I have been considering this matter with regard to the vaccination debate. Everyone needs to make their own decision, weighing their own circumstances regardless of government, society, or peer pressure.
But what concerns me is Christians making a blind decision to just "trust God." Someone recently said, "God gave me an immune system, so I’m trusting God to keep me safe."
That statement made me stop and think. Are they trusting God or are they putting God to the test?
Claiming God’s promises
There are many promises in the Bible, and we can always trust the Lord to keep them.
But we cannot force God's hand concerning His promises. If we try, we are no longer trusting Him but are putting Him to the test. This was the situation where the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" (Matthew chapter 4 verses 5-7 - Note: "tempt" in Greek is also "test.")
The devil tried to force Jesus to "claim God’s promises" to force God to save Jesus if He jumped off the temple. That is testing God, not trusting Him.
Some ministries today use those same words, telling people to "claim God’s promises." We cannot force God to do anything, and to try to do so is not trust but a fanatical testing of God, and He will NOT be tested by anyone.
Trusting God’s promises
However, if a Christian is in danger, then the Lord does keep His promise to save them. This happened to a friend of mine who accidentally fell from a two-storey roof. He was injured, and by all accounts should have died. But God spared his life.
Consider this also:
“…these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents,…" (Mark chapter 16 verses 17-18)
We don’t look for deadly serpents to pick them up, but if we accidentally come upon a snake and are bitten, then the Lord's promise holds. This happened to my wife some years ago when she was bitten by a deadly Dugite snake while camping. She was unharmed apart from the two bite marks. The doctor said it was a "dry strike" where no venom was injected. The same happened to the Apostle Paul when bitten by a deadly viper while collecting firewood, (seeActs chapter 28 verses 1-6).
In both cases they were not fanatically "claiming" the promises, but the Lord exercised His promise to protect them because they trusted in Him.
Testing the Lord over non-promises
Some people think they are trusting God when they are actually putting Him to the test. They are trusting Him to do something He has NOT promised. God is not going to honour a promise He never made.
Consider some of the false doctrines in various churches today, like the “prosperity gospel” doctrine that suggests believers should be wealthy.
Nowhere does God promise material wealth. In fact, there are many scriptures suggesting wealth will hinder our walk with Christ and should be avoided.
The prosperity gospel is not based upon the promises of God, so why should God honour it?
To put it simply, He won't. Nor will He honour any of the other "promises" based upon false teachings.
The COVID question for Christians
Coming back to the question about vaccination against COVID, God did not promise perfect health for anyone, at least not in this age.
To say, "God gave me an immune system," and trust that God will prevent a person getting COVID is foolishness. Some Christians have refused the vaccination, contracted the disease, and died. It was not because God failed to keep His promise that they died, because He never made the promise of perfect health in the first place!
What does scripture say?
We are instructed to listen to and obey the authorities, because ALL authorities are appointed by God. (Romans chapter 13 verses 1-7). This includes medical authorities.
Furthermore, Jesus showed there is a place for seeing doctors and physicians:
"But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." (Matthew chapter 9 verse 12)
In these words, Jesus is saying that if you are sick, go and see a doctor. He has provided them with insight and given them authority to treat illnesses. We should use the resources provided by God for our good.
The final analysis
It is every Christian’s right to decide for themselves whether to be vaccinated or not. But my caution here, is to ensure that decision is being made for the right reasons. NEVER put the Lord to the test but learn how to trust God without testing Him.
God will honour His promises when we trust Him, but not if we try to "claim" a promise to force His hand. And He will NOT honour a promise that He never made. Be careful and choose wisely!
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his website: freegiftfromgod.com/ or listen to his podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-free-gift-from-god-podcast/id1440682375