A divine service to still our hunger and thirst

God can satisfy those who hunger and thirst for His justice. But He does not always do this in the way one would wish. The righteousness of God and how to obtain it was the subject of a recent divine service by the Chief Apostle.

During his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and District Apostle Michael Deppner’s working area, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider also visited the brothers and sisters in Mbandaka. He conducted a divine service there on Friday, 8 July, and based it on Matthew 5: 6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

The righteousness of God

“God does not differentiate between His children. He loves you all the same, and He has decided to give each of us everything He has.” The Chief Apostle’s words certainly sound comforting, but they also raise questions. Is this fair? Shouldn’t the sinners be punished and those who keep the commandments receive a reward? “Those who expect God to punish the wicked will be disappointed,” said the Chief Apostle. “This is not what He wants. God wants to save them.”

The righteousness of God is different. The Chief Apostle reminded the congregation of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20: 1–16). In the parable Jesus explained that those who had worked for only one hour received the same pay as those who had worked all day. “That is not fair! I guarantee you that if a company boss did that in France, there would be a revolution in the company.” But “Jesus speaks of a different kind of justice.”

The example of Jesus

Those who adopt the right attitude towards God are just. Like Jesus. “Jesus Christ is the Righteous One, because He did the will of God in all things,” the Chief Apostle explained. “So those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, that is, those who want to please God, will follow Jesus’ example and do what He did.”

Jesus was righteous because

  • He believed in His Father and trusted Him. “Even when He did not understand Him, He said, ‘No, He is My father, I trust Him.’”
  • He fulfilled the law of God. “He loved God with all His heart, with all of His being.”
  • He loved His neighbour. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15: 13).

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

  • trust in God. “They trust in God’s word and not in what they see.”
  • love God with all their heart. “They obey the commandments not because they are afraid of punishment or because they expect a reward, but simply because they love God and want to please Him,” the Chief Apostle emphasised. “Let us please the Lord, not other people.”
  • love their neighbour. Those who love their neighbour treat others as they would like to be treated themselves. And they want their neighbour to attain salvation as well. They will do everything to maintain unity, and to forgive and reconcile.
  • long for God’s grace. “We are not perfect,” the Chief Apostle emphasised. “And that is why we need God’s grace.” We can be filled and blessed already today.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who want to behave like Jesus, will find grace, will have peace, and receive the necessary strength from the Lord,” said the Chief Apostle.

The righteous judge

On the day of the Last Judgement, God will judge all of humanity. But God is a righteous judge, the Chief Apostle said. “Because God will make sure that all people, both the living and the dead—those here on earth or in the thousand-year kingdom of peace—will have the opportunity to get to know Jesus and to follow Him,” the Chief Apostle promised. God will not only judge people according to their deeds, but will also look into their hearts. In the Catechism it says: “He will not only judge human beings according to their sins, but according to the degree of guilt.”

However, in Luke 12: 48 it says: “To whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” The Chief Apostle said: “And here He was talking about us. For we have received much. Through the apostolate, Jesus has given us His entire doctrine. He has given us His blessing. He has given us His grace.”

The hunger will be stilled

“My brothers and sisters, those who truly hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who truly want to be like Jesus, will be saved,” the Chief Apostle promised. Jesus will accept them and God will make them perfect through His grace. “They will be able to enter the kingdom of God in a perfect state because God will have covered everything with His grace. Their hunger and thirst for God’s love will be stilled.”

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