Updated: May 27, 2020
1 John 4:10 ESV
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Coronavirus and Covid-19 is the big story right now. It has swept across the Globe in unprecedented fashion and has thrown us all into a whole new way of life. Theories abound including one that comes to the fore often; that this current pandemic is an act of God, in judgement, upon sinful man.
The Coronavirus Pandemic and its negative effects are indeed the result of sin. They are the result of the very first sin of humanity that sent this world into degenerative distancing from all that the Presence of God can give. In the presence of Jesus there is fullness of joy and at his right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Adam and Eve’s first sin in the garden caused a separation from that presence. It was the day that God’s heart was broken. Can you imagine how the Father felt in those moments when he called out from a place of full knowledge of the situation awaiting the inevitable response. “Where are you Adam?” For the first time, there was no reply. Intimacy with the Father became broken down for humanity. The keepers of the perfect earth had chosen to hide from the one whom they needed to maintain it’s perfection. This breakdown of relationship begat the breakdown of the planet that we inhabit. But God had a plan. God always has a plan.
Jesus was always the plan. He was the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Humankind found themselves looking forwards for the promised Saviour. Just over 2,000 years ago he came. Jesus came with a mission. He came, not to condemn the world but that the world through him could be saved (John 3:17).
The verse that we read at the beginning was 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The word ‘propitiation’ here means ‘to appease the wrath of’. The wrath of God is real. However, it is important to note that nowhere in the Bible do we read that God IS wrath. We do read that He is Holy and that He is Love. His wrath is a result of the fact that He is Holy and Love. His wrath defends his holiness and protects his nature of love. If he did not have wrath, His holiness would not be kept incorruptible, and His love would not be kept pure. If we want God to be love in all of its purity and holy in all of its perfect justice then there are times when His wrath must be displayed. We need a God who is Holy and a God who is Love. Therefore, we need a God who displays wrath.
Romans 1:18 ESV tells us this: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
The wrath of God is displayed against ALL ungodliness and ALL unrighteousness of men. It is not displayed against just single acts of ungodliness. It is displayed against it ALL. This is why we must be careful when we point the finger at sin. If we desire the wrath of God to be poured out on certain sins then we put ourselves in the place of desiring it upon ourselves also because the wrath of God is indiscriminate. It’s very easy for the church to point the finger at the world and blame it’s apparent sin for an outpouring of Gods wrath creating our current circumstance. Our prayers then become like the sound of spoiled children telling tales to their Father about the wrongs done by others. However, the fact of the matter is that the world is not being called to account. It is the church that must stand up and be counted. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 it is God’s people who are called to take the action necessary. The church must look inward and examine if it is fulfilling its calling as salt and light; those who bring the Kingdom of God to the circumstances and places where they find themselves to be. Interestingly, when Isaiah saw the Lord in that famous encounter in Isaiah 6, the only person that Isaiah could point the finger at was himself! ‘Woe is ME’, not ‘Woe is SOMEONE or ANYONE else’! We are all called to account for the problems, difficulties and lack of godly rule and reign in the world today. So what is the solution? What is the solution to the wrath of God that must be displayed against ALL sin? The solution is Jesus. It has always been Jesus.
Already in this article, we have considered that the wrath of God is indiscriminate. Thankfully, the love of God is also indiscriminate. Again, listen to the words of 1 John 4:10: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Jesus was the propitiation for our sins. He appeased the wrath of God. He fully satisfied it upon the cross of Calvary. He bore upon himself that which no one else could bear. So, if we are to point the finger at anything during this current pandemic, let it be a finger pointed towards the cross to direct people to the only solution for the problems of the world. There as Jesus appeased God’s wrath we see the greatest picture of love; the love of God towards all of humanity. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 ESV. His desire is not to make enemies but to make friends.
Interestingly 1 John 2:2 ESV also contains that word 'propitiation' and says, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” God’s wrath that was poured out upon his Son was not just for me or my church. It was poured out for the sins of he world. So, at this time of pandemic and the apparent chaos that it has brought, the church cannot point the finger to blame anyone or anything. It must use this opportunity to point only to Calvary and to the sinless, spotless, lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world to be the solution to all of mankind.
So, to sum up the biblical response to the current Coronavirus Pandemic, the following can be said:
It is the result of original sin but God has provided us with an answer. That answer is Jesus. We must all surrender to his rule and reign. When we have all surrendered to God and to His rule and reign, we surrender to the Kingdom of God having preeminence here on earth. It is then that we have surrendered ourselves together to the one who brings perfection and life as it was originally in the garden of Eden. Therein lies the answer; heaven on earth.