Covid-19 and the analogy of sin
Covid-19 has pulled people up short and made them think about death. We are born, we live, we die—but most people have avoided thinking about death, preferring to distract themselves with the delights of this world while they can. Covid-19 has pulled the human family up short and brought it face to face with the the reality of death. In addition, the global lockdown and economic collapse is causing anxiety, fear, mental overload, emotional roller-coasters, stresses on families and personal relationships, not to mention massive adjustments in most people’s lives.
Compared to other infectious diseases, Covid-19 has a long incubation period — they say it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear after a person has been infected. Many who are infected do not become seriously ill. But for those who die, the time from first symptoms to death can be quite long—several weeks it seems.
Sin—the sin nature—the bias towards sin— is a ‘virus’ we are all born with. We inherited the sin nature from Adam. The analogy would be catching the infection, contracting the disease. After we are born, we might live in this world for three score years and ten, or more, before our mortal bodies die. But for all that time until his mortal body dies, the natural man, by his sin nature, is dead spiritually—blinded and cut off from God.
We can’t avoid contracting the sin nature by practising social distancing and washing our hands. Nothing we do in our own efforts can cleanse the sin nature from us. Nothing we do in our own efforts can cure us from this ‘disease’.
I’d like to take this analogy further.
How are doctors treating patients who have Covid-19? This is a hot topic of debate among medicos and scientists at present. Here are some of the treatments which doctors have been using: give them extra oxygen; intubate them on ventilators to pump air and oxygen into their lungs; give them hydrochloroquine and azithromycin in the early stages of the disease; give them high dose Vitamin C intravenously. (I’ve listed the treatments I’ve heard of and read about; there may be other treatments which I have not heard of.)
If sin is like a virus, a virus we contract at birth, a virus which causes separation from God in this world and the next, a virus which leads to both physical death and eternal death, what is the treatment for the sin virus? That, dear friends, is easy to answer. The treatment, the remedy, is repentance and faith in Jesus. Jesus died for the sins of all mankind. Jesus offers forgiveness and purification to all who repent and trust in him for salvation. The treatment is free, and instantanously effective. But anyone who thinks he can receive salvation without humble and heart-true repentance is deceiving himself; he is choosing to live in darkness rather than light.
For God so loves the world, that he has given his only Son, so that none who believe in him should perish, but should have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world through him could be saved. Whoever believes on him shall not be condemned.
But whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he does not believe in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the condemnation: that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness more than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But whoever does truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be known, that they are wrought in God.
The Covid-19 crisis has brought all this closer to the surface.
Trying to ‘do the right thing’ in this world — whether it be social distancing, hand-washing, financially providing for your family, telling others your perspective on what has caused the Covid-19 crisis…all those types of activities are for this temporal world. They may or may not benefit others in this temporal world.
But what about the next world?
People panic about death from Covid-19, yet often those same people steadfastly resist thinking about sin and its consequence—eternal death. Hmm. What does that signify? What can we make of that? What can we do about that?
I don’t have answers to all those questions, but I encourage us all to ponder those questions and factor them in to the situations we each of us are dealing with in our daily lives.
On a personal note, I have been struggling to write a blog post since the Covid-19 panic hit. I have been reading and listening to many different points of view—from scientists, from Christians, from ‘whistle-blowers’, from ordinary folks who are out of a job or working from home or stressed by other elements of the lockdown. I’ve been through my own roller-coaster of tears, grief, anger, tears, irritability, sadness, despair, frustration, and guilt. Feeling like a leper. Trying to smile at and encourage others. When I’ve been unable to read Scripture I have been able to sing hymns; that has helped me a lot. I have been trying to get exercise daily and expose my skin to sunshine for Vitamin D.
May the Lord have mercy on us all.
Perhaps it may help to end this with a few verses about blessing and blessedness, from the New Testament.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you and thrust you out of their company, and rail, and abhor your name as an evil thing, for the Son of man’s sake.
I have shown you in every way how, by so labouring, you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he said it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercy and the God of all comfort
Blessed are the dead who die hereafter in the Lord, as the Spirit affirms, that they may rest from their labours; but their works shall follow them.
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. For on such the second death shall have no power. For they shall be the priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Blessed are those who do his commandments, so that their power may be in the tree of life, and they may enter in through the gates into the city.