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What is Coronavirus / COVID-19?
Things are challenging in the world right now
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified COVID-19 as an official pandemic. Since its discovery, science and news outlets have reported on the current spread to over six million COVID-19 cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths—see updated data from Worldometers.info.
The COVID-19 virus hit the world by storm when the Chinese government began reporting a mysterious virus causing pneumonia-like symptoms that had been infecting many of its citizens. We now know that the novel coronavirus of 2019–2020 (which causes COVID-19) likely originated in bats and jumped the species barrier into the human population (probably in a food market located in the Wuhan province).
Diagram of coronavirus virion structure showing spikes that form a "crown" like the solar corona, hence the name.
Coronavirus is a broad term to describe an entire family of viruses. The coronavirus family is known to infect a wide range of animals and humans, including the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s and the MERS outbreak more recently. This family of viruses can cause many different symptoms affecting the lungs, liver, kidneys, GI tract, and nervous tissue. COVID-19 is a respiratory infection spread by aerosol droplets like other diseases.
While not the first pandemic to strike the modern world, the need to contain it and slow its spread has rightly captured the attention of every household, business, church, and government. In this information age, the latest news about the dangers of COVID-19 and how to stop its worldwide rampage saturate us.
The goal of this special report is to help Christians consider the most important things during the COVID-19 pandemic. So we compiled five biblical principles to remember as they navigate this health and economic event affecting everyone.
Biblical Principles #1
The pandemic reminds us of our mortality
During this pandemic, we have all heard, seen, or read stories of people dying. Our mortality is on display for everyone to see. And so many people right now are fearful of dying from this disease.
We need to do our best to look after our health and protect our families, but this situation should remind us that, ultimately, death comes to everyone.
Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:4–5)
The overriding issue is that people need to be saved! Yes, what we see happening around us is alarming from a human perspective, but Christians shouldn’t fear death. We should be helping those who do fear it hear the most vital message of all time: the saving gospel.
Biblical Principles #2
Disease and death entered creation through sin.
COVID-19 didn’t appear out of nowhere. In the roughly 6,000 years since the fall of mankind in Eden, death and suffering have plagued our world. One of the ways this has happened is through the effects of viral illnesses and other infectious diseases. And God, in His perfect justice, could not just change the rules once man rebelled. In his mercy, God introduced hope beyond death.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
He provided a way to restore the broken relationships between sinful man and holy God, a way to demonstrate His love for every person. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became human to bear the curse of death on a bloody cross. He then defeated death by rising from the dead. Anyone who trusts in the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the cross can have confidence that, after death, they too will live eternally forever in heaven.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:56–57)
God's Word in the Real World
Jesus died on the cross and was placed in a tomb. But he didn’t stay there!
God raised him from the dead, and Jesus appeared to many of his followers.
Jesus’ resurrection on the third day, as he promised and as Scripture says, conquered death so we can have forgiveness and eternal life with God when we die.
We no longer have to fear death if we’ve repented of our sins and trusted in Jesus as our Savior.
Like the disciples, we can be changed from frightened followers to bold witnesses.
We can share the good news of Jesus with others.
Biblical Principles #3
How Jesus dealt with the problem of suffering
During his earthly years, Jesus was once asked by his disciples why a particular man had been born blind. Jesus acknowledged that there are lots of reasons people suffer, avoiding his disciples’ simplistic suggestions.
But then Jesus told them that this particular man’s affliction would end up bringing glory to God, and he miraculously healed him.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.
And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” . . .
Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva.
Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him,
“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent).
So he went and washed and came back seeing. (John 9:1–3, 6–7)
Think about the healed man. Suffering was the way to bring him back to God. He was born blind but came to see his trial as a way to bring God' glory in his life. When he encountered Jesus and was healed by him, he believed in him as his Savior through his trial. The man’s pain and suffering turned into joy at his healing and salvation.
Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said,
"Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
"Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."
Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."
Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. (John 9:35-38)
In the same way, this COVID-19 trial can become a way that many may be healed spiritually through Jesus.
Biblical Principles #4
God will provide for our needs day by day
This coronavirus pandemic has been unnerving on many levels. From a health perspective, we are worried about our well-being and even our lives. In this situation, it’s so easy for us as fallible humans to look at the storm raging around us so we begin to sink as Peter did
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out,
"Lord, save me!“ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.
"You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?“ (Matthew 14:30-31)
We need to do our best to focus on our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and take hold of his promises.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
Biblical Principles #5
God has the right to judge the world
COVID-19 is certainly serious. As of the time of this printing, active cases of COVID-19 have surpassed a million and deaths are tens of thousands and rising. Though we shouldn’t presume God’s intention through this pandemic, certainly God has right/reason to judge humanity. You might think if this is God's punishment, there are too many people dying. That's too much. That's unreasonable.
According to WHO, every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. In the USA, where nearly half of pregnancies are unintended and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion, there are over 3,000 abortions per day. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies in the USA end in abortion.
Prior to COVID 19 pandemic in America alone, 3,000+ babies were being murdered every day through abortion (far more than what COVID-19 kills).
Sexual immorality is running rampant in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender ) movement and in the church. As a culture, we have largely abandoned God’s Word as a standard for right and wrong and replaced it with man’s word.
It’s easy to see why God would judge the world. But to say the COVID-19 outbreak qualifies as a plague similar to biblical plagues is too far. However, God will not withhold his righteous anger forever. All sin is ultimately a direct offense to him. And in time, God will judge the world.
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.
He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31)