“Christ makes free”: our motto for the year 2020

Freedom is a sublime and precious commodity! There is only one who can provide true freedom: Jesus Christ! “Christ makes free”––this is our motto for the year 2020. The Chief Apostle explains its content in his New Year’s message.

The New Year’s message, verbatim:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today marks the start of the new year. Hopefully, the last year was a good one! It is my hope that you may always find enough reasons to give thanks to our Lord and give Him the glory for all the benefits He has bestowed!

Together with all the Apostles, I wish you a blessed and peaceful new year. And here too, my wish applies: may it be a year of joy into which we can look with confidence!

It has become something of a tradition for me to publish a message for each new year. In accordance with the District Apostles I will do the same this year as well. Our motto for the year 2020 is: “Christ makes free!”

This motto derives from a Bible passage which we find in Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5: 1).

Liberty—this is a great and precious gift! We all know this. As children of God we know that this not only applies to our earthly existence. We make liberty in Christ our top priority. So what does it mean to be free in Christ?

I would like to answer this question as follows:

  • The triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is completely free from all constraints. For Him there are no boundaries, no restrictions, and no rules set by others. His love for mankind is unconditional. Neither an individual’s conduct nor any human imperfections have any influence on this.
  • As human beings, it is completely up to us to answer this love of God—or not. We can choose liberty. In order to be redeemed, we must follow Christ.
  • Christ makes us free! He desires to liberate us from sin, from evil, and from all afflictions.

Therefore our focus is on a completely different kind of freedom, namely the liberty of the soul. This is granted to us by God and is an expression of His love for us.

For the year 2020, I recommend that we concentrate on this spiritual dynamic: “Christ makes free!”

There is one thing that is especially important to me in this context.

Liberty in Christ is not an end unto itself, nor is it merely a token, nor is it anything we could have earned through our own merit. Liberty is a gift from God, which no one can earn. The Lord does not impose this upon us. But He does liberate those who desire to be liberated! Let us allow ourselves to be liberated by the Lord by surrendering ourselves completely to the activity of the Holy Spirit. He reminds us that we are God’s children. Because we know that the almighty God loves us, we can look to the future with confidence. Even in distress we trust in God. This liberates us from unnecessary worries about ourselves.

By remaining faithful to Christ, we decide over our future. Our desire is to be with Christ forever in the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Together with all the Apostles, I extend warm greetings to all of you, and wish you a good and blessed new year filled with confidence!

Photo: Oliver Rütten

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Peter Johanning
Chief Apostle, New Year's Day