How becoming perfect works

It sounds like a paradox: only those who are perfect can enter the kingdom of God. Yet no human is perfect. The Chief Apostle explained in a recent service how Jesus solves this.

On Tuesday, 17 August 2021 Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider visited the congregation in Nairobi in Kenya. At the beginning of the divine service, he read Mark 10: 26–27 to the congregation: “And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.’”

This event taken from the story of the rich young man shows one thing: those who are concerned about their earthly wealth only will not enter the kingdom of God. The Chief Apostle showed what else this story teaches us: “In the eyes of devout Jews, material wealth was a blessing from God: if you keep the commandments, God will be pleased. He will bless you, and you will be rich.” But it is not that simple. We cannot earn God’s blessing or His kingdom by doing good works; we have to be perfect. The disciples understood this, yet they also knew that no one was perfect. That is why they were astonished and asked Jesus: “Who can then be saved?” The Chief Apostle gave the answer: “To be saved we must have a perfect faith. We must believe in Jesus Christ, in His sacrifice, in His teaching, and trust Him in everything. This is the key to salvation.”

Being completely without sin

“In order to enter the kingdom of God we need to be without sin,” the Chief Apostle noted and immediately went on to make clear that this is impossible for a human being. For God, however, it is possible. He can bestow His grace. The sinner must believe and repent. “Our repentance must be sincere, our will to fight against sin must be strong, and we must make an effort to repair the damage we have caused, and be reconciled,” he pointed out.

Perfect forgiveness

“Our forgiveness must also be perfect,” said Chief Apostle Schneider. This is difficult from a human perspective, but possible with God. It is particularly difficult for those who are victims of terrible crimes. It can take a very long time for someone in such circumstances to be able to forgive. “And for these victims the question arises: what if the Lord comes before I have been able to forgive?” The Chief Apostle is certain: “God is just, He considers the effort, not the results. I am absolutely convinced that God will be gracious such a soul struggles and yea to be able to forgive.rns to be able to forgive.”

Being perfectly one

“Jesus wants His people to be one, as He and the Father are one. And I tell you if that is the condition to be saved, then it will be quite impossible for us to be saved.” God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit always agree in all matters. For us human beings this is just impossible. But it is possible for us to be united with Christ and in Christ “because we agree that the teaching of Christ is the truth, that His thoughts are the right thoughts, and the best way is to follow Christ and do His will”.

Trusting Him completely

“Remember the story of the scouts sent out by the people of Israel to spy out the promised land. Twelve were sent out and ten came back and said, it’s just impossible: ‘These people are so strong and so tall that we cannot possibly defeat them.’” However, two trusted God and were right. Today too, many people say that the teaching is outdated or that God’s servants are not perfect. But God says: “Leave it to Me. I will stick to My teaching, and I can be strong through weak servants.” The Chief Apostle appealed to the congregation: “With man this is impossible, but not with God; we too, brothers and sisters, trust in Jesus Christ. We do not ask Him to adapt or modernise His teaching, to abolish one commandment and modify another one. We accept that He serves us through imperfect servants.”

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Katrin Löwen
Kenya, Chief Apostle, Divine service