The Pandemic Of Sin (Part I)
Updated: May 25, 2020
By bro Joel Lee
On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global emergency for the novel coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, Hubei province, otherwise known as the COVID-19. As of 15 February 2020, the WHO situation report states that there is a total of 50, 580 laboratory confirmed cases with a total of 1526 deaths worldwide. Singapore raised its risk assessment level to DORSCON Orange and with that, our supermarkets were raided overnight of toilet paper, instant noodles and rice. I never knew toilet paper and instant noodles could be so valuable.
Presently, Singapore has a total of 90 (accurate of 24 February 2020) confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the fear and anxiety in our society is palpable. Travel plans are being cancelled, people are avoiding crowded public places and it’s probably easier to strike 4D than to find a mask today.
Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic is frightening, but what if I were to tell you there is a deadlier and more contagious disease out there – one that is more widespread, one that has existed since the dawn of mankind and one which has a higher mortality rate than SARS and MERS combined. Its name is sin.
What is sin? 1 John 3:4 defines it as a transgression of God’s law – ‘Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness’. Now, how is sin related to a virus or disease?
In fact, in the Old Testament, a sinful state was often described as a diseased state. Consider these verses:
Jeremiah 30:12-13 For thus says the Lord, ‘Your affliction is incurable and, Your wound is severe. There is no one to plead your case, That you may be bound up; You have no healing medicines’ . Jeremiah 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery For the health of the daughter of my people?
In these instances, the prophet Jeremiah describes the sinful state of the nation Israel in the form of a disease which is incurable due to the severity of their sins and their unrepentant hearts. The words “medicines”, “affliction”, “wound” and “physician” make up an apt analogy that Jeremiah was driving at – that sin is like an incurable disease. Moving on to the New Testament, Jesus Christ was also known as the great physician. Mark 2:17 reads ‘When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”’ Jesus said he had come to earth to heal people who were spiritually sick, to cure their spiritual ailments.
If you think about it, sin and disease do share plenty of similarities. For one, they both cause death. Take the COVID-19 virus for example. It is a coronavirus that spreads by droplets and causes inflammation in the lungs of those infected, leading to respiratory distress and possibly death. What about sin? Romans 6:23 tells us ‘ For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Sin causes spiritual death by separating us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Secondly, sufferers of both sin and disease exhibit symptoms that show they have the ‘disease’ – outward signs/behaviours that demonstrate the presence of illness. For example, patients with the COVID-19 virus have symptoms such as cough, runny nose, fever, breathlessness, fatigue or chest pain. We know these well thanks to the regular reminders by our Singapore government. Similarly, victims of sin have symptoms too. What are they? Galatians 5:19 reads
‘19Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst s of wrath, selfish ambitions , dissensions , heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
All these are the external manifestations of someone in sin and once again, we are reminded that these individuals do not inherit the kingdom of God, i.e. to say, they experience eternal death/separation from God.
Lastly, just as the COVID-19 virus is contagious and spreads by droplet from individual to individual, so is sin. 1 Cor 15:33 reads ‘Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.’ Indeed, we are reminded of the numerous biblical examples in which corrupt influences led to or encouraged the sins of others – Ahab and Jezebel, Ananias and Sapphira, Rehoboam and his friends, and the list goes on. Furthermore, we know the COVID-19 virus spreads via close proximity and as a result, the government quarantines suspect cases – i.e. those with travel history to China/Hubei and the close contacts of infected persons. Likewise, if one is in close proximity to sin on a regular basis, one is more likely to be afflicted by it. Proverbs 13:20 reads ‘He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.’
Let us be truthful to ourselves. As devastating as COVID-19 may appear now, its numbers pale in comparison to that of sin. The WHO defines a pandemic as a rapid spread of disease within a large population across multiple countries or continents. The COVID-19 is indeed a pandemic, having involved 26 countries now and counting. But sin is universal. It has infected every single human being in every single country, since the beginning of time. Romans 3:23 tells us ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’. Is there no cure for this disease? What can be done to combat this unseen, neglected pandemic?