The headlines are starting to shift a little, but the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, still dominates the news and probably our minds. Fear and anxiety tend to reign as we consider questions like: Does …
The headlines are starting to shift a little, but the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, still dominates the news and probably our minds. Fear and anxiety tend to reign as we consider questions like: Does “social distancing” mean I can’t hug my friend or shake their hand? Should I really cancel my travel plans? How far am I willing to drive for a scrap of toilet paper?
Honestly, who knew, that in our age of modern medicine and technology, we would live to see an outbreak that was officially labeled a pandemic? The serious use of words like “pandemic,” “infection,” “social distancing” and “quarantine” touch on some triggers for many of us.
It’s interesting to watch so many people in our nation respond to their fears by ignoring the advice and pleas to avoid large gatherings and to cover up their fear with a bravado that seems to say, “I can’t see the danger or I don’t care!”
With so many issues to be polarized about, social media now seems to be polarized on whether or not we should attend worship services or parties, and if the authorities should have the power to close businesses and cancel major events.
In the midst of this pandemic, it’s come to my mind that we have already been exposed to something more insidious than coronavirus, far more contagious and far more deadly. Its effects are not limited to affecting our physical body, but it also causes great devastation to our mind and spirit as well. This spiritual pandemic is often simply called “sin” and each one of us on the whole planet has already been infected.
There is no vaccine. But there is a cure.
One definition of sin is: Anything we think or say or do that breaks God’s heart and makes him sad, and this includes omitting good. The Bible makes it clear that our sin separates us from God, keeping us from the best life-giving relationship available to us, with the very one we were created for.
From our perspective, sin has a wide range of consequences, but the reality is that any sin in thought, word, action or behavior, falls short of God’s standard of perfection. Just like in a shooting competition, anyone not hitting the bullseye, misses the bullseye. Morally speaking, you might be closer to the bullseye in your behavior than me or someone else, but we both fall short of perfectly scoring without a miss.
So what’s the cure of this virus called sin? Jesus. He is God’s son and became a man. Being fully man and fully God, he is the only one to have ever lived without being infected by it. He is our only antiviral.
As the only person to have ever met God’s standard, he alone deserves the reward of perfect unity with God the Father for eternity. However, the reason he came was to take our place.
Paul the apostle writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”
It is certain that each of us will face death and after that we will stand before God, our maker, to give account of our lives. On our own merit, by our works, our chances of earning a perfect standing with God are zero.
But if you accept the fact that when Jesus died, he did so as a substitute for you, and if you believe that God’s power raised him from the dead, you can be saved from the long-lasting effect of sin that would keep you separated from God.
1 John 1:9 says: “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Are you willing to acknowledge that you cannot meet God’s standard and throw yourself to his grace? If you do, you will experience a deeply rooted peace and know that “when the kindness of God our savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to his mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5).
Trade your sin virus for his perfection and receive eternal life with him.
(Seth Carter is the director of Campus Ventures in Powell.)