Announcements that Covid 19 vaccines had been successfully tested, and had gained approval for public vaccination, were greeted with relief by almost everyone. The hard work and achievement of the many skilled and talented people involved has been rightly saluted and the UK’s vaccination programme is now proceeding. The use of vaccines has a proven track record of controlling and even of eradicating serious infectious diseases. Smallpox is a notable example. It was the first infectious disease to be fought on a global scale and in 1980 it was offcially declared to have been eradicated. It now seems clear that vaccination is the only means of preventing the Covid 19 pandemic continuing inde nitely with its problems and suffering. It is not intended to minimise the serious scale of such matters by pointing out that a still more grave issue faces mankind, and that is SIN, present in every human being, and universal in its baneful results. The Bible declares in the Old Testament, “For there is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccles. 7:20), and in the New Testament, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Many human solutions have been tried to deal with the problem of sin in individuals and in society and all have failed, whether religious, philosophical, or political.
SIN is not amenable to vaccination, simply because it is not a disease; it is a crime, its most serious aspect being that it is against God. The true nature of thecase is stated by the apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans, “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19). So individuals are personally guilty before God. David the king of Israel realised this, for though he had committed heinous sins directly a ecting at least three other people he wrote, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justi ed when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4). David acknowledged his transgression and sin. He admitted without any reserve that God was right and he was wrong. Would you be prepared to do so? But, admitting your guilt as a sinner, you may well go on to ask, “How can I ever be made right with God?” The Gospel proclaims the answer to that vital question. Paul, who so devastatingly asserts our guilt, declares the means of its removal, “Being justifed freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood” (Rom. 3:24-25). The word least familiar to you in the verse just quotedmay be “propitiation”. It means a ‘mercy seat’, namely the place where sinners can find undeserved mercy.
That place is Calvary where Jesus Christ was crucifed. There Christ shed His precious blood, the redemption price for sinners, so that God who is holy and in exibly righteous is just in forgiving sins and justifying sinners,cancelling the guilty charge, As Paul puts it, “That He might be just, and the justifer of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). It is a truly wonderful means of salvation. It is worthy of God!But note the word “faith” in Romans 3:25. While God has provided the means of salvation through Christ, to be saved it is essential that you believe. We ought to be immensely grateful that efective Covid 19 vaccines are being manufactured, but much more so that God in His grace offers salvation to all who believe. Freely to us, but at infinite cost to Himself! “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). JHB