“He does what we cannot do ourselves ”

No matter how powerful evil is, there is always One who can snatch the prey away from even the biggest predator. Yet even He does not do everything Himself. Read how Jesus Christ relies on every single believer.

“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible be delivered; for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.” This Bible text from Isaiah 49: 25 was used by the Chief Apostle in a youth service in Berlin in Germany on Sunday, 1 March 2020.

This promise dates back to a time when part of the people of Israel were deported to exile in Babylon. “God guided things in such a way that those who wanted—and only those who really wanted to—could return to Israel,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained, who sees this as an “image of human salvation”.

Threefold captivity

On account of original sin, man has fallen into a threefold captivity. He is a

  • captive of the estrangement from God: “Man is no longer able to come close to God. A gulf was created that he is not able to cross.”
  • captive of sinfulness: “As much as man might try, he cannot live without sin.”
  • captive of death: “Man must die and experience the end of earthly life.”

Free in three steps

“Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came on this earth in order to free man,” the Chief Apostle said.

  • “Through His sacrificial death Christ has created the possibility for man to come back to God. Through baptism He washes away original sin.”
  • Through Holy Sealing He creates a new creation within man, which He nourishes and develops. “Once we enter the kingdom of God we will be perfected by the grace of Jesus Christ. We will no longer be sinners then.”
  • “In the thousand-year-kingdom of peace people will still die, but after the Last Judgement even death will have been defeated.”

The prey of the terrible

“Jesus Christ wants to take the prey away from the terrible,” the Chief Apostle continued. “The prey is that which the devil constantly takes away from us again.”

  • In our relationship to God: “He wants to rob man of his confidence in God. The devil has managed to sow doubt in man. He has taken away the fear of God. Man thinks he can manage without God.”
  • In the relationship between people: “Often people have lost trust in each other. Some isolate themselves. Others know only accusations. And still others even feel hatred.”

But the message of Jesus is: “Whoever accepts my word and my sacraments can also be healed. I will restore your confidence in God, I will restore your fear of God. I can help you to live together again in love. I can snatch the prey back from the evil one.”

Taking advantage of the possibilities

“Jesus Christ will save us by His grace,” Chief Apostle Schneider said. “He only does for our salvation what we cannot do ourselves. Everything else we must do: God gives us His grace, but it is up to us to decide freely to participate in it.”

  • “We must decide to believe. To believe means to decide and be determined to trust in God.”
  • “He grants us the grace of forgiveness of sins. But we must be determined to change things. We must also be willing to forgive our neighbour.”
  • “We have the possibility of becoming like Christ. However, it is up to me to decide that I want to follow the example of Jesus Christ: I want to think, act, and be like Him.”
  • “God gives us His love through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is up to us, though, to decide how we are going to work with this love.”

“God cannot do this for you,” the Chief Apostle reiterated. “This is our job.”

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