commentary: Glorify God in Your Body
Be Careful What You Eat
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 13-Jun-09; Sermon #943c; 11 minutes
John Ritenbaugh, citing I Corinthians 6:18-20, warns young people against the feeling of invincibility of health as they are tempted to commit fornication and adultery. There are physical and spiritual consequences that go with messing around with a harlot. Each individual who makes up God's church is a temple of God's Holy Spirit. When God commanded Adam and Eve to dress and keep the creation, the safeguarding of the human body was included. Genetically modified foods present an insidious danger to health; when given to animals, they bring rapid death. Human immune systems are compromised by these products. We need to be on guard against GM (or genetically modified) foods which militate against God's command to dress and keep (maintain and safeguard) His creation, including our physical bodies.
I Corinthians 6:18-20 has quite a number of things that are very interesting to us, I think, in this very fast-moving area of scientific knowledge and skillfully persuasive marketing techniques.
I Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
The first thing that I want to bring to your attention is that many may overlook the care of the body, especially when they are young. When one is young, the body tends to be taken for granted, and many act as though it's going to last forever without ever giving anybody a problem. Perhaps, young people, it would be wisdom to ask some of the older folks whether it lasts forever without giving any troubles.
Paul uses the term body 42 times in I Corinthians, and seven of those 42 times are between I Corinthians 6:13-20. This is not insignificant. God's command to Adam and Eve was that they must dress and keep His creation as part of the responsibilities, and this involves dressing and keeping themselves. The responsibility for keeping that command falls on all of Adam's and Eve's children.
But the responsibility is far more significant for us. Paul tells us why at the beginning of verse 20, where he commands or reminds us that we are bought with a price. This is because we are under the blood of Jesus Christ, we are justified by faith in the blood, and we owe God much more than others. We are indebted to Christ to a degree far greater than others who are not yet called.
The context of these verses we just read is the conclusion of a teaching against the spiritual and physical dangers of illicit sexual relationships. Verse 18 says in the King James Version, "Flee fornication." The underlying Greek word there is porneia, which means sexual immorality of any kind. Paul also says in verse 18 that when one commits these sexual sins, he is sinning against his own body. He means both spiritually and physically. We ought to know that there are physical dangers in messing around with a harlot. Not only is spiritual damage done, but one is risking one's physical and mental health as well.
Verse 19, I believe, provides us with the ultimate reason why taking care of one's body is so very important. It is because the body is the temple of God's spirit, entrusted to us as the first deposit on eternal life. Is there anything more valuable than having very God-life within us?
In chapter 3, Paul made sure that we understood that, collectively, the church is the temple of God's Holy Spirit. But here in chapter 6, he shows that each individual that makes up the church is himself a temple of God's Spirit. One of the overall messages in I Corinthians is that Christian liberty is not license to do as we please. So here in chapter 6, he is reminding us that we must even consider the effects on our body.
Men—speaking generally; not just you men here—think we are so smart. And yet a growing practice of our time is also revealing that man possesses a streak of coldly calculating cruelty when money is involved.
I want you to seriously consider something regarding what we have the opportunity to choose to eat. There is a growing awareness that genetically modified foods are downright dangerous to one's health, and I mean potentially exceedingly destructive. Are you aware that cows, if they are given a fair choice to choose between natural corn and genetically modified corn—if they are in the same trough and there is a divider between them—they will not eat the genetically modified kind? That ought to tell you something. They do this despite the fact that God created them with four stomachs to break down and purify what they eat.
There are numerous reports from all over the globe of farmers reporting the deaths of cows, pigs, goats, horses and buffaloes dying soon after being on a steady diet of genetically modified food grains. Laboratories experimenting with rats and mice provide a steady stream of similar reports of quick post-birth deaths, allergic reactions, loss of sexual drive, infertility and steadily reducing birth weights and smaller litters among laboratory animals fed GM foods. Reports are flooding into the United States from all over the world that genetically modified products are dangerous. Japan, Europe and some other nations will no longer buy American products that have GM foods in them. Venezuela will not permit GM seeds to be grown in it's entire nation.
What effect are scientists finding this has on humans? Well, here is a really frightening finding. Corn, soy, canola and cotton seeds are being modified by inserting an insecticide gene into the seed. When a bug randomly eats any part—root, stock, or fruit—of the GM plant, the insecticide, which is all through that plant, enters the bug's stomach and explodes and kills the bug. However, for humans, this appears to be a major problem because our digestive tract does not kill the insecticide gene. It remains in our intestines, reproducing itself, and thus continues to poison us.
There is clear evidence that our immune system is compromised by these products. There is no evidence that Monsanto conducted trials on humans, and the government has strongly resisted requiring any. It appears that the human trials are being made in the marketplace, and we, brethren, are the test animals. The government has not required all products with GMs to be clearly labeled, and so it remains somewhat of a guessing game as to what products may contain them.
But concerned people are warning us to avoid all already-prepared foods: corn chips, tacos—I know how you like Mexican food. Almost anything with soy in it is almost guaranteed to have GM products. If you buy fruits and vegetables, they are supposed to be—and they probably are—labelled with a 5 digit number, and those codes will always begin with an 8 if it has GM products within it.
Be responsible to God. Glorify God in your body. Educate yourselves and be sure to not carelessly make yourself sick. The U.S. Government is under the thumb off a number off strong self-interest groups, one of which is the business community. Our government is abandoning some of its responsibility to protect its citizens.