Working along on our salvation
It has been twelve years since the last visit of a Chief Apostle to the Central African Republic. There was a lot of excitement and joy both in the congregations and on the part of the Chief Apostle that he was able to conduct a divine service in Bangui, the national capital, on Palm Sunday.
The divine service on Sunday, 14 April 2019, was broadcast on national radio and television. Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider urged the large congregation that had gathered to grasp the salvation that Jesus Christ offers without hesitating. “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes’” (Luke 19: 41–42).
The Chief Apostle looked back and said that when Jesus entered Jerusalem the people cheered and celebrated Him as the Messiah, although not without concrete ulterior motives. The people expected Him to perform earthly miracles and to deliver them from the yoke of the Romans, who were oppressing them. The people were too focused on their own prosperity. “Their true enemy was not Rome, but evil, which was keeping them prisoner,” the Chief Apostle said.
What do you expect from the Lord?
The important question—and this is what the Chief Apostle focused on in his sermon—is the congregation’s attitude to Jesus today. “God will not save us simply because we gather regularly to worship Him and to pray to Him. Our hearts’ attitude must correspond to God’s expectations,” he said. This means that we must not only concentrate on our earthly prosperity, but on the eternal riches which God wants to offer us.
Nor should we expect God to punish His “enemies”. “Jesus’ goal is to deliver us from the grip of the evil one and to help us to drive it out of our hearts.” For him, the Chief Apostle said, it is clear that Jesus wants to give mankind His salvation. It cannot be bought by keeping the divine commandments or doing good works and offering!
What makes for peace?
Mankind should much rather seek those things that make for peace, the things that are indispensable in view of eternal salvation. These include
- faith in Jesus Christ. “We must believe in the incarnation of the Son of God, His sacrifice, His resurrection, and His return.” This has certain consequences, the Chief Apostle said. “Believing in Him means trusting Him, even when we have trials to go through. Believing in Him also means walking the path He has shown us.”
- repentance. “In order to attain the forgiveness of sins and the peace of the Risen One, we must acknowledge our sins, regret them, and be determined to fight against evil.”
- inner renewal. “In order to have access to the kingdom of God, we must work on ourselves and assimilate the nature of Christ. In other words, we must learn to forgive, to love, and to serve as He did.”
For today’s believers it is important that we work along on our salvation so that Christ can deliver us from evil and let us enter into His kingdom.