Is the Bible relevant to answer questions like whether or not we should wear masks or get vaccines?

This was a question asked recently and here was my answer, I hope this is helpful to someone else out there!

For many things, the Bible does not attempt to provide specific answers to the questions that divide us. But Christians who read God’s Word become more devoted to Jesus and gain a deeper reliance on the Holy Spirit in us, so that our specific actions are done in faith. Actions done in faith are the kinds of actions that are most likely to be pleasing to God, and loving to each other. The most peaceful, loving and devoted of Christians are still not always going to agree with each other. Romans chapter 14 is all about what to do about that. In Romans 14 we are encouraged to love one another despite our differences. Sometimes this means keeping things to ourselves. “Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5) and “Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approvesSo whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” (Romans 14:22) And sometimes it means doing things we wouldn’t normally do, out of respect or concern. (Romans 14:1, 3, 13, 15, 18, 19) Many people, for example, are wondering if they should wear a mask today to protect themselves and others from a certain virus. One factor we of course have to keep in mind is whether or not refusing to wear a mask is civil disobedience. (See Romans 13) We do well to listen to our local pastors about such things, who God “gave” to “keep watch” over us. (Ephesians 5) In many situations though, regarding masks for example, the Bible doesn’t give us an answer of course. But there is a level of trust that develops by reading God’s Word that God actually does inhabit His people. All of us don’t get it right all of the time, but God gets it right every time, and He lives in us! As we focus on pleasing Jesus, we can better trust our decisions are from the Lord, because they can be done in faith and love. “Whatever doesn’t come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23) Conversely, we can deduce that whatever does come from faith and love is the closest we can come to knowing we are walking in the will of God. In some situations, walking in faith may look differently for some than others. It did in Romans 14. When I apply that answer to things that I personally feel are very obviously right or wrong, I can feel the tension and the dilemma, because those things seem very clear to me. However, even in those moments of disagreement, I can trust that those believers will have to give an account for their actions (Romans 14:12), and there is not much we can do besides share our convictions based on Scripture in a loving way, and pray for those who we disagree with in hopes that his Spirit will bring conviction. After all, that is what He does! Jesus told us what would happen on the day of Pentecost, when Ezekiel’s prophecy about our hearts of stone being made flesh would be fulfilled (Ezekiel 36), and God would write the law on our hearts. “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8) The Holy Spirit convicts. We don’t have to despair if we feel like God isn’t convicting fast enough. He knows what He is doing. We can speak truth in love, and pray, and trust He’s convicting the world just as fast as He pleases. “…it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13). “every healthy tree bears good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17). Praying and sharing the gospel with our world, to indirectly address a more specific problem, is not inaction! It’s great action. It’s the power of God! (Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 1).

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