The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has declared: “Endemic measles has been eliminated from the Americas.” Becoming measles free is an “extraordinary milestone,” according to Carissa Etienne, the director of PAHO. A region is considered to be free of a disease when there have been no reported cases within 3 years.
So the good news is: the Americas are considered “disease free” of measles. After three years of intense efforts and no news of measles, we have greater than 95% eradication. The bad news is: we have to remain vigilant against…you guessed it… more measles.
Wait, what? That doesn’t seem to make sense. If we have eliminated the problem, if vaccinations have worked, then why remain vigilant? Because, according to Susan Reef of the CDC, a new batch of measles is “just a plane ride away” from being reintroduced into the population. You see, even when you wipe out a disease, you have to remain vigilant against resurgence.
The Bible teaches us that our salvation includes a similar principle. Jesus died for our sins (Romans 4:25). He paid the price once and for all (1 Peter 3:18). His sacrifice is sufficient and there is not another one coming (Hebrews 10:25).
But that isn’t the end of the story. We have to remain vigilant. Just as God told Cain, “if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7).
When baptized, we are buried into the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:4). We receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). We receive the forgiveness of sin (Acts 22:16). His blood sufficiently eradicates the consequences of our sins.
But that isn’t the end. Baptism is a necessity, but baptism is only a beginning. We must continue to “walk in the light” that we might continue to be purified “from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Unfortunately, we lack perfect vigilance. But if we remain in Him, He is “faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). One day, in Heaven, where there is no more death, pain, or sin, we will truly say: “eradicated”…forever.