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Something to Think About : Spiritual Lessons in a Crisis

A plague is an epidemic disease of high mortality caused by a bacterium and characterized by a variety of physical phenomena and can result in death. The current pandemic has made us all too aware of this definition.

God has used plagues (pestilence), war, drought, famine and Noah’s Flood as punishment for sin. Since its introduction in Genesis 3 sin has spread as “spiritual plague throughout the generations of mankind. Not every episode of suffering or death, however, is the direct result of one’s personal sin. It nonetheless falls under the general Adamic curse.

Is the COVID-19 pandemic an Old-Testament-like visitation of God's wrath against sin? Worldwide statistics of “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like” (Galatians ‪5:19-20‬) would seem to favor an answer in the affirmative. The COVID-19 outbreak, on the other hand, rather than a plague-judgement may simply be intrinsic to the curse on Adam and Eve’s original sin like any other form of suffering and death.

In the first case, the cure comes in the form of repentance. Such a promise was made to ancient Israel in 2 Chronicles ‪7:14-15: 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,‬ 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

In the second case, God has historically allowed the intelligence with which He has endowed mankind to find defenses for some plague-like phenomena such as: smallpox (Edward Jenner), polio (Jonas Salk), measles (Maurice Hilleman), cholera (Clua and Haffkine), and malaria (Tu Youyou).

There are some serious matters to consider at a time like this:

1) It is a time to do spiritual inventory. As the corona virus has spread across our planet, classifications of people having to do with borders, ethnicities and ideologies have been deprioritized for the sake of human beings working together for the common cause of survival. But the fact is, there has always been only two lasting classifications of human kind—those lost in sin and those saved from sin. Sin is a spiritual pandemic. But God initiated a cure from the terrible soul-destroying sin-plague in Genesis 3:15. There He prophesies a battle between “the seed (followers) of Satan” and the “Seed (a descendant) of the woman.” The fulfillment is described in Matthew ‪1:18-21‬, “an angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream and said… son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus provided the ultimate cure from sin by taking its penalty—death—on Himself at the cross. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

If you knew of a 100% cure for Covid-19 available at your nearest pharmacy wouldn't you get in line as soon as possible? But the cure for the sin-plague is right there waiting for you. All it takes is a prayer something like, “Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God and that you died in my place on the cross. Please forgive me and make new in You.” Romans 10:9-14 says, “9 If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you

will be saved. …

2) Another matter to consider is the frailty of human life. “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James says in ‪4:13-14‬). Trillions of dollars are spent on military defense. And yet nations are being brought to a devastating standstill by an army of trillions of “virus-soldiers” invisible to the naked eye! These “warriors” range in size from 20 to 400 nanometers in diameter. A human hair is 60,000 to 100,000 nanometers in diameter. And this enemy heinously uses us as its deadly delivery system one to another. As multitudes of human lives are ending we must go back to Peter’s question, “what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God….” (2 Peter 3:11).

3) A third matter is that our lives are not our own. God's ownership of us exists first, as His “property right.” He made us, therefore He owns us; whether we acknowledge that ownership or not; just as a carved figure belongs to the craftsman who fashioned it. James writes, “15 … you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” How many of the world’s population submit each new day to God for His purpose in-and-through them?

Secondly, God can own us as His “spiritual right.” Paul says in 1 Corinthians ‪6:19-20‬, “…You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.” Such a person gladly accepts the mandate “to love God with all of his heart, soul, strength, and mind” (Luke 10:27). He knows such a mindset toward His Master is what makes Life Worth Living.

“Where, O death, is your victory?… [God] gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

It's Something To Think About. -David W. Grubbs

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