Ebola has received more attention from many of us lately. This is due not only to the outbreak of this deadly virus in parts of Africa, but also because of increased fears of it spreading to our own country.
We’ve had two infected patients brought to a hospital right here in our own backyards for treatment. There is concern that in spite of the great precautions being taken to avoid it, this disease could become a pandemic infecting and killing a broad population.
We have reason to be concerned about such diseases which infect our bodies and can result in death. We reach out with hope when we hear of the possibility of medicines that seem to aid patients in their recovery from this awful malady.
Although we possess such great fears and hopes in connection with these diseases which infect our bodies, too many of us are indifferent when it comes to the pandemic affecting our souls. This malady is at the root of so many of the other major issues in our world.
We see outbreaks of it in the fighting going on around Jerusalem and Gaza. We see its bloody symptoms manifested in the humanitarian crisis in northern Iraq. We witness the outcroppings of this disease expressing itself in the situation in Ferguson, Mo.
But the signs of this spiritual malady aren’t just present in those stories which make the headlines. They show up on a daily basis in our own communities.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we can often see them breaking out in our own hearts, minds and behavior. We’ve all been infected. And we’re all facing the deadly consequences of that pandemic.
The Bible reports it this way: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12).
We’ve all been infected by a sinful, self-centered nature. And because of that, we not only have to face physical death, but we’re also dead spiritually, in the sense of lacking the vitality that comes from a right relationship with our Maker. This diseased condition manifests itself in such actions and attitudes as adultery, murder, hatred, dissensions, drunkenness and more (see Galatians 5:19).
However, the good news is there’s a treatment available for this serious disease. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Jesus has provided a remedy through His sacrifice on our behalf.
The problem is that too many people deny their sinful condition or refuse to receive the proper treatment. But “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
This spiritual disease is widespread and powerful. But the treatment Christ has provided is just as powerful and is available to all. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21).
So would faith in Christ resolve all these issues and conflicts in the world? Probably not. Just look at what goes on in most churches. Even among believers this ugly disease continues to raise its head and manifest itself as we let it.
But there’s hope and there’s a remedy if we’ll receive it. We don’t have to let sin reign. Through Christ we can be cleansed of sin and our lives can manifest His righteousness instead.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at email@example.com.