The COVID parable continues
In a previous pastoral letter, I drew a parallel between the COVID virus and sin in our lives. The virus is adapted to invade us, and take over control of our cell biochemistry to multiply itself within us. It will eventually take over control all together, causing the death of the host. Sin does the same spiritually.
As another wave of COVID infection strikes Sydney, we can see further parallels between how people locally and overseas react to the pandemic and how Christians deal with sin.
Frontline health workers who have witnessed the thousands who have become severely ill and the hundreds who died from the virus have no hesitation in getting immunized. The impact of the virus on people’s lives is absolutely real to them.
On the contrary, there are others who get very angry with the health authorities for mandating the use of masks, social distancing and lockdowns that are intended to protect them. Some would go so far as demonstrating against the suppression of their personal freedoms. They are only concerned with their immediate desires and convenience. As viral infection is not inevitable if you disregarding the preventative measures, and infectious symptoms do not appear instantaneously, these people dismiss the pandemic as unreal.
Many who are fortunate enough to be living in places of low infection, such as Australia, have the luxury of procrastinating about receiving the vaccine, due to the worries of blood clot complications or other side effects. For them, it is a matter of doing nothing until such time as the choice must be made. On the contrary, others living in countries where the pandemic is out of control see people they know dying every day. These people are desperate to get vaccinated with any vaccine that is available to them. To them, vaccination means life and the minor relative merits of vaccines, such as between AstraZeneca & Pfizer is simply a non-issue.
We see all the above attitudes in Christians when it comes to dealing with sin. Some, like the frontline health workers, have witnessed firsthand the virulence and horror of sin. That gives them a high sense of urgency to confess their sin and cling to the Lord for strength to resist it. Similarly, like people in India or Brazil facing a high risk of infection and death each day, Christians who have witnessed the reality of sin would find great comfort in being able to access the Lord’s word and His protection. They would embrace it. To them, the cost of walking daily with Christ is so minimal that it is not even a consideration.
There are others who would regard the “freedom” to follow their desires and the ways of the world to be the most important pursuit. Any biblical teaching that sets itself against this way of life is seen as unacceptable infringement of that “freedom”. The existence of sin is effectively denied, or at the very least kept out of mind.
Perhaps most of us are like Australians. We feel relatively safe. Even if we disregard precautionary measures, we don’t expect to be infected. On the off chance we do get infected, medical services are good, and the risk of dying from the virus is minimal. Perhaps we view sin that way too. From our experience, any punishment for sin is so far in the future that it is easy to put any consequences out of mind instead of dealing with it with any urgency.
Remember Paul’s words “…do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4, and Jesus words “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” Luke 12:2.
May we deal promptly with sin and walk daily with Christ in order to be immunized against sin.