How should Christians respond during the Covid-19 coronavirus?
Recently I have been saddened to read several articles about pastors who have defied the government orders and insisted on keeping their churches open during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of these fringe pastors and churches which are not really solid to begin with. Nonetheless, with stories like these in the news true believers are asking the question, “how should Christians respond during the coronavirus pandemic?”
We should submit to governing authorities –
This morning my family continued reading through book of Romans during our family devotions. And we read Romans 13:1-2 – Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
God has already answered this question very clearly. Believers are to obey the governing authorities. Wherever you are in the world, you live under a government that was established by God. It is most certainly not a perfect government. Nonetheless, the leaders are doing their best with limited knowledge to protect the lives and well beings of citizens.
In Acts 5:29 Peter and John told the authorities that “we must obey God rather than man.” That is also true. When the governing authorities tell us to do something which is contrary to Scripture, we must obey God first. This is what was happening in the book of Acts. The Jewish leaders commanded Peter and John to stop sharing the gospel, directly contradiction Jesus’ command to them. It was a form of religious persecution and they were right to disobey authorities.
Such is not the case now. While believers are commanded to not give up meeting together (in Hebrews 10:24-25) this does not mean that believers must go to a church building every Sunday morning at 10 AM. It is a reminder that fellowship is important and believers should not isolate themselves or cut themselves off from Christian fellowship. I myself have been continuing Bible studies and church online through Zoom and in some studies attendance has even gone up. Many churches around the world are using similar methods to keep in the Word and fellowship.
You do not need to defy the government in order to obey God in this case. God has called us to be humble and to walk as salt and light in our communities. I expect that some “Christians” walk around with a chip on their shoulder, just waiting for any perceived slight or persecution so that they can show their freedom in acts of defiance. A time may come when believers need to disobey governments when they curtail religious liberties and command us to dishonor god, but that is not now.
Now is the time when Christians are called to be a good testimony –
Think about the testimony of believers who refuse to obey the government. They are constantly in the news for their defiance. How do those in the community react? Anger is the most common response. How can these pastors or believers go into their community and do evangelism or preach about the love of Christ after this is over? Will they not be rejected and called hypocrites who do not show love to their fellow neighbors during this time? Those in their communities will not even want to open the door to them, much less hear them preach about the gospel or repentance of sin. Jesus said in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be salty again?”
If believers give up their testimony now to take an ill advised “stand” they are losing their saltiness and will not easily get it again. Paul said that his strategy was to “be all things to all men” that he might win some to Christ. He adjusted himself to the culture and times around him (not by compromising to sin) in order to more effectively witness to a lost world. We should do the same.
Followers of Jesus should show love and acts of kindness to all races –
There are reports around the world of racism and discrimination. Countries are blaming other countries and individuals are caught in the fray. Stories of Asian Americans being attacked and insulted in the West are common. There are also stories of foreigners being mistreated in some Asian countries. It is time for believers to take a stand, not a stand to defy the government, but a stand to shine the light of Christ by loving all no matter their skin color or nationality.
This past week I was partaking of the Lord’s Supper with some brothers and sisters online. We read the verse from 1 Corinthians 10:17 – Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.
It reminded us that in the body of Christ all believers are one in Him. There is no room for racism in the body of Christ. We do not win people to Christ through hate, but through love. We do not win people to Christ through insults, but through acts of service. In the darkness, the light of Christ can shine ever brighter and brighter.
When those around you are showing hatred and acting in their own selfish interests, how will you respond? Will you do the same or will you prove yourself by the grace of God to be different?
Proverbs 4:18 – But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
As I come to the end of this article, I would invite you to spend a moment in prayer. If you have at any time during this virus responded in pride or selfishness, ask the Lord to forgive you. Ask Him to show you how even from your own home you can show love and kindness to others. This week think of one thing you can do to shine the light into the darkness. A wise person once said, “no good crisis should go to waste.” Let us not waste the unique opportunities in front of us now, but instead use the situation to build God’s kingdom.
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