“The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (Prov 16:4). We are living in an evil day indeed. Evil men abound, and evil must be punished. To show His righteous and just anger against evil, the Lord may choose to send or permit evil, ie setbacks and sufferings through disasters or catastrophes whether natural or man-made. The current pandemic may be seen as one.
Nothing in this world or in our lives happens by luck or chance. The living and true God sits on His throne in heaven and He rules over all. More often than not, the Lord is longsuffering and slow to punish evil because His desire is for sinners to repent and return to Him for salvation. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have nopleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek 33:11).
But when His gospel call, His patience and kindness are met with indifference or a deaf ear, He acts to make Himself heard. This is also a gracious act on His part for it serves as a wake-up call for us to get right with God quickly. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet 3:9).
Do we still lust after sinful pleasures and worldly treasures? The world is driven by the worship of money and this love of money is self-destructive. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
For us as Christians, how should we live? 1 Timothy 6:11–12 says, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
Let us pray for God’s mercy on this sin-plagued and sin-cursed world that man would learn to fear God and seek His favour, even the Lord Jesus Christ who is the only Saviour of the world—“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).
Let us pray for God’s grace in our lives to be good witnesses for Him—“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil 2:15).
A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Prof Paul Ananth Tambyah, a Christian and an expert on infectious diseases, exhorts on how to deal with COVID-19.
We Live in a Fallen World but There Is Good News
“We should not be too surprised by such a crisis, which is first and foremost a reminder that we all live in a fallen world. This is yet another manifestation of the disease which affects the entire human race.”
“But there is Good News for a fallen world of death, disease, sadness and grief: God came into this world to take all that sin and suffering on Himself so that we would know there is One who walks beside us – the One who died and was resurrected.”
We Have Faith in God Which Overcomes Fear
“There seems to be an epidemic of fear that is far greater than the actual epidemic of disease. This is understandable as we hear stories of thousands of people infected in China and numerous cases popping up even in Singapore which we had always assumed would be a safe sanctuary.”
“As Christians, I don’t think we are immune from fear by any means, but we can face these fears confident in the reassurance that we have a resurrected Saviour by our side. Faith in God’s promise of eternal life with Him in heaven is the key to overcoming our real fear.”
We Pray for All and Persevere by His Grace
“We prayed then and we pray now that all healthcare workers, Christian and non-Christian alike, will have the courage to persevere despite the difficulties and disappointments.”
“We also pray for grace to share the goodness we have received, especially with the marginalised populations in our city, like transient and domestic workers.”
“It will be a tough few weeks and months, but we can take heart that by the grace of God, this too shall pass.”
THE AUTHENTICITY OF 1 JOHN 5:7
In Defense of the Authenticity of 1 John 5:7 is authored by CH Pappas and published by Westbow Press in 2017.
In this book, the author gives reasons for regarding 1 John 5:7 or the Johannine Comma as a true part of the Word of God in Scripture. 1 John 5:7 reads, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
CH Pappas is of Greek origin and thus speaks the very language of the New Testament. Raised and baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church, he was saved at the age of 26 when his 5-year old son brought his attention to John 3:16. Soon after, he received the call to serve God full-time. He studied at Luther Rice Seminary and earned his Master of Theology degree. He is pastor of Collins Road Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida which subscribes to the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689).
In his book, Pappas writes on the importance of “earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). If the Word of God is to be the supreme authority over the lives of the redeemed ones, it must be perfect and exact as God meant it to be. Christians have “a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Pet 1:19). 1 John 5:7 as Scripture is supported by undeniable facts, both external and internal. Pappas shows how the Greek syntax argues for the inclusion of the verse.
Pappas also shows why it is important not to neglect the theological aspect in its defence. Critics with their own ‘intelligent’ rules of handling the Scriptures show how much disregard they have for God’s Word. God’s Word is to be handled God’s way. And if we are to approach His Holy Book, we must do so according to His rules with much reverence and carefulness, always keeping in mind the glory of God. 1 John 5:7 glorifies the Triune God.
Pappas shows how the witness of the Church towards the Johannine Comma is very strong. The Church as a whole has strongly embraced and even defended the Trinity against those who deny it. The church fathers quoted 1 John 5:7. At the same time we find it in many ancient translations of the Bible.
This is a good book for those who are seeking the truth concerning the authenticity of 1 John 5:7. [Reviewed by Theya Lagapa]
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