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Question and Answers

When the Lord creates the new heavens and the new Earth, will we have physical bodies?

Yes. At the resurrection, God will reunite our departed souls and spirits with our physical bodies (1 Cor. 15:35–58; 1 Thess. 4:13–18). Our resurrected bodies will be glorified (Rom. 8:23), suited for the enjoyment of God forever (Rev. 22:3–5). Our physical embodiment matters to God. On a sad note, God will resurrect unsaved people, who die without trusting Christ, at the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11–15). Their resurrected bodies will be designed to endure the eternal judgment of God in the lake of fire. That’s one of the reasons we preach the gospel and plead with people to trust Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior before it’s eternally too late.

In John 2:4, when Jesus referred to his mother as "woman," was He being rude and disrespectful?

I am 65 years old. Frankly, if I could live to be 9 billion years old, I would never address my late mother, Annie Lou, the product of rural Mississippi, as “woman.” At first glance, especially to our 21st-century ears, our Lord’s words seem rude and cutting. But in reality, they are not. In the culture of His day, our Lord’s reference to His mother as “woman” was a term of endearment and profound respect. The Lord valued and honored His mother’s womanhood as a bearer of the image of God (Gen. 1:27). You will not find a trace of sexism or misogyny in the person of Jesus. May we all value, cherish and honor our mothers the way He did His (John 19:25–27).

In Mark 3:1–6, Jesus was angry because the Pharisees were hard of heart. How could Jesus, the perfect man, experience anger?

In His humanity, Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20–21), born of the virgin, Mary (Matt. 1:22–25).  The Lord Jesus knew not sin (2 Cor. 5:21), committed no sin (1 Peter 2:22), and in Him there is no sin (1 John 3:5). Since Jesus is sinless, it is obvious that anger can be holy and pure and free from sin. The Lord’s anger in Mark 3 was neither a loss of self-control nor the rage of a powerless person, but the perfect demonstration of His holy nature and heart toward sin.

How can I tell the difference between sinful anger and holy anger?

Jesus is our model. One trait of holy anger is sorrow. In Mark 3:5, the Lord was grieved. The implication of the Greek word translated as “grieved” is that His grief and sorrow were deep. In His holy anger, there was deep grief and sorrow for the hardness of the heart of these religious people. We could say that Jesus felt sorrow for the people. When we see people living in sin and unyielding to the overtures of God’s grace and compassion, it should break our hearts with sorrow and grief.

On the other hand, sinful anger is destructive and never brings hope and healing. Jesus was angry and grieved, but He healed the man with the withered hand. Holy anger restores and heals; sinful anger destroys and kills.

I have been hearing a lot about structural or systemic injustice. As Christians, how should we respond to the current critiques of our social and government structures?

As Christians, we are called to think biblically about all of life, and we should not restrict our biblical thinking to our personal and corporate church life. I will not answer this question directly, but I will offer a biblical framework for our thinking and a practical conclusion. First, because of the sin of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:14–24), the entire universe is alienated from God (Rom. 8:18–21; Col. 1:15–20). We live in a fallen world marked by death, mourning, crying, and pain that will not be removed until the creation of the new heaven and the new Earth (Rev. 21:1–4). Sinful and fallen people live under the power of sin in our fallen world (Rom. 3:9–18). Consequently, all human structures—social, cultural, and governmental—are fallen. Even our best systems and governmental structures bear the taint of sin because fallen people established them. Therefore, all structures stand in need of assessment, evaluation, and reform. It is a form of idolatry to think that any system that we set up is beyond the need of God’s repair and reformation. The practical conclusion is this: In the power of the Spirit, based on the gospel, Christians should seek to be healing agents of redemption, salt, and light, in our broken world (Matt. 5:13–14), leading men and women to Christ, and working to bring reformation and healing in every area of life, including the ongoing reformation and healing of fallen structural systems.

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is currently working towards his third degree in at the University of Bristol, England. An ordained minister and full-time professor of pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute, Winfred has served churches across the City of Chicago, the near west subburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren. 

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