Simone Biles, regarded as one of the greatest gymnasts in US history, has stirred controversy and criticism following the Tokyo Olympics.
A few days ago Biles requested her Instagram followers to share “unpopular opinions.” In the beginning, most were rather benign and non-controversial. Until one person posted, “abortion is wrong.”
Biles, who won silver and bronze medals in the Olympics, responded, “ “I already know this is going to start the biggest argument & may even lose followers BUT I’m very much pro-choice.”
“Your body. your choice,” she added, reciting a famous slogan of the pro-choice movement.
The thread quickly devolved into a discussion of adoption, the foster care system, and a woman’s right to control her personal decisions.
Typically around the anniversary of Roe v Wade, ThePreachersWord offers some Biblical insight into the issue of abortion. However, today let’s just focus on this popular mantra–“My body. My choice.”
How you feel about this repeated refrain will depend on your worldview and your understanding of Scripture.
In the first century, there were basically two views of the human body. One was that it should be worshiped for its beauty and idolized for its strength. The body was something to be proud of and to flaunt.
On the other hand, some believed that the body was inherently sinful. That the body didn’t matter, only the spirit mattered. In fact, the body was only a shackle and a prison house. It was something to be despised and even ashamed of. There was a popular proverb, “The body is a tomb.” Epictetus said, “I am a poor soul shackled to a corpse.”
Christianity presented a third view. It is one that Paul advanced in his letters to the Roman and Corinthian Christians.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).
The apostle argues that the body is to be consecrated to the Lord. It is not to be worshiped, nor it is to be abased. We should not glorify it, but neither should we be ashamed of it. It is given to us by God. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
From these passages, I draw four important conclusions.
#1 My body doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to the Lord.
God, the creator, has the right to direct how we use our bodies. In the Corinthian text, Paul reminds Christians that the body is not to be used for sexual immorality. We are not at liberty to satisfy every natural urge of the body. Since the body belongs to the Lord, He has the right to place restrictions on how we use it.
The virtue of self-control even regulates our eating. We are not to be gluttons. Nor are we to engage in and satisfy unbridled lusts of the flesh. God has placed the sexual relationship within the bonds of holy matrimony.
Your body is not yours. It’s the Lords.
#2 My body is to be consecrated to God’s divine purpose.
When one obeys the gospel of Christ, his body is submerged in the water of baptism. The Bible says that “our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” Heb. 10:22). In that act, God applies the blood of Jesus and washes away our sins (Rev. 1:5; Ax. 22:16).
We are no longer Satan’s slaves, but servants of Jesus Christ. He calls us to be holy. To be separate. Set apart. And sanctified. The body is a “living sacrifice.” Whatever the scripture says about God’s will for our lives, must be realized, applied, and practiced by my mind, body, and spirit.
#3 My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
How does the Spirit dwell within us? While there are various views on this topic, the fact is affirmed. The very indwelling of the Holy Spirit prompts Paul to pen, “you are not your own.”
To abuse, misuse, mistreat, exploit, pervert, or corrupt, God’s natural use of the body is to displease, despise and disdain the Holy Spirit.
#4 My body ought to glorify God.
We’ve been “bought with a price,” the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Since He now owns us, He exercises control of our lives, including our bodies. All that we do in the flesh should honor Him. I am not conformed to the sinful desires, deeds, and devices of the world, but daily seeking to be transformed and changed to become more like Him.
While this doesn’t specially address the issue of abortion, it does debunk one of its most fundamental beliefs–“My body. My choice.”
The Lord’s body. His choice.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman