- Mario Peter
God, Man, and Pandemics
Dear Brothers and Sisters, The world is suffering at the hands of the pandemic called coronavirus. Our country India has not been untouched by this. The government is taking various measures to deal with this pandemic. The first big step was the declaration of a 21 days lockdown till the 14th of April. This was then extended by 19 days, and we don’t really know how long it will last. As you are all well aware, many services of our country have been disrupted because of the coronavirus. Schools, colleges, places of worship, cultural programmes, domestic and international flights, and even malls have been closed. National borders as well as state borders have been sealed. Work has come to a standstill in cities. People have even stopped shaking hands with each other. And we are advised not to touch our eyes and noses. But is everything really locked down? If we think about this through the lens of God’s Word, we will find that everything is not locked down. This pandemic reminds us of the gospel. This pandemic brings to our mind truths of the gospel. Let us think about these precious truths, which will remain true during the coronavirus pandemic, and any other pandemic that may arise.
First, Remember that the God of the Bible is a Sovereign God. People today are afraid, disturbed and discouraged because of this pandemic. Do you know why? Because they don’t know God. They don’t know that God is in control. They don’t know about the greatness of God. The Bible tells us that God is enthroned in Heaven. He rules over all the nations. He controls everything. He does all that he pleases (Psalm 115:3; Daniel 4:35). He has all authority. He controls diseases, people, pandemics, death, nature, and all countries of the world. He even controls the coronavirus. Do you know what God is doing right now? God is building his kingdom.
Second, Remember that Man is Helpless and Incapable of Saving Himself. In the wake of the coronavirus, even Science has not been able to help mankind. The lesson of the COVID- 19 pandemic is that man is utterly helpless to cope with it. When mankind claims to establish control and authority over the earth, the coronavirus has shown mankind’s true state and has exposed the reality about human ability. A virus which is invisible to our eyes has shaken up the whole world! The calamity that has been caused by the coronavirus teaches us to accept the lesson that human beings cannot save themselves from their sins. Man does not have the capacity to save himself from sin because man is sinful. Man cannot love God because man hates God. Man is incapable of obeying God’s commandments Fallen man cannot love God. Fallen man cannot obey God. Fallen man cannot know God. Fallen man cannot improve himself. The truth is that man’s situation is pitiable and worthy of much thought (Romans 3:10-18). He cannot save himself by his own efforts. Mankind today needs salvation. That is why man’s biggest need is to be forgiven of sins. But who us the forgiveness of our sins our biggest need?
Third, Remember that man is infected by the virus of sin, the deadliest virus. Some people say that man’s fundamental problem today is a social problem, while others say it is an environmental problem, and still others say it is a financial problem. But what is really man’s fundamental problem? Is man’s fundamental problem now dealing with the coronavirus? Man’s fundamental problem today is not dealing with the coronavirus. If we look at the situation, we see that not everyone has been infected by the coronavirus. Everybody has not tested positive. Man’s true problem is his spiritual condition. Every person has been affected by an infection which has spread to their body, soul and spirit like a poison. This infection is the infection of sin. The Bible tells us that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Bible also says we are dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1). Every human being is a walking dead body. And so, a sin infected human being cannot know God. Because of being infected by sin, man’s life does not have true joy and satisfaction. Instead, human life is characterised by disappointments and strife. The Bible tells us that God’s wrath remains of people because of this (John 3:36). This is why mankind’s greatest need is the forgiveness of sins. We need the forgiveness of our sins even more than finding a cure for the coronavirus. But how do we get the forgiveness of sins?
Fourth, Remember that God’s Grace is greater than the Coronavirus. We can be forgiven of our sins because the God who is sovereign over the coronavirus is a Gracious God. And because of His grace, almost two thousand years ago, the creator God of this world became man and came to this world (John 1:14). And he lived a life of perfect righteousness. He fulfilled the demands of the Law. All that he did in every moment of his life, he did everything for the glory of God. The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried and raised from the dead on the third day as a substitute in the place of us sinners (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus took the punishment which we should have got and paid the penalty which we should have paid for our sins. The Bible says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And “he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6). Jesus Christ paid a big price for our sins. The Bible says that “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). It is written in Scripture, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16).
Fifth, Remember that Hope is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in this World. This pandemic reminds us that our lives are fleeting, unstable, and uncertain. There is no hope in this world. People have become afraid and hopeless because of the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus and the fact that no vaccine has been developed against it. And tragically, there have even been cases across the world of people committing suicide because of this fear and hopelessness. In such times of hopelessness, the Bible tells us that we have a hope. Jesus Christ will come to take us. And he will take us to a place where there is no pandemic and no virus. The Bible tells us that we have been saved for hope (Romans 8:24). God’s Word tells us that we have not only hope, but a living hope (1 Peter 1:3-4). Remember that we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved one day. The Lord Jesus Christ has prepared a place for us. We will be with Jesus forever. This momentary affliction is nothing compared with that (2 Corinthians 4:17). We know that there are struggles only in this life. In the end we will be conquerors (Romans 8:31-39). If you are a Christian today, meditate on these truths. We recently celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s grave is still open today. This historical incident reminds us that God is faithful. He fulfils his promises. This incident also reminds us that God is powerful. The Lord Jesus is alive even today. Meditate on these precious truths during this time of the coronavirus. If you are not a Christian today, you also need to think about these truths. Repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). We will all have to face God one day. God will judge us. Dear Friend, if you stay safe from the coronavirus and all other pandemics, but go to hell for eternity, would that be worth it? Remember that not everything is locked down.
May God help us.
Your brother in the Lord,
Pastor Anshuman Pal
(Zion Church, Mavaiyya)