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Question #402

What about immunizations and vaccinations?

I was wondering what your beliefs were on Immunizations and vaccinations.

The Answer:

Obviously this is a question that is not addressed directly in scripture. However, that does not mean that the bible does not contain information from which one can reach a conclusion.

Next, Luke was a physician. While the medical procedures in his day were not those now available, there is no reason to assume that Luke did not use the procedures that were available to him. There is no record that Luke was either condemned or criticized for practicing medicine.

Finally, although not a physician, Paul prescribed what may have been a medical procedure for his day. "Be no longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities" (1 Timothy 5:23). Even if it was not a recognized medical procedure it was at least a "home remedy."

Finally (and it actually came first), recall that god created the world as a habitat for man (Isa. 45:18). He made man to dwell upon the fact of the earth and determined the bounds of his habitation (Acts 17:24-26). Man has not "invented" a single medical remedy. It took man centuries to discover the remedies that God placed in the original creation. It can be said that man discovered methods of using the remedies that God created, but even those methods had to follow the principles that God created to govern man's habitation, e.g., physics and calculus. If God created what we call medical remedies, and if the medical remedies of Biblical times were used without criticism, must less condemnation, does it not follow that God's medical remedies can be used today, including immunizations and vaccinations.

It is true that God did not create man to live forever on the earth as it now is. Even Methuselah died. In the Psalmist's day longevity was placed at 70-80 years: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away (Psalm 90:10). In New Testament days the Hebrew writer reminded us that man has an appointment with death (Heb. 9:27). It cannot be argued that man should not seek to prolong life because God has declared its length. Which length that God prescribed or permitted is binding? If it was God's intention to prescribe a certain and particular length, why do infants die and others die at all ages along the road of life? Why did God create remedies that, if discovered, would prolong man's days? Clearly it was not God's purpose to set a limit that would guarantee either limitation or expectation. Whatever length of days man has, God's expectation is: "14Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:14-17).

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)