Words of Comfort
A call to repentance
Robert F. Russell
Updated Apr 30, 2020 at 11:15 AM
Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.
A question arising during this unprecedented season is whether God has sent the coronavirus as some type of judgment. I do not believe any human being can definitively answer that question. However, what we can say is that God has permitted that which He could have otherwise prevented. The question that logically follows is why might He have done so?
The Scripture indicates that God is love (1 John 4:8). Therefore, everything He does emanates from His perfect love for His creation and for each one of us. Even God’s judgments of humanity are acts of love. Judgment from God is designed to bring repentance. First, the Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers to bring them to repentance and salvation (John 16:8-11). Second, God disciplines those who do know Him to bring them to repentance from unrighteousness (Hebrews 12:5-11). In light of God’s desire for human repentance, I believe there are some things we can definitively say about the current circumstances.
1) God is using the coronavirus situation to bring down the false idols of humanity.
2) The Lord is using this season as a loudspeaker to call those who do not know Him to humble themselves and seek Him so they might experience salvation and eternal relationship with Christ.
3) Jesus is also purifying His church — calling us to repent of our pride, idolatry, self-centeredness and disregard for His holiness.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the specter of death to the forefront of people’s minds. We try to deny or avoid that reality, but crises periodically make it intimidating. I believe we are not prepared to live until we are prepared to die. When we have a personal relationship with Christ, then we are prepared for both. Let us pray that out of this most unusual time will come a great revival where many people will come to know Christ, and the church will be a humble, righteous and true representative of Jesus.
Robert F. Russell is lead pastor at Celebration Church in Blountville.