“All flesh is grass. … Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:6-8 (NKJV)
Do we still believe this eternal truth or have we given up on God? The soul is eternal, the body temporary. What we do with our bodies matters, since sins committed in them can send us to hell, but they’re still made of dust and will return to dust (Genesis 3:19). At the resurrection of the dead, God will give us new bodies that do not decay (1 Corinthians 15:35-54). Some of us will live in heaven, others in hell. No matter where we spend eternity, we will reside in souls reunited to resurrected, not earthly, bodies.
We’re promised 70 years on this earth, then death and judgment (Psalm 90:10, Hebrews 9:27). What is 70 years to eternity? Nothing! In light of that fact, why do Christians today give so much attention to their bodies? Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). Yet some Christians spend the same time and money on their appearance as sinners, including plastic surgery and gyms. Only good hygiene, nutrition, and a professional appearance in the workplace should matter to a Christian. So why all the fuss?
Even worse, some Christians have reduced the gospel of Christ to a religion of the body. Jesus came to Earth to save souls. The salvation of the body won’t happen until the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). We aren’t guaranteed that final salvation until our souls and spirits are first saved here on earth through conversion and holiness. Yet some Christians want to reverse this process – save the body now, the soul and spirit later. Huh?
Most biblical passages on supplying physical needs refer to Israel or Christians, not sinners. Liberal Christians like to quote Isaiah 58:6-8, Matthew 10:42 and 25:31-46, and James 2:15-16 in their salvation outlook. Yet the ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in these passages are fellow believers! The Christian’s first and most important agenda is the salvation of the soul – preaching Jesus Christ to sinners. The body – food, water, clothing, etc – can wait.
Why should we give sinners clothes, shoes, bread, and water when they’re spiritually naked, hungry, and thirsty? Why even give secular education when they lack spiritual understanding and are ignorant of Christ “the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24)? Sinners will remain in this perilous condition if we don’t preach Christ to them.
Trucks full of bread, jugs full of water, closets full of clothes, and academic degrees won’t keep anyone out of hell. It won’t guarantee their conversion here either. Yet some missionaries have produced “rice Christians” and educated heathens. These people took the physical supplies and threw away the gospel. They treated the “pearl of great price” (Matthew 13:46) like trash! The world can supply a sinner’s physical needs, but it cannot give rest for the soul (11:28-30). That’s our duty. The world doesn’t care about eternity. We should.
Regardless of their condition, we should first offer sinners the bread and water of life (John 4:10, 6:35), the clothing of righteousness, and the wisdom of faith. Otherwise, we’re wasting time. Sinners need to learn to “put off the old coat and put on the new.” They also need to stop eating and drinking the moldy bread and muddy water of sin. We can have Christ-like compassion for sinners, as Jesus did for crowds who listened to him, and offer them necessities. But let’s not call this Christianity or confuse it with the gospel. It’s not.
“Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” – Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4
“Not by might, nor by power, but my Spirit says the Lord.” – Zechariah 4:6
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” – Romans 10:17
Do we still believe these eternal truths or have we given up on God? Few Christians today believe that the anointed Word is capable of spiritual action all by itself and it’s the only kind that matters – the repentance and conversion of the soul. The Holy Spirit can accomplish more of eternal value in one anointed song, sermon, or prayer than millions of Christians can after trying to supply people’s physical needs. I wish more believed and acted on this. Then they would stop ridiculing the Word taught and preached, whether written or spoken, as just “words.” They would also stop emphasizing “action,” i.e. supplying physical needs. Read my articles “The Hated Word” and “The Power of Words” to learn more about the gospel’s true power.
Some Christians think they can draw people to Christ with a good work ethic. In the words of Louie Giglio, “The world wants great, not a fish.” Wrong! God worked through the sweat cloths of Paul, both apostle and tentmaker, because he prayed and preached with a Holy Spirit anointing (Acts 5:15, 19:11-12). Only anointing draws people to Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) and breaks the yoke of sin (Isaiah 10:27). I don’t care how good a Christian’s work ethic is. Without an anointed verbal witness, it has no eternal use. Only the spirit of Christ in us can resist and overcome the spirit of anti-Christ. Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
What I see in the church today frightens me. We don’t believe that “all flesh is grass,” so we try to save earthly bodies at the expense of eternal souls. Neither do we believe that the anointed Word can save sinners. We don’t have the anointing and don’t even think we need it. Having begun the work of Christ in the Spirit, we want to finish in the flesh (Galatians 3:3).
If we want to enter eternity with crowns to cast at Jesus’ feet (Revelation 4:10), we must aim at heaven. We must focus on the soul and spirit, not the body. True faith starves the flesh to feed the soul, so the body must always come last. Otherwise, we’ll get nothing. We won’t have saved a single person from hell and we won’t receive any crowns. Our works will likely be burned up and we ourselves will barely be saved (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
If we want to bring Jesus Christ glory and save sinners in earth’s final hours, then let us seek the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Let us also focus on eternity – heaven, the Word, and the soul.