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By Jim Nichols
Sidney Seventh-Day Adventist Church 

God's immunization plan

 


My wife and I just recently received our annual fall flu shot, and it got me to thinking about how the vaccine and immunization program has played an important role in avoiding many harmful diseases. I would like to use the vaccination process as a spiritual illustration of God’s plan of salvation.

As we all know, the Panhandle of Nebraska is well known for its cows and ranching. Who knew that cows would save the lives of countless people? In 1796, a physician named Edward Jenner decided to prove a theory that had been circulating for some time. Smallpox once killed millions of people worldwide. Cowpox was a less serious disease related to smallpox that milkmaids often caught through exposure to infected cows. Jenner noticed that milkmaids who contracted cowpox were later immune to smallpox. Jenner tested this theory when he took some infected cowpox matter and exposed an otherwise healthy boy through a cut in his arm. After the boy caught and recovered from cowpox, Jenner exposed him to smallpox via an injection. The boy remained healthy and the world’s first vaccine was born. The term “vacca,” Latin for cow, helped coin the term “vaccine” and gave credit or honor to the cow for its part in the discovery process. Did you know that the world’s last case of naturally occurring small pox was in 1977? The disease has since been eliminated to the extent that the vaccine is no longer given.

So what does all this talk about cows and vaccines have to do with God’s plan of salvation? It’s all in the details concerning the development of vaccines. When an actual disease infects a person, the antigens, or disease particles, multiply thousands and thousands of times until a raging infection is under way. All vaccinations work by presenting a foreign antigen, or disease particle, into the immune system in order to evoke an immune response by the body producing antibodies. The body stockpiles these antibodies for each type of disease so they are available to fight off and kill the specific antigens or disease, thus protecting us from exposure in the future. I believe God collaborated with Jesus to create a vaccine against the disease of sin. Someone needed to volunteer to suffer from the disease of sin, die the death of sin and become the donor immunogen or antibody, so God could save mankind from the disease. In other words, the cross experience on Mount Calvary was Jesus becoming the sin-bearer for our salvation, suffering the death of sin for all mankind, being resurrected back to life, and is presently, at the right hand of God, able to offer his salvation vaccine to all sinners.

We read about this vaccination process for our salvation in both the Old Testament and New Testament, sharing what Jesus did for us concerning this disease of sin. “But he (Christ Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). “For he (the father) hath made him (Christ Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:21) “For God (the father) so loved the world (you and me) that he gave his only-begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

When the disease of sin was introduced into mankind, there was no natural human immunization response, thus bringing death to every victim. Therefore, we all need to be vaccinated or immunized at some time in our life. We need to believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin, and receive him for a new life within. When Jesus is within us through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual antibody battle fights off and kills the spiritual antigens of sin, thus protecting us from temptation and future exposure. Conversion and baptism are the beginning of this immunization process, but sin is a disease for a lifetime, so we need spiritual booster shots from time to time. Until Jesus comes back and removes the disease of sin once and for all, we all need to keep God’s immunization plan up to date. This is your spiritual booster shot for today. Keep abiding in Jesus through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and may you continue to experience an abundant, healthy and purpose-filled life until Jesus comes again.

Pastor Jim Nichols

Sidney Seventh-Day

Adventist Church

 

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