Our nation has been called to come together to fight an invisible enemy – COVID-19.
What started in China and was a distant concern is now our concern.
“Testing, testing, testing” has been repeated as key to controlling Covid-19.
Covid-19 has no respect for race, status, wealth, or fame.
Myths abound about Covid-19 and how to beat it.
We want to protect others and ourselves and are washing our hands but are realizing how vulnerable we are. For goodness sake, a warehouse worker at Amazon tested positive. Did he touch our package? Is it now in our house?
Another Invisible Enemy Exists and We Must Stop to Pay Attention
While our world has stopped to pay attention to a physical threat, we are wise to consider another invisible enemy – sin.
Why? Because similarities abound.
Sin is real and respects no person regardless of race, status, wealth, or fame.
It spreads as we pass our moral decadences and self love from one person to another whether it is gossip, lying, slander, drug abuse, sexual sins, or impure motives.
Sin kills our innocence and purity. It infects our relationships, communities, and world.
It’s insidious. Subtle, but with harmful effects.
As with Covid-19, myths and misinformation about sin are passed person to person just as they are about Covid-19. We’re told there’s much to do about nothing. There’s no such thing as sin. Believe what you want. There’s nothing to worry about. You’re not really going to die in sin and be eternally separated from God. We laugh and scoff at the idea of Satan, that he is a real enemy. We ignore that the evil displayed in our world is fueled by spiritual forces of wickedness. We don’t believe in an afterlife. We say a loving God wouldn’t send anybody to hell while ignoring our responsibility for our eternal destiny; that it is our refusal of God’s invitation to salvation through Christ that seals our eternal separation from Him. We ignore how illogical it is to assume God would assign us to live in Christ’s eternal presence in heaven if we don’t want anything to do with Him now. We think after we die God will make the determination if we go to heaven or hell when in fact, the determination is made by us while we are alive on the basis of if we have rejected or received Christ as Savior.
What We Think Doesn’t Change Facts
Images of bikini clad girls and fun loving guys at beaches alternate on our screens between masked, gloved nurses and doctors treating virus ridden patients at hospitals. Did the fun loving beach goers not know about Covid-19? Did they not care? Had they already bought their tickets, booked their hotels and the thought of giving up their plans and losing money led them to go with the hope they’d be alright?
We might ask ourself the same questions. The Bible tells us it is appointed once to die and that we will all appear before the judgement seat of God. The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We are warned that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; that no man comes to the Father but through Him. We are invited to confess our sins, knowing that God is faithful and just to forgive us. It is explained clearly that if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, we will be saved. Do we not know? Do we not care? Are we enjoying our lives and the thought of turning from self and sin to follow Christ lead us to the same conclusion as the beach goers – to go on as normal and hope for the best?
A Hope that Disappoints and A Hope that Brings Joy
In the Bible there’s a parable about a rich man and a poor man. The rich man dies and goes to hades. The poor man dies and goes to paradise. The rich man sees the poor man in glory and asks if he will bring him a dip of water. It’s explained to him that it’s not possible because there’s a chasm that can’t be crossed. (Think quarantine.)
Coming to grips with his eternal separation from heaven, the rich man asks if someone might go to earth to warn his family.
That is exactly what God did in mercy. He sent Jesus from heaven to earth to warn us that life exists in one of two places after we die – heaven or hell. Then Jesus did the ultimate. He stepped up and took our sins on the cross so that the penalty for them is paid and we can appear before God clean and free to live eternally in what is called the third heaven.
What we once didn’t understand, we now better understand about the heavens. With our naked eye, we see the sky, the atmosphere that is called heaven. (Is 55:10-11) Early civilizations probably assumed there was nothing beyond the visible heaven. But we know there is a “second heaven,” a universe of stars, planets, meteors, and galaxies. The Bible refers to this second heaven in Gen 1:14-17 mentioning “heavens” with an “s.” Many today believe we have only two heavens; refusing to believe that there is a third heaven brimming with life – God, Jesus, angels, those who have physically died on earth but live eternally there. To ignore this third heaven would liken us to the first civilization who might have argued against a second heaven because they hadn’t seen or experienced it. The Bible abounds with references to this third heaven. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul describes being caught up to the third heaven. King Solomon, known for his wisdom, referred to God and the heaven of heavens. The third heaven is sometimes referred to as “highest heavens.” John was given visions of the third heaven. (Revelation) Jesus said He came down from heaven (John 6:38) and that He was going up again. His disciples watched Him ascend into the clouds. (Acts 1:9) Angels who were present at Jesus’s ascension said Jesus would one day come back through the clouds. There is a third heaven.
3 Parts of Man
Just as there are three heavens although our eye only sees the first, there are three parts of man: body, soul, and spirit. We see the outer person, but know that there is more than hair, skin, and nails. We have explored and seen the inner man – organs, brains, vessels, muscles. There is a third part of us that the Bible refers to as our inner most being. (Psalm 51:6, Proverbs 20:27, 2 Corinthians 4:16) First Thessalonians 5:23 makes clear our three parts. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our spirit, that is yet to be seen even as the third heaven is yet to be seen, is of great concern to God, the Great Physician. Jesus came to save us from sin, a spiritual virus that causes eternal death; separation from God.
Why is it hard to believe that God would separate people who with infected sin souls from those whose souls Jesus has cleansed? Earthly physicians separate people with Covid-19 from people who don’t have it. Our Heavenly Father separates people with sin from people who don’t have sin.
Just as we see the importance of testing to see if we have Covid-19, God tells us to test ourselves spiritually to see if we have sin or Christ in us.
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5
Is Christ in you? The following will help you determine the condition of your spirit, the third part of you, your innermost being.