Clearing the way for the Almighty

What should hinder God from saving a soul? But even for the Almighty there is an obstacle. And we human beings have the means to clear the way. Here is how in five steps.

“There is only one thing that can hinder God from saving us.” This is what Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider made clear in Silvertown (South Africa). “He will not save us against our own will. That is the key. God wants to save us, but we have to pave the way for Him.”

About a hundred thousand participated in the divine service on Sunday, 18 December 2016—most by video transmission. The Chief Apostle put the focus on Mark 1: 2–3: “As it is written in the Prophets: Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.’”

Step one: fighting against sin

The Chief Apostle listed five ways we can prepare the way for God. Most importantly: “We have to want to renounce sin and overcome evil.” That is the principle for both Holy Baptism and forgiveness of sins. Decisive is that we do not agree to any kind of compromise when it comes to sin. “Let us renounce sin—all sins, not only the big visible ones, but every sin.”

Step two: sanctifying ourselves for divine service

“The Lord wants to meet us in divine service.” It is up to us to prepare the way for Him, to clear out our hearts, and set the right priorities: “You know my concerns and needs, my wishes. But You know that the most important thing for me is to enter Your kingdom.” To sanctify ourselves for divine service the following inner attitude is required: “God, help me to recognise You in the sinner, the imperfect servant You have sent.”

Step three: gathering in the name of Jesus

To be able to experience the presence of Jesus Christ in divine service we have to gather in His name, the Chief Apostle continued. “We have to be aware: now I am together with my brother and my sister in faith, the members of our congregation. They are so important for Jesus that He died for them. So I cannot just simply think of them as sinners and strange people.” That also means that we have to clear up any differences there may be between us. “God will not do this for us. He expects us to solve our problems together and reconcile. That is our task.”

Step four: taking our bearings from the gospel

“God also wants to save our neighbour.” Here too the faithful are called to pave the way for God. “Let us conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Neither New Apostolic Christians are perfect nor is the Church. And it is precisely because of this that we want to do God’s work by forgiving one another, loving one another, and overcoming our differences.”

Step five: committing ourselves to the congregation

And, finally, there are very practical ways of clearing the way for the Lord. “Here we are talking about our offerings and helping along in the congregation,” the Chief Apostle said and referred to concrete requests from Jesus to His disciples, such as preparing a place for the Passover.

Summary: Fighting against sin, sanctifying ourselves for divine service, gathering in the name of Jesus, and actively participating in the congregation—this is how we can pave the way for the Saviour.

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Andreas Rother
South Africa, Chief Apostle, Divine service