Christianity and the Coronavirus

In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God.   Psalm 18:6

Question Time

Where is God in the Coronavirus? How can he allow this to happen? If he’s all-powerful, couldn’t he stop it? If he’s all-loving, wouldn’t he want to?

These are some of the questions that people are asking, whether out loud or in their hearts, at this incredible time. It’s fair to say that this outbreak has taken society by surprise. But is the same true of God?

Ammunition for atheism?

Atheists such as Richard Dawkins claim that disasters like the current pandemic prove that God doesn’t exist. But when we turn to the Bible, which is God’s word, we read of many such things happening. From ancient times the nations of the world have known plagues, famines, droughts, and the like. Even Israel, God’s people, were no strangers to such ‘natural’ disasters, in addition to their suffering at the hands of evil men. For some of them at least, this did not make them doubt the existence of God but seek him all the more! King David said, ‘In my distress I called upon the Lord’ (Psalm 18:6). And so should we in our present trouble.

The bad news

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, records how the perfect world God made, in which there was nothing harmful, was spoiled by sin. Sin is rebellion against God, choosing to go our way instead of his. Sadly that’s what the first human beings decided to do, and the result of that very first or original sin was the suffering that has been mankind’s experience through history right down to the present day. As descendants of Adam and Eve we cannot complain, for we’ve all followed their bad example. If we carry on living in defiance of God then even worse judgment awaits us in hell, a place of darkness, weeping, and separation from all good.

The good news

That’s the awful bad news. But now for the good! On the very day that Adam fell and creation was cursed, God announced that he was going to send a saviour into the world to put things right. This individual would be a human being like us (‘the seed of the woman’) and so able to represent us. At the same time he would share the divine nature, for only one who is God could defeat our enemy the devil and undo all the damage. The Old Testament prepared the people for his coming. The New Testament declares that he has now come!

Who is he?

His name is Jesus Christ, and he is God’s gift of love to a broken, wayward world. By his teaching, he showed us how we should live and please God. By his miracles, he displayed God’s healing power. By his perfect life, he obtained a righteousness that sinners like us could never achieve but now may receive as his gift. By his death on the cross, he paid the penalty his people owed for all their rebellion, enduring God’s holy anger on their behalf. By his resurrection from the dead, he demonstrated that he is who he said he was, God’s Son, and that his saving work on our behalf has been accepted by his Father. By his ascension into heaven, he assures us of his present reign and promised return to restore all things. The Lord Jesus Christ is truly unique!

What must I do?

In order to personally benefit from what Jesus has done, you must come to know Jesus. This is, as he said, ‘eternal life’ (John 17:3). Basically it involves two things. First, repentance; you must acknowledge your sin against God and turn away from it. Second, faith; you must believe who Jesus is and place your confidence entirely in him to save you, not in your own righteousness or good deeds. You don’t need to go to a church to do these things, which is just as well since they are all closed for now! You can do them right away, and have peace with God. But knowing the Lord is an ongoing thing, so be prepared for a lifetime of learning! The local church is the family of God where we continually discover together what it means to follow Jesus, putting our faith into practice. So if you do become a Christian, or would like more info, please get in touch. There are still many things we can do even while in lockdown, e.g. live stream sermons, pray together online.

Hope in God, Peace in Christ

In recent years our society has drifted from its biblical moorings. We think we can get along just fine without God, indeed that we are better off without him. But then something like the Coronavirus happens, and we’re reminded of how weak and vulnerable we really are. This is a very tragic and grave situation, with hundreds dying daily. Yet there is hope! The Bible reminds us that God is in control. Nothing, including this pandemic, takes him by surprise. Indeed he has, in his wise and holy providence, brought it about, and we trust he will also bring it to an end. When he does, we will surely see that even through the crisis he has achieved much good; not least in the fact that many people have, like David, cried out to their God – and he has answered. May that be true of you, through his Son Jesus Christ! ‘In me,’ he says, ‘you may have peace’ (John 16:33).

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows those who trust in him.              Nahum 1:7

Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.                                      Psalm 50:15

Pastor Oliver Gross
9th April 2020

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