Salvation, the jackpot in heaven

A good product that costs nothing? Unthinkable in a free market economy. But this is exactly what God offers: His salvation. It cannot be bought, it is a gift. This is what the New Apostolic services in March will be about.

On the first Sunday in March, New Apostolic Christians traditionally celebrate their divine service for the departed. For most congregations this is a service of remembrance: people remember those who have died. Many congregations offer a devotional the evening before, in which they remember the deceased—for example, people they knew in the neighbourhood or those who, for whatever reason, lost their lives in a tragic way. There where Apostles conduct divine services, they administer the sacraments of the Church on believers both here on earth and in the beyond.

What exactly is salvation?

Salvation is the opposite of destruction. Salvation signifies health, happiness, and mercy. In the Christian context, we find terms such as deliverance, protection, and redemption in the Bible. According to Christian faith, salvation is in Jesus Christ. “This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world,” the Samaritans said, who were rather despised (John 4: 42). And in Acts it says that there is no salvation in any other than Christ.

To follow Him, to trust Him, to believe in His death and His resurrection are the prerequisites for divine salvation. Human beings must believe—nothing more. The offer of salvation is addressed to all human beings, regardless of their origin, intelligence, or social status. Everybody can receive access to the salvation of God. All they have to do is acknowledge their own need and implore God for salvation.

Faith and sacrament

They go hand in hand: faith and sacrament. Both are fundamentally important for salvation. Both clear the way to redemption. Without believing in the significance of the sacraments, the effect of salvation associated with them cannot unfold.

Such faith is more than simply going to church regularly. That is not enough. It is not about coming, it is all about believing! Faith must be alive and deeply rooted in Christ, and then it will bear in it the seeds of good works.

Keeping the connection

What is life? For many it is far from a luxury cruise. A mad rush, dependence, illness—these are terrible scourges of humanity. Instead of honour and wealth, there are difficulties and poverty. And even those on the sunny side of life have every reason to consciously remember that without divine salvation the last happiness in life is missing. Life that only has eyes for that which is transitory—for material and earthly things—lacks the connection with God the Creator and preserver of life.

Therefore, whoever wants to attain eternal life strives for fellowship with God. To use the words of Luke: “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock” (Luke 6: 47–48). Man will not win the world, life has no purchase price. The jackpot is in heaven.

Suffering and triumphing

This is followed by the Passiontide. The last Sunday in March marks the beginning of the period before Easter in the religious calendar. The focus is on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. He, the Son of God, followed the path that led to the cross, inquired about the will of God, and accomplished it.

And in a similar way, this also applies to Christians today: despite all their weaknesses, they must follow the Lord, inquire after the will of God, and act in accordance with it. And, not least, it is part of the Christian mission to intercede for others and point them to the path that leads to salvation.

Photo: anyaberkut

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Peter Johanning
Divine service