George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
The Uplift of the Body -- Part II
He is the savior of the body--Eph 5:23
Christ's Compassionate Care for the Body
The second factor in this change of view was the compassionate care of Jesus for the body. And I sometimes think we scarcely realize what is meant by the healing miracles of Christ. We study the separate miracles apart till we almost forget the import of the whole. We treat them as isolated incidents or as witnesses of Christ's divinity. But the miracles are really more than that. They are a revelation rather than an argument. They are not added to confirm the mission, but are themselves a vital part of it. They teach us that this despised body is part of the manhood which the Lord redeems. They teach us that the love of God for man is love for the body as well as for the soul. They teach us that there is no part nor organ, nor any faculty nor sense nor limb, but has a share in that redeeming work which brought our Savior from the throne to Calvary. Do you remember how Christ refused to interfere when one wanted Him to interpose about his property? "Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me"--and Jesus refused to speak a word. But tell me, did He ever refuse to interfere when the blind eyes looked up to Him for sight?--or when the foot was lame or when the arm was helpless or when the tongue was sealed within the lips? Always remember that the love of Christ encompasses every organ we possess. It is the love of God touching the human frame that it might never be bestial any more. We have a beautiful hymn which we are fond of singing. It is "Jesus, lover of my soul." But I want someone to write me another hymn, beginning "Jesus, lover of the body."
I think, too, that when we remember this, we see more clearly why miracles have ceased. I daresay to some of you it has seemed strange sometimes that there are no such miracles today. Have you not longed for a miracle of healing when someone whom you loved was very ill? Have you not thought how all the world would sing if that cold face would only smile again? And if Christ is the same today in love and power as when He moved along the ways of Galilee, why, you wonder, should it not be so? Still in the world are eyes that cannot see and lips that crave for utterance in vain. Still in the world are little suffering children and loved ones whose brows are drawn in anguish. And Christ--where is His hand of healing, and where is His touch that brought the strength again, and where is His voice that spoke and men were cured and the light of life came thrilling to the dead? Now will you just remember what was the deep purpose of these miracles? Will you remember that they were wrought to teach us that the body is the temple of the Holy Ghost? And if that lesson has been learned by Christendom so that Paul could say "He is the savior of the body" (Eph 5:23), then the work of the healing miracles is done. Nay, I beg of you, say not it is done. Its spirit is moving in a thousand channels. It has founded the hospital and built the infirmary, and inspired the science and the skill of Christian medicine. It has passed into the life of every doctor who is walking worthy of his high vocation. It has possessed the heart of every true nurse. The lesson of the miracles was mastered, and the great Teacher laid aside the lesson-book. But when a lesson has been learned--what then? Does it not mean that we are fit for greater things? So "greater works than these shall he do" (Joh 14:12) said the Lord--greater things even than a miracle; and in the sympathy and skill and care of Christendom that promise has been abundantly fulfilled.
The Resurrection of the Body
Then the third factor in that change of view was the doctrine of the resurrection of the body.
One of the greatest thinkers of the ancient world, in what is perhaps his choicest dialogue, has given us in his own matchless way some of the reasons why men should welcome death. He felt that the fear of death was an unworthy fear, and he tried to combat it by quiet argument, and one of his strongest arguments is this, that at death we are done forever with the body. We shall never more be clogged and troubled by it. It will never hamper the bright soul again. Death is the bird escaping from its cage. Death is the prisoner breaking from his cell. The kindliest attribute of death, for Plato, was not just that a man would be at rest then. It was that a man after his weary battle would be done forever with a body.
Brethren, who name the Name of Christ with me, do you always remember that that is not our faith? We believe in the Holy Ghost and in the Catholic church and in the resurrection of the body. That is one thing which Jesus never doubted. That is one mystery He never questioned. And now it has passed from the consciousness of Christ into the consciousness of ail His people. If there is any meaning in His empty grave and if our bodies are a living sacrifice, then in the future, body, soul, and spirit, we shall be forever with the Lord. It was that mystery, touching a thousand hearts, which set a halo of glory on the body. It was the thrill of resurrection-doctrine, and the open secret of the empty grave. It was the certainty that the glad day was coming when the body of our humiliation would be changed and would be fashioned by the power of God into the likeness of the body of Christ's glory.
Watch the Sins of the Body
And so I ask you, as I close, to think again of sins against the body. In the light of all I have been trying to say, I ask you to set aside these sins you know so well. No one could think that much harm was done if the scaffolding round some temple were defaced; and when the Roman sinned against his body, it was only the scaffolding he seemed to touch. But the Gospel has banished forever that conception, for in the light of Christ the temple is the body, and hence the heinousness of all such sins for every man who calls himself a Christian. If the body after all were but a cage, it might not be very wrong to be a sensualist. If the body after all were but a prison, the guilt of drunkenness might not be great. But if the body was the home of Jesus--if it is the temple of the Holy Ghost--if Christ has come to ransom and redeem it--if it is to be raised incorruptible and glorious--then drunkenness and uncleanness and excess, and every defiance of the laws of health, are sins not easily to be forgiven. Young men, keep yourselves pure. Young women, be scrupulously modest. You can train your body to be the best of comrades. You can train it to be the deadliest of enemies. What multitudes there are in this great Babylon who have presented their bodies to the devil! I call you to present yours to God, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable.
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