There is NO Spiritual Reward for Depriving the Physical Body of Comfort or Pleasure
There is a great falsehood that is perpetuated by the modern church, and it is one that threatens the very mission assigned to every believer in Matthew 28:18-20. Before one can address this falsehood, one must understand the duty of God's people in this life. It is the believer's task to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them as God ordained, and teaching them how to obey the teachings of Jesus. What then are the teachings of Jesus? As believers, we hold as doctrine that God the Father, along with the Holy Spirit and the Son created all that is. He gave Man, God's special creation made in His own image, dominion over the physical creation, directing Man to "fill the earth and subdue it". Scriptures outline in Genesis 1:28-30 this natural stewardship of Man over the fish of the sea, all living creatures on the ground, and the birds of the air. In addition, God gave to Man the use of "every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it" (Genesis 1:29b). God, after reviewing all that He had created noted in Genesis 1:31 that it was "very good".
Man's charmed life lasted until the Fall, by which sin and sin nature entered the world. Pain in childbirth, difficulty in agriculture, and, most importantly, death are all results of Man's disobedience (Genesis 3:16-19). Death, despite its negative connotations was given to Man as a gift, for only in death could the separation between God and Man be bridged. The practice of offering firstborn livestock to God began with Abel's first sacrifice. This offering pointed to God's ultimate resolution for sin's breach, first promised Genesis 3:15. Over many years, the population of the fallen earth came to be composed of both those following the one true God, and those who were deceived and worshipped false gods. The hereditary line of the faithful is carefully traced in the Old Testament. This lineage was important for the traditions of those eventually known as Hebrews, but was more important due to its role in showing the fulfillment of God's greatest promise. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of the messiah's heritage in Isaiah 9:7b, declaring that the messiah would rule on the throne of David. In chapter 59, Isaiah declares that, "The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins", (Isaiah 59:20). The prophecy recorded in Isaiah, among other places, was fulfilled in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, who in death conquered death forever. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, begins by establishing this prophetic heritage for his readers, proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God by which believers' receive grace (Romans 1:3-5). It is only through belief in Jesus Christ that grace may be received, and only by this grace that one may be saved (Ephesians 2:8). Throughout the New Testament, Jesus and his...