The coronavirus disease has starkly reminded us of the fragility of life. One little microscopic parasite is all it takes to bring suffering and death to many all over the world. Yet, the coronavirus is but one threat to human life. Let us not forget that ageing, accidents, cancers, and a myriad of other diseases and tragedies also threaten to end our lives. Ultimately, death is not a matter of if, but when and how. For everyone who is spared from the coronavirus will eventually succumb to death in another way. As Eccl 3:20 reminds us, “All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.”
Since death is certain, our greatest concern then should not be to delay the inevitable, but to ensure that what comes after death is favourable for us. Many in this world do not believe that there is something favourable after death. That is why they so desperately try to protect what they have now, because they suppose this earthly life to be all that they have.
Yet we should know better. For the Scriptures teach that physical death is but a transition to two contrasting destinies — eternal life or everlasting judgement (Dan 12:2; Jn 5:28–29). Eternal life consists of reigning forever with Christ when He returns to establish God’s imperishable kingdom (Dan 7:13–14, 18), while everlasting judgement consists of eternal punishment away from the presence of God (Matt 25:46; 2 Thess 1:9).
Consequently, what really matters is that we have a place in Christ’s eternal kingdom (2 Pet 1:11). Indeed, overcoming the coronavirus will be of little import if we are not saved in Christ. Yet none of us should presume to be saved simply because we profess to be Christians. For Jesus warns that even professing Christians can be denied entrance into God’s heavenly kingdom if we only say but not do the will of God (Matt 7:21–23). Similarly, James warns that “faith apart from works is dead” and unable to save (Jas 2:14, 26). Even Paul, who so often emphasises faith as the means to salvation (Eph 2:8), likewise stresses that the only thing that counts in Christ is “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6). For while good works do not save us, they are necessary evidence of genuine saving faith in Christ.
As such, we must “make every effort to supplement [our] faith” with godly qualities that “confirm [our] calling and election” (2 Pet 1:5–10). This need to pursue godliness as confirmation of salvation is even greater during this period of coronavirus, when life is shown to be especially fragile. For death can come unexpectedly and suddenly, and it will be too late then to realise that we lack saving faith.
Therefore, let us not wait but make every effort now to confirm our salvation through godly Christian living. Practically, this means that in our daily activities, we must be conscientious about increasing in moral excellence, knowledge of God, self-control from sin, and brotherly love for one another (2 Pet 1:5–8). Even as we are conscientiously observing all the “circuit breaker” measures during this period of coronavirus, we must be all the more diligent in pursuing godliness. For the confirmation of salvation remains our greatest concern today. The coronavirus situation does not change that. It only amplifies the need to confirm our salvation now in light of the fact that life is so fragile.