When Adam and Eve ate the good fruit from the garden, they consumed not just an object of creation, but God himself. When God gives, he gives sacramentally, not figuratively; he does not gives signs of his affection, he gives–Him.~ Martin Luther
Grace to you and peace,
In what is called Gnosticism, the material world is devalued. In that system, the goal of life is to get out of these meatsacks we call bodies. Someone who is truly spiritual is someone who has shed their meatsack and ascended into heaven. We can tell when we have been influenced by Gnosticism whenever we think we can exist as a disembodied soul—meaning that our bodies aren’t ultimately also saved by the blood of Christ. It is much more accurate to say in our culture that a person goes to heaven as a pure spirit of some kind, we imagine a heaven disconnected from the earth. But this is not the case.
Read 1 Corinthians 15 to get a better idea of how our bodies are just as much a part of us as our souls, and that our bodies are saved just as much as our souls in the resurrection. This is why we value the incarnation God becoming flesh in his Son Jesus Christ.
God values the material world and it is not junk to him. We see this of course in the incarnation as mentioned above. Our bodies, therefore, are not a meatsack to be discarded. They are at the center of how God redeems the world because God himself has a body. Jesus. Some will say that God’s body really wasn’t a human body and more like a ghost that simply appeared to be a human body. How much further from the gospel can we get than this notion? If Jesus is no longer fully human, then I want nothing to do with him. He cannot save me. I am not a spirit emerging from my meatsack like a butterfly from a chrysalis. Thankfully, Jesus who is fully divine is also fully human, and remains so, throughout eternity. It is through a human body that God has given all of himself for me. In both his death and resurrection.
When we use terms like “sacraments” we are talking about God attaching his word to a material reality, a physical element. Jesus is the Word made flesh. So, God gives himself to you sacramentally. And he keeps giving himself to you sacramentally through the word proclaimed and the sacraments administered. The word proclaimed is God’s word attached to the air. The sacraments administered is God’s word attached to the elements of bread, wine, and water. And through these both spiritual and physical realities, nourishes your soul and body. There God gives you all of himself, withholding nothing. Wherever his word is there is the promise of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Adam and Eve ate the good fruit of the garden, in which they also consumed God himself.
Through the external word you also are given God himself in your body and soul. Not metaphorically, God is not a metaphor after all. Forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are yours because God puts himself within you. Materially and spiritually. All of you.
Peace and joy,
Pastor Levi Powers