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“Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
As we all face a troubled world we are now, in addition, grappling with the added, and very serious, problem of the Corona Virus pandemic that is raging through many nations. It is very important then that we as followers of Christ should focus our attention on those things that are most vital for our health and well-being. We should then begin by noting the following.
The death of Jesus, as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins and rebellion against God, if accepted by faith and repentance, brings us into a real and vital relationship with God our Father. We are in every way reconciled to God and we know Him, walk with Him and have fellowship with Him. (1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 John 1:3)
This great saving work of Jesus gives our lives meaning and purpose so that we together with God can witness our days on the earth as having significance. Also, while declared righteous we have to become righteous meaning that our dear Lord will lead us through trials and difficulties, as He did with Paul, in order to transform us into His image (James1:2-4; Romans 8:29; Acts14:22). Many of these trials are great and leave us bewildered as if some strange thing were happening to us (1 Peter 4:12) but scripture reminds us that God works all things together for our good if we love Him (Romans 8:28). His ways are not our ways and most often we do not understand them! (Isaiah 55:8)
In addition, our great God has given us all an allotment of years (Psalm139:16). If we serve Him faithfully we will reach this allotment and then He will take us home to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord” (2 Timothy3:6-7; Matthew 25:21). This is the road of heavenly fellowship that Jesus, by His grace, calls us all into! It is sustained by frequent prayer, fellowship and the reading of God’s most holy word (Acts 2:42). It is also a road of mystery sometimes, but it is filled with God’s love and presence; made real to each one of us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We have a down payment of heaven in our hearts! Therefore no one can deter us from our path not even the prospect of martyrdom (Ephesians 1:13-16; Acts 21:13).
There is no doubt that the God of the Bible commands us to be a holy people (1 Peter 1:15-16). Holiness is Christ’s image or character (Ephesians 4:11-16) and this means that as followers of Jesus we are to embrace everything I have written about above with zeal, enthusiasm and Joy. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and consequently our calling in Christ Jesus is to press on aggressively to make all that heaven has for us real in our lives. This is what it means to be holy. (Philippians 3:12)
We live in a world that is dark, evil, greatly troubled and now threatened by a deadly virus. According to the Apostle John it is passing away and we should not love it (John 2:15-17). That is, be influenced by its treasures, riches, lusts and pursuits. Sadly, many Christians are!
Be assured of this; the Corona Virus now sweeping the world is a manifestation of God’s judgment. A global pandemic of this magnitude cannot happen outside of the sovereignty of God. The devil may seek to use it, as he did the cross of Jesus, by breeding fear and panic in the hearts of men and women, but the God of the Bible, by this judgment, is calling His people out of the world to deep repentance. That is to the confession of our sins of commission and omission and to holiness of life (James 4:7-10).The word of God affirms that judgment begins with household of God (1Peter 4:17) and thus the people of God, rather than railing against the devil (Jude 8-9), should get right with God and seek to live as His word says they should. We are all involved with this; me included! In due course God will have mercy on His people because in judgment He always remembers mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2; Lamentations 3:22-24)
The book of Revelation, that warns the world of great coming judgments not too unlike the Corona Virus, tells us that these in terms of the world, are designed to lead it to repentance and salvation (Revelation 16:11). Here again mercy and redemption are in mind.
As this article points out, as Christian people we all have a designated allotment of years and, if we live our lives in a way that we please God (1 Thessalonians 4:1), nothing, not even the Corona Virus, can rob us of this. So, let us cast off all fear and humble ourselves before the throne of God for in due time He will lift us up and make us a blessing to a dying world (James 4:10). Let us be in the world and not of it and let us hold out the love of God for it in the good news of that which Jesus has done for it on the cross. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8)
Remember that the Word of God calls upon us to submit to the governing authorities as, in their own way under God, they are the servants of God (Romans 13:1-4). Therefore, in terms of the Coronavirus we must:
1. Stay at home
2. Wash our hands regularly
3. Practice social distancing
4. Care for the most vulnerable amongst us
5. Encourage ourselves with the Word of God and ..
6. Pray for one another.
May “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Amen.