Christianity and theology

Three Things That COVID 19 Reminds Us About God and Life

Coronavirus has almost brought the world to a halt. Boarders and airports have shut down; schools and businesses have also closed down. There is fear and panic in many parts of the world and Malawi is no exception. Now how should we react or think of this disease which the World Health Organization has just declared a pandemic? I would like to point out three things that coronavirus should remind us of:

1. THE IMPACT OF SIN UPON CREATION
The impact of the fall (sin) upon creation is real. When our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned against God their sin had far more reaching effects than we often like to think. Death, diseases, germs (including coronavirus), and suffering are some of the consequences of the fall. We praise the Lord for man’s creativity and the strides that have been made in science, medicine, and technology. However, these advances can never erase the effects of the fall upon creation. Only Jesus Christ can. This is why Apostle Paul tells us that creation is groaning and waiting for its redemption in Christ (Romans 8:18-25). Indeed, a day is coming when Christ will usher in a new creation that will never be affected by sin, death, coronavirus, or any evil (Revelation 21:1-5).

2. THE BREVITY OF LIFE
Coronavirus should remind us how short our days are here on earth. Within a short period of time the virus has spread across the globe and claimed close to eight thousand lives. It is possible that it will claim more. When this year was beginning no one in Malawi ever imagined that three months down the line we would find ourselves preparing against the virus. By then it was only in Wuhan, China. Many thought it will end there. But now it threatens to claim your life and my life. The brevity of life should cause us to always be ready to meet our maker and judge. The psalmist was very insightful when he observed: “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am. Behold you have made my days a few handbreadths…Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath” (Psalm 39:4-6).

3. THE NEED TO TRUST GOD
But all is not dark and bleak. Jesus Christ calls us not to despair. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also,” (John 14:1-3).

“Let not your hearts be troubled,” Jesus says. But you might ask: how can I be calm in the midst of a pandemic that is killing thousands? Jesus tells us how: by BELIEVING in God which also means believing in Christ for Christ is God.

• BELIEVE that Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for you, dear Christian. He fully knows what sin has done to this world. He doesn’t want us to live in this fallen world forever so he is preparing us a glorious home.

•. BELIEVE that Jesus is coming again to take you home where there is no coronavirus.

Although not mentioned in John 14:1, somewhere the Bible adds:

•. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ has overcome death. Corona virus can only kill the body but it can never separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. In fact, even though a Christian might die of the virus he/she shall still live (John 11:25).

•. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father praying for you (Romans 8:34) and nothing will happen to you without him sanctioning it. He is able to keep you and your loved ones safe through the pandemic.

•. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords who is in control of all the affairs of the world (Colossians 1:16-17). Even the coronavirus is his virus, and he is making it work for the good of his people (Romans 8:28).

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Christianity and Society

The Agony of Prosperity Gospel: “It is Less About God and More About Feeling Good.”

Photo credit: Enrichment Journal

A recent research by the University of Toronto’s department of psychology  in the Faculty of Arts & Science has found out that exposure to prosperity gospel (PG) makes you more likely to show an exaggerated and unrealistic sense of optimism for life and take more financial risks.

In the press release about the findings of the research, the study’s lead author, Nick Hobson, Ph. D. makes this important observation, “Its (prosperity gospel’s) success as a growing religious movement might be less about feeling (sic) God, and more about feeling good.”

Now this is very interesting especially that it is coming from a non-Christian institution. Here Hobson has put his finger on it and it should not surprise us because that’s exactly what the Bible teaches.  PG is not the gospel. There is only one gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ and him crucified. The PG is neither about nor for Christ but actually against Christ. This is why Apostle Paul anathematizes anyone who preaches it: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said it before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8, 9).

Further as the research notes, PG is about manipulating people through their volatile emotions rather than pointing them to their greatest need of salvation in Christ. Apostle Peter already warned us against the destructive nature of PG.  Writing of devious and false teachers who include PG preachers the apostle cautioned: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you…And in their greed they will exploit you (“make merchandize of you,” KJV) with false words” (2 Peter 2:1-4). There is no better description of the PG and its preachers than what the apostle gives here. The PG never seeks the good of its hearers but as lie from the pit of hell seeks to destroy them.

The PG has been weighed on the secular scale and has been found wanting. No need to mention that it also fails miserably on the biblical scale. So to those who are still trapped in the yoke of PG, hear the words of the gospel of Christ. Christ’s greatest gift is not material wealth. It is not an excellent health. These he can give if he pleases. His greatest gift is salvation from the wrath of come. Christ is the bread of life that endures to eternity. Labour not for the riches of this world, which are here today and gone tomorrow. What shall it profit you if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Come to Christ, rest in him, labour faithfully with your hands, and trust him to provide for all your needs (Matt. 6:25-34).

 

 

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