25-March-2020 by Timothy Wanjohi
During an epidemic, the Church and the Government have a role to play and nature is giving a message. By understanding these, we will adopt the right practice and possess the proper attitude towards the epidemic. Ultimately, we will deliver the world through the Christian perspective.
The Church and the Government are two arms the Government of God. They were conflated under one arm until 1 Samuel 8, when God separated the roles of the Prophet (Church) and the roles of the King (Government). At no point however was God surrendering any of these two offices over to another power other than Himself.
The Church and the Government report to God about the well-being of the people spiritually and politically. They should be united. This should end the Christian dilemma between whether they should adhere to the government laws that forbid gatherings and whether they should continue meeting in their churches.
Congregations resulting in the spread of the epidemic lead to the temporal consequences including the expenses of those who get afflicted from these crowds and the deaths ensuing, on the Government. We are guilty of murder if we infect others and of suicide if we infect ourselves negligently. The Government must not be misconstrued to be in competition with the Church.
Conversely, the Government ensures man’s safety on earth as the Church does man’s after-life. Government pursues ideals for man on earth as the Church teaches man about purpose and heaven. In these dire times, the Government cannot teach man how to die and only the Church can go above the temporal to the spiritual.
Government officials and Clergy must remain available in their offices. God has a habit of saving many during calamity. The young in faith will need encouragement. The more mature will need the Word and Sacrament, which Clergy should administer.
It should be easy for the Christians in Kenya to work together with the Government because it is subservient to Christ. The first words of the National Anthem are ‘Oh God of all creation…’ It is Christ who created everything (Colossians 1:16-20). The first words of the National Anthem are a hallowing to His Name for Government addresses the creator of the world.
Christians are responsible for the spiritual condition of this nation. We should be sober and vigilant even as this lion roams about (1 Peter 5:8). Love must prompt us to enlighten all to Christ. Point them to the saviour, for without Christ, they are without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12-20).
In the Bible, those who had incurable contagious diseases like leprosy were quarantined, not as a lack of faith but as acts of awareness. God could perform miracles and use the Church to heal these diseases supernaturally by prayer, but there is no model different from that which we see in the Bible for the conducting of miraculous healings.
It must be a leading of the Holy Spirit that causes such a drastic measure. In the Bible, the Apostles never went out having planned to perform miracles. Do not be deceived! There is no such thing as a miracle service as some have planned Wednesday or Sunday miracle services.
Those are all gimmicks and where they are not, contrary to the mode presented in Scripture, are demonic signs. Where miracles are genuine one thing must always accompany it; the Gospel. You have to know what the Gospel is!
Beware of signs before understanding the Gospel. Satan can also perform signs. Signs are not the answer! The Gospel is the answer because the real cure is not a bodily cure but a spiritual cure, which inherits for us eternity with God after we die.
This is the reason that after the man’s guardians asked Jesus to heal him, Jesus looked upon him and instead of saying to him be healed, said to him rejoice, your sins are forgiven (Matthew 9:1-7)! Sin is the reason sickness and death is in the world!
God said to Adam the day you sin you shall surely die (Genesis 2:16ff). We inherited this sin with its consequences including death (Romans 5:12). All these diseases, ageing, and so on so forth, are simply, death in stages.
All who have been cured of sin have overcome the grave. We shall be resurrected again at the appointed time to be with our Lord forever (1 Corinthians 15:52). Therefore, the true preacher is not the one who is theatrical with signs and fake signs, but the one who is faithful to the preaching of the message called the ‘Gospel.’
If the gospel you know is another gospel (Galatians 1:8-9), the sign is not from God and even if your body could get healed, your spirit remains dead in sin and you are still on your way to an eternal lake of fire. Jesus said a wicked generation seeks after a sign (Matthew 16:4). Stay away from people who call themselves Christians who are obsessed with signs and wonders. They will endanger you in times like these.
The only Christian you have ever met is the one who is obsessed with the preaching of the Gospel. Those who chase after ‘signs’ calling them faith are Devil worshippers. Christ will send them to hell. He spoke about them in Matthew 7:21-23.
For now, it is incumbent that we understand where both Church and State come in. As a trained church official, it is appropriate for me to say this without being reckless, and is perfectly fine if my life was spent for you. You can call me to come to you in case of an escalation of this issue if you are around my area.
Seeing that the COVID-19 has so affected the world, there are lessons to be apprehended by this. Christ's disciples asked Him about His second coming. '...What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world' (Matthew 24:3)?
Among the answers that He gave were, '...there shall be pestilences (Diseases ensuing from pests; animals, creatures)' Matthew 24:7. He continued, '...upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity...men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth...' (Luke 21:26).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, being maker of everything in all of creation, tasked nature with the mandate of preaching about the events that would occur prior to His second coming to the earth. Therefore, He told His disciples what He had told nature to show on His imminent approach (Matthew 24-25).
Christians are the reason all these things are happening. 'For the earnest expectation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God' (Romans 8:19). What is common to man may befall us for we are but men. It is a consequence of sin and we are sinners. '...Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies' (Romans 8:23).
But when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4). Nature is dramatising because it is waiting for us to be revealed as the sons of God at Christ’s coming!
In the meantime, Jesus Christ gave us the proper response befitting the redeemed. It is not a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). We are not to act like the world. We are in it but we are not of it. Ours is a heavenly city, whose builder and foundation is God (Hebrews 11:16). This world is passing away... (1 John 2:17).
After Christ had explained these things, He told the Christians that as nature is showing signs, we should use words. Although nature can declare the glory of God, only a Christian can explain Him to the world. For 'how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher' (Romans 10:14)?
In these perilous times, Jesus appealed to faithfulness and wisdom for the believer, which He said was the preaching of God's word to edify His elect (Matthew 24:45). To the one who says my master delays, as some do by claiming these things always happen, he shall be found in an hour in which he does not expect and will be appointed a portion in hell with the rest of the world (Matthew 24:46-51).
Dear world, you have missed the point if you are trying so very hard to survive this epidemic. The intended goal is to make you realise how vulnerable you are, and how much you need Jesus in your life. The organism is just a preacher.
We are not saved by a cure to the Corona Virus. You are infected with sin and you will still die. No cure to any disease will lead to a permanent home on earth. We are saved by hope (Romans 8:24). And hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5).
This is that hope. To believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to this world and died on a cross to take your sins away and restore you back to God, was buried and was resurrected on the third day, and ascended into heaven. If you believe that He is coming again, to those who are looking up in faith, you shall be saved.
To God be the glory.
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