’s efforts to thoroughly analyze and completely understand.
Here then, is man’s body, God’s masterpiece. It is composed of 245 bones, exquisitely carved and grooved; 500 muscles, large and small, some acting spontaneously and others at the will of man; three layers of skin with myriads of pores; a vast network of nerves, arteries and veins, penetrating to each part of the body and furnishing life and sensibility. Within the marvelous framework of this body are the vital organs, the brain, heart, lungs, liver, intestines, stomach, kidneys, etc. Each of these organs fulfills the purpose which the Creator intended when He designed and created it.
(3) The Capability of it.
Man is not only tripartite in his composition, but within that body is a personality, or individuality, which distinguishes each person from every other person on the face of the earth. This personality is expressed in a three-fold way. First, by an intellect, which enables him to obtain, retain, and reproduce knowledge. Second, by his emotions by which he reacts to what he learns: he likes or dislikes, he loves or hates, etc. Third, by his will, by which he is enabled to determine on a course of action and carry it out. This, in reality, is what the Bible means by the word “heart” which is the motivating part of man. In some cases, when the word “heart” is mentioned, the emphasis is on the intellect (Luke 9:47; Eph. 4:18); at other times on the emotions (Luke 21:26; 24:32). Sometimes it is on the will (Eph. 6:6; Acts 11:23). Thus the “heart” represents the whole man: his intellect, emotions and will. This personality of man is a sacred thing which God never coerces, but to which He appeals by His Word and the Holy Spirit. Through the preaching of the Word, He seeks to enlighten the intellect, stir the emotions, and precipitate the will to a right decision and act.
What tremendous capabilities, either for good or evil are resident in the human body! It can become the means under God of bringing glory to Him and untold blessing to one’s fellow-man; or it can become a dishonor to God and a curse to humanity. One has only to read the pages of history to have this fact verified. Think of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, John, Peter, Paul, and hundreds of others whose bodies, when placed at God’s disposal were used by Him to accomplish His purpose of blessing to man. Then think of others whose bodies became the tool of the devil and brought disaster and grief to untold millions.