A Biblical Response to the Coronavirus (SARS COVID-2; COVID-19)

BRIEF SUMMARY OF COVID-19

The first reports of this new strain of Coronavirus were made in December 2019, and emerged in China, specifically in Wuhan province. The virus has been referred to as SARS Covid-2, and the disease as COVID-19. The observed symptoms are fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, and diarrhoea. These symptoms are similar to those of a flu, particularly similar to influenza.[1]

The rate of transmission and the lack of a medically endorsed vaccine has been the cause of widespread panic. Many people are hiding in their homes and basements, having amassed great amounts of food, toilet paper, and other groceries in the fear of an apocalypse. Doomsday media outlets are not helping bring sanity and hope but instead are promoting panic and alarm. Travel bans, global financial crises, and country quarantines are all adding fuel to the fear-filled fire.

How should the Christian respond to all of this?

A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO DEPEND ON GOD

While we remain on alert against viruses and disease, worrying won’t change our circumstances or lower our chance of infection. It won’t help us fight off illness or move us to action. Worrying about COVID-19 (or anything else) will only increase trouble. Rather than worrying and being anxious, Jesus calls us to respond with prayer and faith in him (Matthew 6:33–34; Philippians 4:6). We need not worry ultimately because we know the One who has defeated sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:55–57).

Remind yourself continually: it takes the same amount of energy to worry as to pray. One leads to peace, the other to panic. [2]

Remember the Truth About God

  1. God is still on the throne (sovereignty): Job 42:2; Isaiah 46:9-10. R.C. Sproul used to say, “there cannot be a single maverick molecule anywhere in the universe that is outside of God’s sovereignty.”
  2. God saved us from fear and anxiety: 2 Timothy 1:7; John 14:27
  3. God promises peace: Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6-7
  4. God numbered our days long before COVID-19 was on the scene: Psalm 139:16
  5. God is the Great Healer: Psalm 103:3 (this is descriptive, not prescriptive).
  6. God has a plan for His children: Romans 8:28
 

A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO REACH OUT

In times of crisis, the world needs help and hope. We can provide both. As Christians, we are to reach out to people in need and help them in both practical and spiritual ways. Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” We must not be so concerned for our own welfare that we will not minister to others (Philippians 2:3). Hiding in basements, stockpiling food and supplies, and distancing ourselves from others is not how believers should behave.

It is at times like these that our light shines brightest because it stands in stark contrast with wide-eyed fear, darkness, anxiety, and death. The world should see in us divine strength (Ephesians 6:10), a hope that comes from above (1 Peter 3:15), and a willingness to serve others even in the face of danger (Acts 15:26).

This is a good time for Christians to demonstrate sanity, peace, and hope, recognizing that our lives do not depend on the entry of a micro-organism into our bodies. Instead, it depends on the God who determines the beginning and the end of our history on earth.[3]

As you look for opportunities to minister to the sick or fearful, speak about the greater global epidemic – sin. Let the COVID-19 situation be a catalyst to speak about spiritual matters. The greatest need any individual has is not a cure for the Coronavirus, but salvation from their sin through Jesus Christ.

May God grant us the boldness and opportunities to move beyond merely ministering to physical maladies, but to also address the far weightier spiritual and eternal realities.

Ideas for Practical Outreach

  • Talk openly with people about their fears and anxieties. Offer to pray for them (right there on the spot)
  • Be generous and meet the needs of others e.g. a roll of toilet paper, a little hand sanitiser, paper towel, etc.
  • Write cards to people who you know are experiencing fear and remind them that you are available to listen to their concerns.
  • Write a note to the medical practitioners, paramedics, and nurses in your area expressing thanks to them for their efforts on the front line of this epidemic. Perhaps you could commend them for their years of study, service, and willingness to put themselves in danger for the wellbeing of their community.
  • If you are actively involved in a church, encourage people to bring to the church building items that promote hygiene which can then be dispensed to members of the community as the need arises.

WISDOM AND GENTLENESS

As Christians, we must not be reckless, but we also must not be paralysed by fear. It is essential we take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our families, but not to the disregard of others.

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus sent out His disciples into a volatile Roman world where they would be as “sheep in the midst of wolves”. He commanded them to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” These unusual similes contained two important truths which are applicable to the COVID-19 situation today: (1) be wise, shrewd, and cunning (positively) as you interact with society and particularly in times of persecution and affliction; (2) be harmless, innocent, and gentle as you relate to people.

In other words, exercise wisdom and gentleness as is befitting the child of God.

BEING SENSITIVE TO OTHERS

As this epidemic continues, be socially sensitive. It may not be the best idea to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (2 Corinthians 13:12). Sensitivity, empathy, and understanding are all character qualities of the Christian and must be extended in all we do.

In this regard, we must be careful not to judge others. Through fear, many may feel the need to wear masks, avoid shaking hands, and even act uncharitably. In grace, we must demonstrate the love of Christ to them, even if they are fellow-Christians who are weaker in their faith (Romans 14:1-11).

For church goers, if you are sick or are showing any type of flu-like symptoms, in the interest of public safety, hygiene, and perceptions, and because we love one another, please stay home.

PRACTICALITIES FOR OUR CHURCH (MCCBC)

MCCBC leadership is monitoring the COVID-19 situation in our state and when or if the Government Health Authorities mandate a limit on public gatherings, we intend to comply.

At this time, there is no indication that we will need to cancel any church events. However, as COVID-19 is a new virus and there is no approved vaccine as yet, we are actively taking reasonable precautions as it spreads.

While we do not want to be alarmists, we do want to be proactive and prepared where we can be. If you are sick or are showing any type of flu-like symptoms, please stay home.

We hope to be able to livestream our services so that those who are unwell can still be part of the worship from their homes. We encourage you to follow the health practices listed by the Health Authorities to keep everyone safe.

Specific Practicalities

  1. Hand sanitiser stations throughout the building.
  2. Air purifiers on order (Country Tech).
  3. Cleaning of air conditioner filters.
  4. Antibacterial wipes/sprays for surfaces.
  5. Limiting physical contact at individual’s discretion.
 

A REMINDER THAT JESUS IS COMING AGAIN

In Luke 21:10-11 and Matthew 24:8, we are reminded that world-wide pestilence and disease epidemics point to the return of Christ. Of course, we do not know the day or hour (Matthew 24:36), but as these events become more extreme and in closer succession, we are reminded that they are the “beginning of the birth pains.”

The imminent return of Christ should bring great joy and excitement to the heart of the believer, even in the midst of global panic. May the extreme nature of the COVID-19 cause our minds and eyes to look heaven-ward, from where we “await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20).

HELPFUL ARTICLE LINKS

https://answersingenesis.org/human-body/coronavirus-biblical-practical/

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/christians-anxious-coronavirus/

https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2020/a-christian-response-to-the-corona-virus/

HELPFUL SERMONS/PREACHING

http://www.hillsbiblechurch.org/sermons/biblical-perspective-on-covid-19/

 

 

 

[1] Taken from https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-we-know-coronavirus/

[2] Taken from https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/christians-anxious-coronavirus/

[3] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-we-know-coronavirus/

 



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