Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Your Body Is The Temple Of God

       What is a temple? A temple (from the Latin word templum) is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. So in short, a temple is a place of worship, and for the Christian, the temple is the house of God.
       The first Israeli temple was a permanent worship center built by King Solomon, the second king of Israel, four years into his reign. It was built four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites came out of their captivity in Egypt (see 1 Kings 6:1). David, his father, had wanted to be the one to build the temple, but God had other plans. God said to David, “Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my name” (1 Kings 5:3 NIV). In preparation for this project, King David put together most of the materials and supplies the builders would need for building the temple.   
       That structure was huge and magnificent! (See 1 Kings 6:2-36) Unfortunately, the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon destroyed it by fire during the reign of King Zedekiah (see 2 Chronicles 36:17-20).
       The temple was later rebuilt at the command of Cyrus, king of Persia, who proclaimed throughout his kingdom that God had appointed him to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem in Judah (see Ezra 1:1-4). Some of the Israelites in captivity returned home to undertake that project. When the foundation was laid, the Israelites who had seen the first temple many years prior wept bitterly, because the foundation of the new temple was no match for the first one (see Ezra 3:12-13).
       The temple remained a place of worship and sacrifice, and a place where God met with His people. Anything or anybody considered unclean for health or other reasons was not allowed in the temple, an indication that God wants the temple to remain holy at all times.
       During the time of Jesus, the temple area had become a trading place. Offended by the practice, Jesus overturned the tables and benches of the traders, and drove them out, saying to them, “It is written my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers” (Matthew 21:13 NIV). 
       It is obvious that the temple at this time was a physical structure visible to the human eye, built by humans: with human hands, human effort, and physical materials. But there is another temple; it is invisible, made without human hands, or human efforts. It is not built over time, but rather instantly.
       This temple, of course, is a spiritual temple. It is erected as soon as a person makes a confession of faith in Jesus Christ. At that moment, God comes to indwell the believer in the form of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit makes one’s heart the temple of God. God didn’t live there prior to conversion, because it was cluttered with sin. Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin, making our heart a suitable dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. So now God’s dwelling place is no longer a physical structure, but a spiritual one: our heart. The apostle Paul,  teaching the people of Athens about the true God, said, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands” (Acts 17:24 NIV).
        Just as God demanded His temple be kept holy in the Old Testament, so He requires us, in the Church age, to keep the temple of our bodies clean. It is important to note that there are consequences for destroying God’s temple. 
        On warning the Church of Corinth about godly living, the apostle Paul said to them, and to all Christians, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV). On the topic of sexual immorality, Paul again wrote to them, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

       If we constantly remind ourselves that we are God’s temple, we’ll be a bit more careful about what we do with and to our bodies and what we subject our bodies to. For instance, some of the conversations and music we listen to, some of the things we think about, and some of the things we watch have the ability to contaminate our thoughts. Let’s remember, “We are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:16 NIV). Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians, “Whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV). May God help us to respect His house and keep it clean!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What Are You Talking About?

A flimsy conversation and a deeper calling.

A study I’m participating in at my church presented the question of what constitutes genuine Christian fellowship. Here's the scenario: Five Christians gather to talk about sports, technology, and weather. Was this genuine Christian fellowship?

The group was split. Some said, yes it was. A group of Christians getting together is fellowship. Others said no. A group of Christians discussing worldly matters and nothing else is not true Christian fellowship.

I leaned toward the “yes, it was” answer, pointing out that a conversation of the same subjects among five unredeemed people would have different markers. An outsider listening to either exchange would pick up on which group called themselves Christians. A code exists among the one group demanding respect for God, resistance of improper language and topics, and hopefully a kinder demeanor. The other group might not exhibit these markers to the same degree, if at all. Also, there is an understanding among the believers that they’re in safe company. They’re with family.

The friendly discussion went on longer than it should have. Someone commented that perhaps we should find out what the Bible teaches on the matter. Then the leader of the group moved us into the rest of the lesson. Of course, the rest of the lesson offered Biblical insight into our dilemma.

Some of us, including me, stuck to our original conclusion. Although I began to see the problem with a bunch of Christians habitually getting together for no good reason. If Christ is the head of the body, why would the members of the body join for any purpose other than His purpose? Later, I asked my son his opinion. The thing that stuck out in his “that’s not true fellowship” answer was this: “The early church wouldn’t have cared about football.” Hypothetical, yes, because they didn’t have ESPN. But exactly right. According to Acts 2: 42, the early church met out of devotion to learning, to the care of each other, to the remembrance of the sacrificial body and blood of Christ, and to prayer.

Well, that doesn’t sound anything like discussing sports, technology, and weather. So, I’d like to change my answer. Those five Christians did not experience genuine Christian fellowship. Not that there’s anything wrong with a group of Christians getting together and discussing anything at all that doesn’t offend the group, those who might be listening, or the head of the body. But…is it not an offense to Christ to be upstaged during fellowship by matters of the world? The early church would have been more on task with encouragement, with empathy, with building one another up in knowledge and commitment. They wouldn’t have cared if it was going to rain this weekend. The Gospel would not have fallen in line behind…anything.

Mundane conversation can be the beginning of fellowship. But if it doesn’t move past this world to the other-worldly, to the mission, to the love we share, to the remembrance of the sacrifice, to the spread of the Gospel, then we’re just chatting. And if all we have is chatter, then maybe we haven’t realized who we really are in Christ. Maybe we’re neglecting the Bible’s clear call to fellowship with one another.

While we’re talking…This Sunday is the day. The recollection of the resurrection. Come Monday, don’t stop talking about it! He is risen. He is risen indeed!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The New You

There are many cosmetic products on the market
that claim to transform one in unbelievable ways. For
example, some claim their use could make one look ten
or more years younger. Product manufacturers claim
that using their product as directed could be more
beneficial to their users than other brands of the same
product on the market. Most of these products do not
hold up to their claim, and even if they did, the results
are only temporary.

The Bible talks about an authentic transformation that
is necessary in each individual’s life. It does not cost
individuals anything to obtain (though it cost Christ His
life), the result speaks for itself, and lasts forever. This
transformation is guaranteed through faith in Jesus
Christ, the Son of God.

Why do we need this transformation? This transformation
is necessary to restore our relationship with God; the
relationship that was interrupted by sin. Before you even
think you have no sin, listen to what the Bible says, “If
we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and
the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful
and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from
all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we
make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our
lives” (1 John 1:8-10 NIV).

When we confess our sins to God through Christ,
He cleanses us, just as the above Scripture says and
gives us a new nature created to be like Him in true
righteousness and holiness (see Ephesians 4:24). He explains
the effect of the cleansing and forgiveness by saying,
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old
has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). He further explains our transformation this way, “For you were
once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as
children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all
goodness, righteousness, and truth” (Ephesians 5:8-9 NIV).

In order for the transformation to be evident and
ongoing, we have a responsibility; to live as children of
light by allowing Christ to live through us, by obeying
His word. Our transformation has to be evident in our
attitude towards God and our fellow man. The Scripture
says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV), and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18 NIV).

God’s command in all of this is, “You are to be holy to
me because I, the Lord, am holy” (Leviticus 20:26 NIV); “Put
off your old self, . . . and put on the new self, created
to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”
(Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV). We have to make a conscious effort, each single day to maintain God’s required standard of
holiness. A ‘New You’ in Christ will last for a lifetime and
beyond; come to Jesus now!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Looking for America

A reviewer of my novel, Wake the Dead, reported the book’s premise is not too far from what we could be facing as Christians in America. While some readers fear the novel’s absurd use of technology, others are alarmed by my portrayal of a despotic government linked to the entertainment industry. I researched transhumanism and found it a potential threat to our way of life. I did not consider the possibility of this imagined futuristic government becoming a reality. Especially not by the mid-2030s—the time frame of my weird, made-up, maybe coming true story.

Yet now I’m entertained in a sick sort of way by presidential debates. By candidates’ scary laughs, crooked smiles, and wild eyes. By their blatantly rude comments, reckless recommendations, and radical solutions. This has got to be a comedy—or a tragedy—scripted, directed, produced. Superbly acted? We’ll see who gets the award.

In keeping with my kind of fiction, this cast of potential presidents includes a little-known candidate from the Transhumanist Party. Zoltan Istvan is a transhumanist (not to be confused with an actual transhuman) “aiming to put science, health, and technology at the forefront of American politics.” He’d like Chase Sterling, my futuristic government’s prototype transhuman. But Mr. Istvan hasn’t devised anything as sinister as turning a citizen into a transhuman against his will, which is what happened to Chase.

Well, I’m not sure what Mr. Istvan has planned, but I am fairly certain he doesn’t expect to win this election. He’s just making a statement about where he believes the world should be headed. The other candidates have their beliefs too. Some aim to bring back the greatness of our country. Some lean toward socialism. Some have a toe in the muddy waters of fascism. Some claim to be Christian. Others mean it, if their convictions match their words. God knows.

And God knows where this election will end. He knows who will lead our nation into a revival of old patriotism or into a new world order. But I get the impression from the actors on the stage and the directors in the media that they believe they’re in charge of the outcome. Whether this entertaining show is scripted or not, God will deliver us to our apex in history. It’s by His hand we became a great nation. It’s by His hand we remain. And it’s by His hand we will progress. Or see our end.

While I’m watching the players, being mindful of what my country may become, I’m seeking a glimpse of what it once was. I’m not afraid to look forward, even if it means monumental change. I’m not devoted to the good old days, but I know the dangers of forgetting history. Ours is filled with grief, error, triumph, and freedom. And blessing beyond any nation God has ever blessed. It’s not perfect, but it is a land of hope. So I’m looking for that lovely, consecrated, blessed country I call mine.  We average citizens of the U.S.A. don’t know what the future will reveal. For now, I’m looking for America to seek God’s mercy, and to remain a great nation.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Naaman's Road to Healing

I love being inspired and challenged by reading biblical accounts of folks who struggled with the same human weaknesses I see in myself. Many folks quickly dismiss the interpersonal aspect of these stories in their haste to find the bottom line. The ability to emotionally connect and be convicted by their stories, however, allows us to grow in our own lives. Learning how God interacts with others gives me a greater understanding of my own blind spots and roadblocks.

Naaman was commander of the Aram army. We can read his story in 2 Kings 5. He is described as a great man, highly regarded in the eyes of his king and fellow soldiers. Interestingly, the God of the Israelites is given credit for giving Naaman battle victories. Naaman suffered from leprosy.

Leprosy is a chronic infection affecting nerves, skin, and eyes and loss of the ability to feel pain. Minor wounds can become major issues resulting in loss of limbs or eyesight. Watching his body slowly succumb to this progressive disease must have been devastating for Naaman, his family and those under him. I wonder how Naaman processed his helpless. Did he shake his fist at the heavens, blaming the God who helped him in one area of life but apparently deserted him in this personal fight?

Within his house was an Israelite servant girl. She risked her position by telling Naaman’s wife about a prophet in Samaria who could cure the leprosy. Full of hope, Naaman asked the king of Aram to make a way for him to search out this prophet. Valuing his commander, the king gave Naaman gifts of silver, gold, and clothing plus a letter directed to Joram, king of Israel requesting Naaman be cured of leprosy.

Knowing he could not cure Naaman, King Joram tore his robes in despair, believing the Aram king was trying to provoke a war. Word of the matter got to the prophet Elisha who chastised King Joram, reminding him God was in charge and directing him to send Naaman his direction. King Joram’s reaction sounds very much like an anxiety response. He automatically went into panic mode and had to be reminded what was really true.

When Naaman knocked on Elisha’s door, the prophet sent a messenger with instructions to wash himself seven times in the Jordan river. Naaman was furious. First of all, he was a well respected man who’d traveled very far to come see the prophet, and Elisha didn’t even bother to receive him personally. Secondly, Naaman was probably very familiar with ritual washings and expected any purification rite to utilize the purest form of water, not a muddy, filthy river in the midst of a second-rate nation. Naaman had obviously expected some type of hocus pocus magic by the prophet to heal him rather than a call to humility before the Lord.

How often do we Christians expect God to work in very specific ways? Do you shake your fist at the heavens when God asks you to wait on his timing or to respond with grace and compassion instead of condemnation? Sometimes we need to be reminded who is in control, so we can voluntarily submit ourselves to God to receive all the blessings he wants to bestow.

Naaman’s servants begged him to reconsider the prophet’s instructions. Using logic, they reminded him of his character: he never backed down and never gave up. Acknowledging the truth of their words, Naaman humbled himself and did as Elisha instructed. His flesh was restored and his body was renewed. Returning to the prophet’s house, Naaman professed belief that his healing came from the God of Israel, a testimony he would share for the rest of his days.

How do you connect to this story? Is God challenging you to change your view on something or humble yourself in an area of your life? If so, allow the Holy Spirit to soften your heart so you, too, can receive healing.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Give Science a Hand

What readers demanded.

A journal called PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science…One) recently published a paper called “Biomechanical Characteristics of Hand Coordination in Grasping Activities of Daily Living” in which reference was made to intelligent design and a possible Creator. The hand, it seems, proved worthy of being called the product of something greater than biology. Readers of PLOS ONE demanded a retraction. They got it: 

Following publication, readers raised concerns about language in the article that makes references to a 'Creator', and about the overall rationale and findings of the study.

Upon receiving these concerns, the PLOS ONE editors have carried out an evaluation of the manuscript and the pre-publication process, and they sought further advice on the work from experts in the editorial board. This evaluation confirmed concerns with the scientific rationale, presentation and language, which were not adequately addressed during peer review.

Consequently, the PLOS ONE editors consider that the work cannot be relied upon and retract this publication. 

The editors apologize to readers for the inappropriate language 
in the article and the errors during the evaluation process.

The paper’s authors—three Chinese researchers and one American—called the regrettable interpretation a matter of translation errors. Readers called it unacceptable and sloppy. Poor editing, they said. The writers didn’t notice they’d called for this conclusion, and the editors didn’t notice either. That is sloppy.

The title makes the article seem quite mundane. It’s just a hand. Not too complicated as far as body parts go. And yet, the four who wrote the article found reason to refer to a divine design, even though they now say it was an unfortunate misunderstanding of the words they actually did write. It’s a wonder some other body part didn’t lead to the unappreciated conclusion. The eye. The heart. The brain. The reproductive system. Why the hand?

Did the writers know that according to Scripture, a mighty hand began the world?

For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being," declares the LORD "But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.  Isaiah 66:2

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Psalm 89:13

The sea is His, for it was He who made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:5

Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together. Isaiah 48:13

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8

That same hand sustains, satisfies, overrules, loves, judge, and saves.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in a pair of scales? Isaiah 40:12

You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:16

He covers His hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark. Job 36:32

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

If I sharpen My flashing sword, and My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, and I will repay those who hate Me. Deuteronomy 32:41

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. John 10:28-30

The hand of God is a good place for some.

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great. Psalm 18:35

And a fearful place for others.

It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31

These verses are only a sampling of Scripture filled with great truth about the creative, sustaining, fearsome, saving hand of God. The truth is known by those who are safe in the grasp of God’s loving hand. It must be revealed to all who deny it. It cannot be retracted, no matter how many people clench their marvelously created hands in defiance. No apology offered on this one.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Faith Is Not Dependent on Facts

Faith is defined as reliance, loyalty or complete trust in God, and the Scriptures defines it as, “The confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT). In short, faith believes that through God, the seemingly impossible will happen!

Facts are the hard evidence of a case or situation that cannot be disputed. Facts predict the outcome of a situation. For instance, when the Israelites left Egypt en route to the Promised Land, they had a number of challenges to overcome. One of their challenges was finding themselves sandwiched between the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian armies pursuing them from behind, with nowhere to go. Here are the facts about the Red Sea: it’s too deep to wade; it is impassable from one bank to the other without an adjoining bridge, a boat, or an airplane. Nevertheless, God miraculously made a way for the Israelites to cross it, getting to the opposite bank safely, on foot, and on dry ground.

Based on known facts, one could have predicted that the Israelites were going to perish, either at the hand of their enemies, or by drowning in the sea, but that’s not what happened; they got across safely without bridges, boats, or airplanes. The Egyptian army, in its pursuit of the Israelites, faced the same facts as the Israelites, but without God in the equation, they drowned when they attempted to follow the Israelites on dry ground.   

This is where faith and facts part company: if you walk into a grocery store with no money (fact), you can’t expect to walk out with a bag of paid groceries. Faith, however, can allow you to walk into the store with no money, and walk out with a bag of paid groceries, and maybe even some extra cash in your pocket.

Here’s an example of faith as a math equation:
No money plus (+) complete trust in God to provide needed groceries equals (=) paid bag of groceries at no cost to you! That is how faith works in all seemingly impossible situations.   

One of the things that saddened Jesus during His time here on earth was the lack of faith among the people and especially His own disciples (see Matthew 17:14-19). Although they’d all witnessed His power at work time and time again, they never seemed to remember it when the need arose later! On a storm-tossed sea with Jesus in the boat, the disciples were alarmed; they woke Him up. “Master, Master, we’re going to drown” (Luke 8:24 NLT). After He rebuked the storm, He asked them, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25 NLT). Jesus must have found that very disappointing; did they really think they were going to drown with Jesus on board the boat?

Can a boat drown with Jesus on board? No! But why do we sometimes behave as if that were possible? The Scriptures teach us, “It is impossible to please God without faith” (Hebrews 11:6 NLT). We need to have and exercise faith, if we’d like to be pleasing to God. After all, He’s promised us, “I will never fail you, I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:6 NLT). Also, He encourages us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). Which portion of these promises don’t I understand, and what about them don’t you understand? We need to stop worrying so much! 
Worrying does not change anything (see Matthew 6:27); only the prayer of faith and the Spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6) can move the supposed mountains we worry about. The Scripture commands us, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). When we pray more specifically and remind ourselves about God’s promises and past provisions, our fears, worries, and concerns will disappear. The facts we know about a situation don’t have to have any bearing on the outcome, because faith in the power of God makes all the difference. It makes possible the seemingly impossible!

Lord, please forgive us for worrying so much. When we worry, we imply we don’t trust you, and that you don’t have the ability or the power to help us. Please forgive us for being so ungrateful and faithless! You provide for even the birds of the air: how much less for those for whom you died and rose again! Lord, we turn our needs and concerns over to you: please intervene, and help us to always remember your many blessings. Thank you in Jesus’ name!          

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Promises of Democracy

A true leader brings great hope to a nation.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 40: 3

The world changed when John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy by preparing the way of the Messiah. More recently, another man spoke the words during a time of cultural upheaval in one of the most important speeches ever delivered. During that speech, before Martin Luther King, Jr. began his eloquent revelation of a dream, he referenced the valley:

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

Then came the heart of the speech and the sharing of the dream, and this man of God included Isaiah’s prophecy. He knew of its fulfillment. And yet, he believed the words held a future hope. For Americans? For peace among the races calling themselves Americans? Most certainly. But Dr. King realized the words were written to proclaim the coming of Christ. To mark the day when the glory of the Lord would be revealed, and all flesh would see it together.

Evil shut the mouth of John the Baptist, but the prophecy rang true and the message did not end. The voice of Dr. King met evil as well. But his dream didn’t end. Great loss was suffered, and great progress made in exalting that dark and desolate valley. A servant of God, one with a vision and a voice can bring great change, raise up the lowly, flatten mountains, straighten what is crooked and smooth the rough places.

But not completely. Evil still lurks. Some claim the media is responsible for stirring the racial tension rising up in America today. In reality, Satan is behind it. And he’s got his claw in politics too. Absurd comments from this unusual crop of presidential candidates seem to result in a tangled, ridiculous waste of time. No potential leader possesses the vision and voice to lift us from the sinking wasteland, or flatten any mountain blocking a secure and united future. The new political horizon makes the setting sun of current rule seem practically tolerable.

I long for the vision of a man who was murdered when I was a child. As a southern white girl, I wasn’t raised to fully appreciate his legacy. As a Christian woman, I can see the greatness of his message and his leadership. But I have a dream that One even greater will come and rule the world with truth and justice. Thank God, the prophecy will soon be fulfilled again. He is coming.

I have a dream that I can gather with all races to worship in freedom. But it’s not a dream—not anymore. It’s reality every time we gather in my Southern Baptist Church. It would have never been this way in the past. But now, it’s not an issue to even note. We’re just family.

I have a dream that come November I can step into the voting booth and mark a reasonable choice. But not all dreams are meant to be. I know this much: God appoints leaders. Some to lead with greatness. Some, by their ungodliness, to cause a nation to turn from rebellion against God or else meet an end. I wonder what Dr. King’s prayer for our nation would be today. He might still hold firm to the promises of democracy. Hope is not yet lost. Or perhaps he would simply pray, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Wrath can properly be referred to as anger, fury, or rage. The title of this article is stating that God was furious about something, but now not anymore, because something has changed. What was He furious about? We can sum up the reason in one word—sin, which is defined as lawlessness in 1 John 3:4. By the way, all mankind is guilty of sin (see Romans 3:23). If we are still a bunch of sinners, why is He no longer furious? Usually, going from a furious to a non-furious state is an indication that either the source of irritation or whatever brought on the fury has been removed or dealt with in some way, like punishment.

God is holy. He hates sin! Yet God loves the sinner, and the only way He can establish a loving, ongoing relationship with the sinner is to separate the sinner from his or her sins. In order to accomplish that, He put into motion plans He had before the foundation of the world. God came to earth in the person of His Son Jesus, lived among us, and died in our place. So Jesus, who was sinless, was punished on our behalf. His blood washed away our sins, and therefore, God’s wrath was satisfied. The condition for restoration of fellowship with us was met. Hallelujah!
Although God’s wrath is satisfied, it is not an automatic cover for everyone. Each individual must want forgiveness and ask for it. After all, not everyone will admit to being a sinner or to having done anything wrong. So then, people who believe what the Bible says about humans must agree with God in that regard (confess their sins), and ask God for forgiveness because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Anyone who takes this step is forgiven. The new believer’s fellowship with God is restored in this life and continues into eternity. It is made evident through the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This of course is the beginning of a new way of life. The Bible calls it adoption. God becomes our Father, and rather than being His enemies, we become His children. Others who have been adopted through the same process are our brothers and sisters in Christ. This family bond is universal. Together we form the Church, the body of Christ, where Christ is the Head.

Indeed, God’s wrath is satisfied. We should rejoice over this truth! God has gone from being angry and being compelled to punish us with eternal separation (see Romans 6:23), to calling us His children. After giving up His Son for us, He says there is nothing else He won’t do for us. Wow, such love! In addition, He is preparing a place in heaven for us. He says we will live in mansions. Jesus told His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3 KJV).

We need to put an effort into maintaining our restored relationship, nurturing it to blossom. How do we do that? Although we don’t know it all yet, we can safely allow two basic rules to guide our lives, and those rules are: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV). If we love God, we will seek to obey and please Him in all that we do, and if we love our neighbors, we’ll seek their welfare in all situations.

In addition, we need to read the Bible and allow it to guide our walk. We need to communicate with God through prayer. We need to encourage sisters and brothers and be encouraged by them by sharing fellowship with other believers. Next, we start to look for opportunities to share the gospel with those who haven’t heard it, or don’t understand it. There are many such in our neighborhoods, at our jobs, and everywhere we go.

God’s wrath is satisfied, yes, and He has reconciled us to Himself through the death of His Son! May  God help us to take the responsibility that comes with reconciliation seriously, and look expectantly for His return.