As we begin our eighth week of sheltering in place and maintaining social distance, there is an uncertainty as to how long it will last and even greater uncertainty as to how we tiptoe our way back safely into community once restrictions are lifted. Until a vaccine and/or cure is developed, I suspect most of us will feel uneasy about congregating at any level, for all it takes is encountering ONE person that is infected, and an entire community is at risk.
On the positive side, the gravity of pandemic is causing us to come to grips with the universality of sin and its unescapable consequences, as the apostle Paul writes, “as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned (Rom 5:12).” Everyone one of us is going to die, because we are all infected with sin. The truth is a painful pill to swallow, but there is a cure. Thanks be to Jesus Christ, who “took our illnesses and bore our diseases” (Matt 8:17) on the cross.
As we place our trust in Christ, we are not only forgiven of our sins, but we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Like a vaccine that helps the body’s immune system produce antibodies to ward off disease, the Spirit imparts the life of Jesus into our mortal flesh to combat the forces of sin and death. And the good news is that “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
However, we must not be naïve, believing our bodies are immune from disease and unwisely disregard social distancing. Sin still lives in the body and our “healing” will not be complete until we receive our new bodies in the resurrection. Nor can we be passive or irresponsible, for we must daily nourish the Spirit with the word and prayer to strengthen our inner man in our battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. Thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ who has given victory over the powers of sin and death.
“Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16). Amen.