Human coronaviruses are not new, in fact, according to the CDC they have been identified to be with us since the mid-1960s. Today there are seven coronaviruses that can infect people, that we know of, as reported by the CDC.
Common human coronaviruses such as 229E (alpha coronavirus), NL63 (alpha coronavirus), OC43 (beta coronavirus), and HKU1 (beta coronavirus). These are considered common and people from around the world get infected with these. However, the ones that have brought the most concern are the next three.
MERS-CoV named after the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, SARS-CoV this is a coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, and now this new strain of the virus SARS-CoV-2 which we have seen infect people in China in 2019 and now around the world named COVID-19.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so the best way to prevent the illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, which can be difficult when someone could have it and not yet show any signs of having it.
The CDC recommends social distancing of six feet if you must be out in public, washing your hands as often as you can with soap and use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. If you are still working and feel sick stay home from your work to protect your co-workers. These are ways in which can help to keep you safe from the virus.
Practicing good hygiene may help prevent you from getting the virus or any virus for that matter. But the reality is even if we make it through this pandemic without getting sick, there is still coming a day in which we will take our final breath and stand before the King of kings and Lord of lords.
For those of you who may be reading this who have not come to genuine repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, I now want to take this time to plead with you to do so. Christ is God in the flesh the creator of the universe, who created man and everything in His creation good. In the garden, He commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he will surely die.
Adam disobeyed God and ate from the tree and sin and death came into the world, this is why we have sickness in the world, it is a result of the curse of sin, which affects us all, we are all born sinners due to Adam our federal head, who represents all of mankind. But GOD! Who is rich in mercy and grace provided a way in which man can be redeemed from the curse of sin which came as a result of the disobedience of Adam. God sent His only begotten Son into the world, to become a man, God in the flesh, who came to die on the cross to pay the penalty and redeem a people from that curse of sin.
If you have not received the free gift of grace offered by God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ do not wait any longer, don't put off until tomorrow something so important as your destination for eternity.
Adam is the federal head for all mankind, but for those who come to Christ, who died on the cross, was buried and rose again the third day, He becomes their federal head, His righteousness is imputed to them and our sins are placed upon Christ. He steps in as our penal substitutionary atonement, taking upon Himself the punishment we deserve and those who by faith have received Christ have been set free.
Should we be careless because we believe in Christ? Let me first respond to those who act carelessly in this time, STOP IT! God calls us to be wise, even if you don't believe the threat is as dangerous as the media portrays it. don't be careless. Consider your witness before the world. While we should not live in fear, we can still be wise and practice good hygiene and social distancing to make others feel more comfortable and secure, even if you think you are immune.
But speaking of being immune please don't think like the many false teachers who believe that they have enough faith that they could never possibly get COVID-19. In fact, this virus is exposing many of these health, wealth and prosperity, faith healer preachers. Where are they in all this? Guys like Benny Hinn, Todd White and others who go around having these crusades to heal the sick, usually a fee is involved to get into them, but where are they? Why are they not going in to heal the sick with COVID-19? Truth is and I pray it does continue to expose these false teachers for the charlatans they are.
This is a difficult time in which we live but also remember throughout the ages many Christians have experienced even greater difficulties than we are faces today with COVID-19. There have been plagues and world wars in which Christians in the past have experienced, not to mention the severe persecution throughout church history even up to today in many parts of the world. We must not lose hope in this time but find our peace, comfort and rest in Christ.
Many churches have canceled their services and moved them online to adhere to their state mandates to avoid gatherings during this time, while there are still some churches that continue to meet together. This has even become a source of division among professing believers on social media platforms disagreeing about it. Some claiming the government is using this as a way to silence the churches and close them down, while I believe one day it may come to that, I don't personally believe we are at that point at this time in our lives, seeing as how many businesses and organizations are losing millions that flow into the economies of these states that are mandating these stay at home orders or banning the gatherings of more than 10 people.
Some also claim that those who meet online instead of coming together are those who lack faith and on the other side those who are saying those who meet together are putting their people at risk of getting sick.
Christian, be gracious with your elders as they make the decisions they've felt were best for their congregations. Pray for them, love them, and support them! They have been given a high calling, one that the faithful shepherds do not take lightly, let them shepherd you as they seek to navigate through this time knowing that you and the others are being cared for in whatever decisions they have made in gathering or not gathering today.
Recently a pastor friend of mine posted this from Richard Baxter, Practical Works, Volume 1, 694
Q. May we omit church-assemblies on the Lord's day, if the magistrate forbids them?
Answer 1. It is one thing to forbid them for a time, upon some special cause (as infection by pestilence, fire, war, etc.), and another to forbid them statedly or profanely.
Answer 2. It is one thing to omit them for a time, and another to do it ordinarily.
Answer 3. The assembly and the circumstances of the assembly must be distinguished.
(1) If the magistrate for a greater good (as the common safety), forbid church assemblies in a time of pestilence, assault of enemies, or fire, or the like necessity, it is a duty to obey him.
(2) If princes profanely forbid holy assemblies and public worship, either statedly or as a renunciation of Christ and our religion; it is not lawful formally to obey them.
(3) But it is lawful prudently to do that secretly for the present necessity, which we cannot do publicly, and to do that with smaller numbers, which we cannot do with greater assemblies, yea, and to omit some assemblies for a time, that we may thereby have an opportunity for more: which is not formal but only material obedience.
I would hope that these questions and answers are helpful to you as you think through the many important decisions that will need to be made during this time of the pandemic.
Many unbelievers are fearful of getting sick and dying or losing a loved one to this virus. While others believe it is all just a conspiracy theory being blown out of proportion by the media. Regardless of where these unbelievers find themselves in this pandemic, one thing remains. The need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Despite the fact that we may not be able to meet together for corporate worship on the Lord's day or gather together for corporate prayer. We can still be a witness for Christ in our lives, at the workplace, grocery stores and online. Use this time to proclaim the gospel to the lost when you are able to. Utilize the time to study God's word deeper and grow in your understanding of theology. Read some books you have been putting off or just haven't been able to get around to yet. Spend more time in family worship, sing songs together, read the word together, pray together, and teach your children from the word of God.
These are good things and blessings that can come from this COVID-19 pandemic, and even if it ends tomorrow, don't let it end the way you are forced to use your time by redeem the time and use it to glorify the Lord.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.