Faith in the age of Covid-19
Many of us are unable to attend church during this pandemic. Our churches may be closed, or we may not feel safe attending. Many of us may not have any faith in God whatsoever. No matter who we are, we all need good news now more than ever.
Too many people think that they must be good for God to approve of them. Others think that they must merit God’s favor. The New Testament gospel of grace tells us otherwise.
First, however, we must realize that we are by nature sinners, not saints. Paul wrote in Romans – “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3: 10-12)
And now, the good part: “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3: 21-26)
Justification (being ‘made right’ with God, being brought into a ‘right’ relationship with Him) is a free gift. What is the ‘righteousness’ of God? It is the fact that He Himself came to earth veiled in flesh to pay our eternal debt of sin. He does not require our righteousness before He accepts us and loves us, but He gives us His righteousness as a free gift.
Paul continues in Romans – “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3: 27-28) There is nothing we can do to merit our own eternal salvation.
Are you seeking your own righteousness rather than God’s righteousness? Have you submitted yourself to parts of the old covenant that were already fulfilled in Christ? Paul told the Galatians, who had turned from faith in Christ to keeping parts of the old covenant – “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Galatians 5: 4-6)
Throughout our life on earth, we remain in our sinful and fallen flesh. However, after we place our faith in Jesus Christ, He sanctifies us (makes us more like Him) through His indwelling Spirit. As we allow Him to be the Lord of our lives and yield our wills to His will and obey His word, we enjoy the fruit of His Spirit – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5: 22-24)
The simple gospel of grace is the best news ever. In this time of so much bad news, consider the good news that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought to this hurting, broken, and dying world.