Sarx and Soma
You’re probably wondering what these words mean, because they’re not something we recognize from their native Greek roots. But they mean “flesh” and “body”. There are many references to the flesh and our bodies in the Scripture and tonight, I couldn’t help but write about them – as today was my annual physical.
Now I am sure that some of you already knew that I would write about this, since you may remember from last year that I hate going to doctors. Besides that, many of you are friends with Janet and she always keeps people aware of my schedule. Since these posts reflect my life, usually in real time, it should come as no surprise that tonight’s topic is about our human bodies.
In case you are wondering about today’s outcome, I’m healthy, and passed with flying colors. However, I don’t take this report for granted. About 10 years ago, a minor heart issue was discovered during one of my physicals – no meds or other things were necessary, but it is something that has been watched and tested each year since.
Unexplainably, two years ago, during my regular EKG, the findings were completely normal. In other words, no problems – as if I had never experienced any issue at all. Nobody can explain it, and perhaps it goes under the heading of “miracle” – that’s what I choose to call it. So now, even though I have the requisite EKG each year, including today, I celebrate when the doc tells me that everything is “normal” or “perfect”. I always shoot up one of those little arrow prayers thanking Him for good health.
The blood tests were normal as well, so I’m rejoicing this evening. As hard as I try, it’s still difficult for me to go to doctors, and it has been something that has haunted me since I was a very young boy and witnessed a doctor wrestle my brother to the ground to give him a shot. I never forgot that sight…. it terrified me and I still think of it every appointment, even though I have a great doc who is incredibly compassionate and has a wonderful “bedside” manner.
But there’s no denying that as we get older, things don’t generally work as well as they used to. A few more aches and pains here and there, a little more fatigue and stamina is a little lower than it used to be. I notice it the most when I travel – it takes me a little longer to recover from flights and I can’t go quite as long at the office after a day of flying.
Paul and many others made references to the flesh and how the body seems to have a mind of its own. He even remarked about having a thorn in his side that was a constant reminder to him of the weakness of his body. Christ made references about things like water and being thirsty, but that He had food and drink that would last forever. So He made the distinction between our human bodies and our eternal bodies. He also, being God, took on human form, in the flesh, to live among us and experience life as a mortal. During that time on earth, He even gave up the prerogatives of deity and lived a human life until He was resurrected from the dead and finally ascended to the Father.
I could go on and on, but I’m sure that you get the idea – we live in mortal bodies and having accepted the gift of eternal life from God, we have also started our eternal lives. That’s something that some people find difficult to grasp. How can you have a physical body and yet have eternal life? That’s an easy one. Eternal life doesn’t start when you die, but when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. So you can have an eternal life while you still have a physical life. There is no time, ever, that you will be separated from Christ.
That’s great news. So regardless of the frailty of physical life, with its ups and downs, eternal life awaits those who have professed their faith in Christ. The verse for tonight reminds us of one of Paul’s reflections on his own life. From Gal. 2:20, we are told, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
In other words, Paul knew that he no longer walked alone – he walked with Christ; and God, through the Holy Spirit, actually resided in Paul – and in each of us who has accepted the gift of eternal life. My encouragement tonight is that Christ knows our needs and the physical limitations of our bodies – especially as we age. But that’s okay, because we are with Him eternally. My prayer is that you will reach out to God and thank Him for the health that you have enjoyed and that you will rejoice in the fact that some day you will have a different body – a perfect body, for all time. Have a wonderful day in the Lord….