Skip to main content

Tag: good news

Mortality Reality behind COVID-19

Afraid to die.  That about sums it up.  People are afraid to die.  And it appears we Americans are especially afraid.  This has been evidenced in many ways during this time of COVID-19, including the following:

1) Frantic hoarding of basic commodities
2) Persistent numbing of the self through various media technologies and vices
3) Flat-out denial of the reality of death
4) Overreactions in some of the precautionary efforts

Don’t misunderstand.  I agree that disease can be serious, and we should take appropriate precautions.  But we should also take care not to overreact and do more harm than good.  When it comes to the topic of death and dying, the flight or fight instinct kicks into hyperdrive, and it becomes more difficult to remain balanced.

May I share some good news with you?  You don’t have to be afraid to die.  But before you can arrive at this place of fearlessness, you must first face the fact of your mortality.  So, turn off Netflix, put away Facebook, and set aside that glass of wine long enough to let your mortality-reality set in:

I’m going to die, and you are going to die.  Everyone is going to die.  Coronavirus has not changed this reality in either direction.  It’s as true now as it was the day you were born.

Why are we going to die?  Well, it depends on who you ask?  If you ask the secular humanist, he would say it’s just part of the physical reality of our evolutionary life-cycle.  How sad!  Is that really the best explanation of reality?  People are just a pile of mobile flesh and bones?

This view falls short on many counts, not the least of which includes our complexity of emotions and deep sense of justice.  For example, we don’t arrest, prosecute, and imprison lions and wolves for killing their prey; but we do carry out justice for humans murdering other humans.  Why?  Because of a deep sense of human value and complex emotions founded upon justice (right vs. wrong).

Enter the biblical view of death.  Death is not simply the end to a biological life cycle.  Death is the consequence of our disobedience to the Ultimate Holy Lawgiver.  His name is Yahweh, the one and only God, the LORD of this universe that He created.  The reason we feel a deep sense of justice is because God has set His laws on our hearts.

The bad news is you and I have broken God’s laws again and again and again.  Our disobedience is called sin.  And God doesn’t hide our mortality-reality from us.  He tells us straight up, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23).  That’s eternal death, a forever conscious punishment that we deserve in Hell.  No earthly disease can hold a candle to the torments of this judgment.  What good would it be to survive COVID-19 only to die of some other cause and land yourself in eternal judgment?  This is the mortality-reality behind COVID-19.

The good news is you and I don’t have to go to Hell because God is not only a just God but a merciful and loving God too.  God loved the world by giving “his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn.3:16).  This good news is called the gospel—that Jesus died for our sins and was raised to life on the third day, victorious over sin and death!

But this good news is still bad news if you turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it.  If you refuse to repent of your sin and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone, you will remain in your sins and death will swallow you up for all eternity.  But if you repent of your sin and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone, you will be swallowed up by new spiritual life in Christ that begins now and lasts for all eternity.  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Christians still fear the dying process and may fear death itself from time to time, but consistently and persistently our fear of death has been turned to faith in the One who conquered the grave.

In Christ Alone,
Jeremy Vanatta

(*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations come from the English Standard Version)


The fundamental issue the gospel addresses is man’s sinful autonomy.  Everywhere we look in this world we see humans declaring themselves “strong enough”, “tough enough”, “resilient enough”, and “self-reliant”.  And we Christians must admit that too often the person staring back at us from the mirror is guilty of the same.

Recently, devastating tornadoes tore through Tennessee only a few miles from my home.  In the aftermath of the storms, we witnessed both the best and the worst of humanity.  First-responders and neighbors sacrificed to help those who had been battered by the winds.  But scammers and cheats came out of the woodwork too.

Unfortunately, the more subtle travesty of “hometown hashtags” began popping up everywhere you looked.  By “hometown hashtags” I mean people posting a hashtag followed by their city name and the word strong, such as  #_________Strong  (you fill in the blank).

Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing much of the same.  We expect the world that lives independently of God to declare such things, but this should not be the Christian’s banner cry.  For followers of Christ, only one hashtag will do,  #TheLordIsOurStrength

Four weeks ago, at Grace Life Baptist Church, we began our study of spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10-20 where Paul begins the section with these words.

Ephesians 6:10—Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

We learned from this verse that Paul’s “be strong” is a verb in the present tense, passive voice, and imperative mood.  For all you non-grammar nerds, that simply means that Christians are commanded (imperative mood) to continually (present tense) be strengthened by (passive voice) the Lord.

The Lord is our source of strength in the spiritual battles we face.  Why would we think strength to face physical challenges and suffering would require anything less?  As we noted in our study, spiritual battles are spiritual but the effects of the battle will be experienced physically, mentally, and emotionally.

In this way, no one is #Strong.  God alone is!  And when a person comes to rely solely on the Lord Jesus through faith alone in Him, only  #TheLordIsOurStrength  makes any sense.  And this brings a whole new attitude on our part toward the many threats of suffering and death in our world like that of COVID-19.  Our thinking and attitudes will begin to sound more like Romans 14:8-9.

Romans 14:8-9—For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

The question is not, “Are you going to die?”  And the question is not, “Are you going to die in such and such a manner?”  The question is, “Are you ready to meet God in judgment?”  For “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb.9:27).  Our sin deserves the punishment of eternal death, but Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of all who call on His name for forgiveness.

Therefore, the answer to the question, “Are you ready to meet God in judgment?”, doesn’t have to be “no”.  It can be “yes” if you believe on Christ.  “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb.9:28).  “Waiting for him” means the Christian waits on Christ in faith expressed in faithfulness in place of unbelief and disobedience.

Christ the Lord was and is strong on your behalf.  He alone is strong enough!  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31) from God’s eternal judgment and granted eternal life.

In Christ Alone,
Jeremy Vanatta

(*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations come from the English Standard Version)