A Matter of Life and Death

Bob Condly

It’s no exaggeration that the coronavirus outbreak is a matter of life and death. We hear terrible reports from China, Iran, and Italy, but the virus has spread all around the world. And anyone can get sick, especially the elderly and those with respiratory conditions.

Governments and health professionals are working overtime to develop tests and a vaccine. To slow the spread, officials have canceled sports seasons, shut down schools, and restricted social gatherings to no more than ten people.

What can members of the public do? A public service announcement tells us to “Do the Five.” 

  1. Hands – wash them often
  2. Elbow – cough into it
  3. Face – don’t touch it
  4. Feet – stay more than 3 feet apart
  5. Feel sick? Stay home

To combat a pandemic, these don’t seem like dramatic steps to take. They’re more like common courtesy kicked up a notch! Elected leaders, doctors, scientists–these people have the big responsibility to seek a cure. Sometimes, big problems have simple solutions. A few common-sense moves are an effective way to deal with a matter of life and death.

The Bible expresses this notion, too. For example, at the end of his life, Moses addressed the Israelites as they were preparing to occupy the Promised Land. Here’s some advice he gave them:

“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” – Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Moses made it simple: you have a choice of life or death. He also made it easy by dropping a hint: choose life! In the context of the coronavirus, people preserve their health and that of their neighbors by following the five practices listed above. In the kingdom of God, we choose life by giving Him our exclusive devotion. We love our neighbors when we try to safeguard their health. We love God when we prioritize Him and Him alone. And we love others when we share His life with them.

If we ignore the five rules, we endanger ourselves and others. And if the powers of this world appeal to us more than the Lord does, we risk separating ourselves from Him That’s death!

While we “do the five” guidelines, we wait for science and industry to produce a viable drug. The people scurrying for a cure have a hard job, and they can’t do it if they catch the virus. At that point, they’re out of commission.

The gospel tells us a different story about Jesus. Moses warned the Israelites to choose life over death. The government advises us how to keep ourselves and others safe. But Jesus took upon Himself the death that we deserved.

“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” – Romans 4:25

Christ died on the cross for us. We who are “sick” with sin and warrant punishment find a magnificent cure within reach. God raised Jesus from the dead to justify us. The sickness has infected everyone, but the medicine is available to all: it’s the gospel!

To enter life, all the Israelites had to do was believe Moses. To guard our health from the coronavirus, we can practice the five steps. And to receive spiritual life, all we have to do is believe in Jesus as the crucified and risen Lord. We don’t have to fear that the gospel won’t work!

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” – Romans 5:10

Choose life! Choose to follow Jesus today. And if you’ve already made that decision, stick with it. God won’t let you down. He will be with you no matter what you face here. Even a coronavirus is no match for His grace!

Tags: life, death, coronavirus, salvation, cross, resurrection, gospel