With every fibre of our being
Merely believing in Jesus will not do, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider says, and explains what effects faith can and should have.
On his trip to Africa in June the Chief Apostle visited the congregation in Thika (Kenya), located just a little north-east of Nairobi. The divine service he celebrated there on Friday, 30 June 2017, was attended by 4,300 brothers an sisters. He based his sermon on Psalm 118: 19: “Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, and I will praise the Lord.”
Here the psalmist describes pilgrims who come to Jerusalem and ask the priests to open the gates of the temple for them, the Chief Apostle explained. According to Old Testament teaching, anyone who behaved the right way towards God was righteous: in other words, those who had no other gods but Him, who obeyed His law, and honoured Him with praise and sacrifices.
“This is a wonderful image for the kingdom of God,” Chief Apostle Schneider said. Access to this kingdom is also gained via these gates of righteousness, but the believer has to be made righteous through God. No one can achieve this righteousness on his own. That is why God sent His Son on earth. Faith in Jesus Christ makes this righteousness possible. But, the Chief Apostle admonished, “This faith must produce works, and one must be able to see these works,” and mentioned five examples.
Obedience. To believe in Jesus Christ is to conform to His gospel. “This means that we are honest in daily life, speak the truth, and fight against sin,” the Chief Apostle said. It also means, however, that we do not only believe in baptism and Holy Communion, but are actually reborn out of water and Spirit and receive Holy Communion regularly.
Humbleness. To believe in Jesus Christ means believing that He had to give His life as a sacrifice for us. We need the forgiveness of our sins, and because it is so important for us we are also prepared to forgive our neighbour. The Chief Apostle added: “Just to make it clear: pray for the grace of the Lord until the end.”
Trust. To believe in Jesus Christ means to trust Him. “Let us not ask Jesus to prove His love to us every day and every week anew. He proved His love when He died for us.” This awareness helps our trust in God to develop, even if we do not always understand the will of God, the Chief Apostle said.
Patience. To believe in Jesus also means to persevere until His return. “Jesus said He will come. And He will come! I am waiting for Jesus, and He is waiting for me.”
Gratitude. To believe in Jesus includes thankfulness and the willingness to sacrifice. In spite of unfulfilled wishes and all the things we do not have there is another list in our hearts of all the things we have received through Jesus Christ: the means He puts at our disposal, His love, His salvation, His sanctification.
Faith in Jesus Christ affects every fibre of our being. This is how it should be, and others should also be able to notice these effects.