Editor’s note: The following content was written by a Chinese house church pastor for a gospel pamphlet which his church is distributing in their city during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where does the plague come from?
When God created the world in the beginning, he did not create the plague. Nor did he create natural disasters, man-made tragedies, illnesses, suffering, or death. He used his powerful word to create this orderly universe. God was pleased with everything he had created, especially with mankind, who was created in his own image.
Even today, in the deepest recess of our hearts, we still yearn for and admire the good in creation. God masterfully created the first man and his wife, our first parents: Adam and Eve.
However, soon after this, mankind was tempted by the devil and rebelled against God. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and wanted to be god themselves. As a consequence, they fell from the blessed state they were in. The world is now plagued by cool wind, the earth is cursed, and thorns and thistles started to grow from the ground. Mankind is now barred from Eden, wandering in an earthly world. We became like the most wanted criminals in the universe, under the punishment of sin and death, under the attack of suffering and death, under the tyranny of evil and corruption.
Would You Pray With Us Today?
Ever since humans fell, we have lost God’s image, and are now devoid of the glory of God; we now live more like animals than true mankind. Sometimes our conscience even rebukes the animal instincts within us.
The Plague Shows that We Need Salvation
After several thousand years, we have become numb. We have become acclimated to our sinful state. We account for decay and death with natural explanations. We overlook sin and evil, even death itself. We turn a blind eye to the suffering we see in our world.
Illness and death are stark realities that remind us we need salvation. But because of our gradual slide into sin and numbness, we no longer care about our own desperate condition; it seems as though the only thing that can wake us up from our stupor and force us to reflect more on the meaning of life is sudden, catastrophic disaster.
“Where do we come from?”
“Where are we going?”
“What do we live for?”
It is only during times like this we look to heaven and ask these important questions. If, in our desperation, we cry out to heaven and get to know him who is the Creator, Judge, and Redeemer, then the plague may actually be a blessing in disguise.
The Gospel of the Cross Cancels the Curse
No one should overlook Jesus Christ, whose life and death marked the beginning of the Gregorian calendar. He is the Son of God, and came into the world according to the will of God. Though innocent himself, he took the place of sinners and bore all of our sins and punishments on the cross on our behalf.
He died for our sins, and rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, acting as our Great High Priest, praying for us.
For God’s sons and daughters who belong to Christ in the cross, Jesus has overcome the curse of the fall. In Christ Jesus, we have reconciliation with God; in turn, we have reconciliation with the world God has created. In other words, everything now works for good for God’s children: even the plague, according to God’s will.
If anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation by God – they have a share in God’s kingdom and the new heavens and the new earth.
The heavens and the earth are like clothes that are wearing away; all people in the world age and grow frail. We also have to face terrible threats like hunger, plague, and earthquake. But Jesus Christ is extending an invitation to you, to join in his body (that is, to be a part of his body, the church), to take part in his life, to live and die with him, and therefore to have eternal life in and with him.
Signs of Christ’s Return
The same Jesus who ascended into heaven will return at the end of time to rule the world. He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and all will confess him to be the Lord and worship him in prostration. There will be signs that point to his return, like the trumpet sound at the end of this age. “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:10-11)
Meanwhile, the church of Jesus Christ will be misunderstood and persecuted. This is like 120 years ago, during the end of the Qing Dynasty, when the Boxer Rebellion killed hundreds of Western missionaries and millions of Chinese Christians; but afterwards, missionaries used the reparation money to build universities in China, the most iconic of which was Shanxi University.
As the day of Christ’s return approaches, we will face his judgment. He will come riding on the clouds and everyone will see him, the nations on earth will cry. If we cannot face hunger and plague, how can we face his judgment at the end?
The kingdom of God (or the kingdom of heaven) is at hand, we can only repent and confess our sins; otherwise, we will not be able to face the horror of the last day.
Where can we escape to during this plague? We can only stay home to reduce the chance of getting infected and infecting others. Even though we may be able to avoid COVID-19, we cannot avoid death and the judgment in the end. But the resurrected Jesus has already born our sins and defeated the devil, who holds the power of death. He has paved the way of redemption and righteousness for us, the way of eternal life. Just like the Lord Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
The only way of escape is in Christ, the Son of God, the resurrected Jesus, the eternal King and Redeemer of heaven and earth. May you answer the call of the gospel, grow in your desire to know Jesus Christ more deeply, and receive God’s salvation. We welcome you to contact us.