As the 2014 Ebola outbreak spreads across Africa, and now across the world, fear of contracting the virus is spreading even faster than the disease itself. In the US, new fears have been sparked by the news that a healthcare worker--a nurse--at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has contracted the deadly virus from a patient, Thomas Duncan, a Liberian who brought the virus into the country last month when he came to the US to visit family.
What makes this case extra frightening is that the nurse seemed to have followed all the rules, adhering strictly to CDC protocol for prevention and protection. "On the surface," reports CNN, "the nurse seemed to have taken all the precautions needed to protect herself from Ebola." The operative words in that report are "on the surface." The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is scrambling to determine how and when the "obvious" breach in protocol could have occurred. From frightened citizens, to concerned relatives, to the CDC, and even the White House, everyone is asking, "How could this happen?"
The CDC promises to get to the bottom of it, but as blogger Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D. (chairman of Reduce Infection Deaths and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research) has put it, "It's hard to trust the CDC when there is no room for error."
No room for error. That is the precisely the daunting situation we all find ourselves in as we face the scourge of sin in our lives. Sin, like a deadly virus, threatens to kill us all. Yet, smugly, we don all our protective gear--our good works, our self justification, our denial--and we dare to stand in the presence of a holy God. We've convinced ourselves that we've followed the protocol to the nth degree. But in the end, the contagion of sin contaminates our very being.
It doesn't take much. a single "break in protocol" results in a sentence of death. The Apostle James declares, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" (James 2:10).
Protocol cannot save us. But just as survivors are sharing their blood in hopes of saving those stricken, Jesus blood, alone, is the vaccine that can inoculate us against the ravages of sin.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace …" (Ephesians 1:7, ESV). "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1, ESV).