We have a Saviour
Passiontide is not a sad time. After all, Jesus paved the way into the kingdom of God for us with His sacrifice. What we still have to do to be able enter it, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider recently developed in a divine service.
The Bible text on 20 March in Söllingen (Germany) was from Galatians 1: 3–4: “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”
Passiontide is not a sad time, even if we reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus. “In fact, it gives us cause for gratitude,” the Chief Apostle said. “The suffering and death of Jesus Christ have proven how much God loves us.” At the same time, this period is also exhortation to take evil seriously.
The Saviour then…
The Bible text by Apostle Paul to the Galatians is a brief summary of the gospel. The Chief Apostle used a few words more to describe how God created man and how He expected him believe in His word and trust in Him. However, with the fall into sin evil came into the world. God, however, continued to love mankind and sent Jesus Christ to deliver them. Jesus was the man who corresponded to the will of God in every way, and that is why He was the first to be able to enter the kingdom of God and thus prepare the way for human beings to enter there.
“The question now is: what is the situation today?” This is how Chief Apostle Schneider introduced his interpretation of the Bible text for the present time. There are people today who do not want to hear anything about evil or who even believe that evil only comes to those who have done something wrong. However, all people suffer from evil as a consequence of the fall into sin. “Until something happens and you yourself are confronted with evil… There is a pandemic, there are wars, there is injustice, someone becomes ill, someone dies. And all of a sudden you realise: evil really does exist and it hits people at will.”
Relationships between people are disrupted. For evil is also in people. “Evil thoughts arise all the time, false reactions follow.” No one is perfect and can live in peace and harmony with his fellow human beings.
“So we need a Redeemer, someone who can save us,” the Chief Apostle concluded. “The beautiful thing is that we have help, we have the Saviour.” It is Jesus Christ, he said. He will lead the Christians into the kingdom of God.
The Chief Apostle explained how we can enter the kingdom of God.
- “To enter the kingdom of God we must believe and trust no matter what.”
- “We must be aware that we are dependent on God.”
- “We absolutely need God’s grace. Without His grace we cannot be saved.”
- “We need to seek fellowship with God constantly. There must be a constant connection with Him.”
- “And we want to love our neighbour as Jesus did.”
And the help at our disposal
Of course, God helps us.
- Holy Baptism: “Through baptism God delivered us from original sin and we now have access to God.”
- Holy Communion: “It strengthens our fellowship with God, and we can always experience Him again.”
- Holy Sealing: “Through Holy Sealing God has poured His love into our hearts so that we are able to love God and our neighbour.”
- Absolution: “God continually grants us forgiveness of sins because we are not perfect.”
- Proclamation of the word: “Through the word and preaching He strengthens our faith and our trust.”
“This is the message that we should pass on,” Chief Apostle Schneider said, urging the congregation to spread the gospel. “There is little point in preaching. Let us simply be examples. Precisely now, in the current situation, our behaviour is important.” Just as Jesus Christ set an example for us, Christians should set an example today in their faith and trust in God.
The Chief Apostle’s concluding words were: “We love God and we love our neighbour, come what may. This is the strongest message we can send. And this is how we can get people’s attention: there is a Saviour, and He is also there for you.”