How is God chastening us during this time of the plague of COVID-19?

These are days of great spiritual lessons that we must soberly consider. It is amazing that this plague is worldwide. God is punishing the world for its ungodliness. What is the great sin of this world for which it is being so severely judged? The trouble with much of modern- day Christianity is that it does not even know what sin is any more. What is the greatest evil of this world? It is its ungodliness. This alone makes this world worthy of the just and holy judgment of God. Knowing God, the world does not acknowledge God, neither is thankful to God. Because of this, the wrath of God has come and continues to be poured out on this ungodly world (Rom. 1:18ff.). God will not allow this world to go without punishment.

COVID-19 is a sign of this wrath of God. Ungodliness is a very serious evil in the sight of God. No amount of so-called humanitarianism or human goodness is going to make up for the great wickedness of this world. The education, culture, and modernity of this ungodly world will not allow this world to escape. God is angry with the world because it openly and brazenly lives as if there were no God. God is angry with this world because of its pride, lawlessness, and covetousness (which the Word of God calls idolatry). God is angry with the world because of its adultery and fornication. God is angry with the world because of its destruction of God’s holy institution of marriage. God is angry with the materialism of the world and all its boasting in riches. These sins and many more make the world worthy of God’s judgment. If the world does not repent of these great and terrible sins, it will finally be destroyed in the great day of God’s judgment. Even before the final judgment that will come upon this world, there are already now signs of His coming judgment. The wrath of God is already being poured out upon all of the ungodliness of this world. COVID-19 is a sign of the fierce and holy wrath that is being poured out on this ungodly world, a wrath that will lead to its eternal destruction.

With the same events by which God judges the ungodly world He also chastens His people. We are all in need of this chastisement. It is not true that those who are children of God will not be afflicted with the plague that is ravaging the whole world. This is a false teaching promoted by some churches in our land. Christians will suffer the judgments of God coming on this world. Some of us may even die because of COVID-19. There is a great difference between the judgment of the ungodly world and the chastisement of His beloved church. Judgment is for the destruction of this ungodly world. God chastens His people in love as our heavenly Father for our correction and salvation. “Whom the Father loveth he chasteneth” (Heb. 12:5, 6). Chastisement is often very painful. But it will not continue forever; it is but for a short time. Chastisement will serve for our eternal good and salvation. Therefore, we must submit to the Lord’s chastening and be humbly ready to be corrected by it. We must believe in God’s loving purpose in chastisement and learn the spiritual lessons God is teaching us by His chastisement. We fear and tremble before God’s work in the world.

What are the spiritual lessons God is teaching us through the chastisement of COVID-19? God is teaching us that we must not glory in material things. We must not make material things the idols of our lives and let the pursuit of them consume all our time and energies. This is an insult to God who alone deserves our worship and service of thanksgiving. The things of this world will soon all pass away. They will not endure forever. Naked came we into this world and it is sure that we can take nothing with us out of this world (Job 1:21). If because of COVID-19 we lose our material things, perhaps our jobs and material possessions, we must not fear. God is teaching us by this plague to be ready to let go of the things of this world. If it is God’s will that we lose even our lives, we need not fear nor despair but rather trust in God and glory in Him who is the hope of our salvation. God has prepared for us an eternal inheritance in heaven after we leave this present world. So many passages of Scripture admonish us not to glory in riches. We must be delivered from the evil and foolishness of covetousness so that our hearts may be set on the eternal and glorious inheritance that Christ Jesus has prepared for us through His death on the cross and by His resurrection and exaltation.

We must not have an unholy fear about COVID-19. We must believe that our crucified and risen Savior is now exalted at the right hand of God. He is ruling over all things. Even the judgments that come upon this ungodly world are under His control. They cannot and will not hurt and destroy God’s children. Christ rules over all these judgments for the realization of His kingdom and for our great good and salvation. The events of this world should not disturb us and cause us to be afraid. We must trust in and hope in our Lord now enthroned in the heavens and coming in glory for our final salvation.

When we experience God’s judgments on the world, we must hear His call to be separate from this world and live holy lives in devotion and consecration to God, so that we are not partakers of the judgments that He sends on this ungodly world for all its wickedness. The book of Revelation speaks of the plagues that God will send upon the earth before the end of this world. COVID-19 is very clearly one of these plagues. This should be obvious to all of us.

Our response to COVID-19 should be that we lift up our hearts, for our redemption is drawing ever nearer, nearer even than when we first believed (Rom. 13:11). God is chastening us as His people to teach us to be more eager and zealous in looking for the coming of the Lord. The Bible repeatedly exhorts us to do this. The Lord will not tarry forever. Rejoice with hope and longing for the blessed, glorious coming of our God and Savior for the final salvation of His church.

Could this blessed and glorious event take place even in our own lifetime, even before we close our eyes in death? Let us pray together with the true church of Jesus Christ: Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.