GOD’S PERFECT PLAN
The best thing about not planning for a situation is that failure comes as a complete surprise. This outcome is unexpected and is not preceded by the stress and work associated with developing and complying with a plan. Like them or not, we all benefit from plans.
We need plans for building evacuation. Ships need plans for loading cargo, for the route between two ports and for responding to emergencies. Plans are required for dealing with the threat associated with SARS-Cov-2. A plan was also required for dealing with the threat associated with sin. Governments have implemented plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19. God has put into place His perfect plan to save us from sin.
Those of us who have started to attend Sunday morning church services over the last few weeks will have noticed that there are some significant differences to the way we do church. These differences start at the door, where we are now required to have our attendance registered along with our contact details. We are required to stay at home if we are unwell, be vigilant with hand washing, apply new sneeze and cough etiquette, maintain social distancing with people who are not a part of our household and to comply with measures that ensure we do not exceed maximum numbers within indoor spaces. These measures are similar to those that are encountered in any business setting. They have been developed in order to meet the requirements for COVID-19 Safety planning that is required by WorkSafe Tasmania. These plans are informed by experts in their field, developed to suit the environment they will be applied in and are communicated to those affected.
WITH SAFETY COMES COMPLACENCY
The aim of these COVID-19 Safety plans is to minimise the likelihood of harm to individuals and to the larger community associated with on outbreak of COVID-19 arising from a large indoor gathering. The good news is that these plans have proven to be effective here in Tasmania. I believe this is a result of community support and answered prayer. However, with safety comes a degree of complacency. This week I watched a significant number of people entering retail stores who walked past the hand sanitising stations without using them. I also see people regularly disregard the 1.5 metre social distancing requirements. A delivery driver I know was verbally abused by staff at a childcare centre for wearing a face-mask and gloves (company policy) while making a delivery in Launceston. He was rudely accused of being ignorant, as the slogan “There is no COVID-19 in Tasmania!” was shouted at him.
PARALLELS IN HUMAN BEHAVIOUR
COVID-19 Safety plans have been mandated by our State Government to protect the vulnerable within our community from a scientifically identified threat to our well-being. However, a combination of restriction fatigue, no recent community transmission (perceived safety), past habits and wilful disregard for these plans all contribute to non-compliance, which in other states has resulted in community spread of the virus. We see a similar pattern of human behaviour in our relationship with our Creator repeated frequently in scripture where we see many examples of people deviating from the plan that God had put into place for their lives.
GOD’s SIN SAFETY PLAN
Sin is something that every person alive today is already infected with.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned-
There is no way we can avoid it. There is no vaccination that can prevent it from affecting us. The good news is that the perfect plan that God has put into place is designed to help us to live well, even with sin’s presence in our lives. God’s Sin Safe plan provides the means for our salvation so that we can escape the consequences of our sinful nature. Jesus provided us with the cure when He took on, and endured our punishment on the cross.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
God’s Sin Safe plan also provides us with guidance on how to live and on how to relate to others. Romans 12:9-21 is a classic example of this advice. Please take a moment to read this passage when you get the opportunity. It is a beautiful reminder of God’s plan for our relationships in a troubled world.
God’s Sin Safe plan also contains numerous case studies. It informs us of our propensity to drift away from His plan for our lives. In the book of Judges we see the cycle of people doing what was right in their own eyes. People doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord. People getting into no end of trouble, who then cry out to God for forgiveness and for rescue. Each of these cycles preceded a period of relative peace that led to complacency and the re-emergence of human wilfulness and pride. Periods of peace and safety are risky times for our relationship with God. If we become complacent and take our eyes off God and His plans for our lives, we may stumble over any number of obstacles.
It has often been stated that the Bible can be likened to a map that shows us the location and nature of the land-mines that are present in the minefield of life.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Second Timothy 3:16
While virus infections can be dangerous, the dangers posed by sin are far greater. The consequences of sin destroy well-being for us and for others in this life, but are also eternal. God’s plan is not about control and domination. It is based on His love for each of us and His desire for us to come into relationship with Him. It is a plan that is full of grace and one that helps to reduce the effect of sin in our lives as we learn to respond to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
ARE WE READY FOR AN AUDIT?
Any Tasmanian organisation that is allowed to be open must have a COVID-19 Safety plan which is subject to audits from WorkSafe Tasmania. The audit is to ensure that the plan is appropriate, communicated well and is being complied with. I believe it is important and valuable for each of us to undertake a self-audit with respect our understanding and our role within God’s Perfect Sin Safety plan.
However, for that to happen, we need to be ready. We need to be familiar with God’s Perfect Sin Safety plan. It is a beautiful plan and one that provides wise guidance and one that clearly shows His love for each of us.
Your Executive Pastor,
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