Stages on our way to perfect freedom

God wants to take every believer out of prison and lead him to perfect freedom. The Chief Apostle highlights important stages along the way and what is so wonderful about them.

“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1: 12–13). This was the basis of an online service conducted by the Chief Apostle in Strasbourg (France) specifically for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

An inheritance with a deposit

“We have become heirs to the kingdom of God, to eternal bliss, and eternal fellowship with God,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said as he referred to the baptism with water and the Spirit. “We have become children of God,” he said. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God not only grants us the possibility of taking possession of the inheritance, but it is also a security deposit toward our future salvation.

Freedom, inside and out

“God has delivered us from the power of darkness,” the Chief Apostle explained. We are still confronted with evil, he went on, “but as long as I want to remain faithful to God, the devil cannot force me to become unfaithful. That is our freedom.”

“We are not prisoners of the society in which we live,” he said, citing corruption as an example of social evil. “We do not have to behave like everyone else. Instead, as a child of God, we have the possibility of breaking out of this vicious circle.” After all, we are free in Christ and are free to take the first step, he said.

“We are not slaves to our earthly desires,” the Chief Apostle said. Of course we all have to provide for ourselves and our families, but there are limits. These are the commandments and our respect for our fellow man.

“I am not a slave to my pride,” the Chief Apostle underlined. “Even if someone were to hurt me I still have the possibility to forgive him. I am not obliged to take revenge.”

And finally: “I am not a prisoner of the evil I did in the past. I am not a prisoner of my own history, of my weaknesses. Christ has given me the possibility to start again from scratch.”

Where Jesus Christ rules

“God has brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son. This is also a reference to the church of Christ.” But Jesus also said: “My kingdom is not of this world.” And that is why the following applies: “It is not the mission of the Church – under the leadership of the Apostles – to meddle in the problems of society and solve them all. The mission of the ambassadors of Christ is to proclaim salvation and to prepare the souls for the return of Jesus Christ.”

Apostles and Chief Apostles come and go, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider made clear: “The life of the Church continues because it is not the man who is important but the ministry and the power that Jesus gave to the ministry.”

Above all, it is Jesus Christ who saves. “The salvation He offers does not depend on how competent His servants are. He can deliver us whenever He likes because it is His church. And that is very reassuring for me personally.”

For a good foretaste

The Church must, however, give believers a foretaste of eternal glory.

In the kingdom of God everything will be in accordance with the will of God. That is why it is important today that we do the will of God in the “kingdom of His Son”. “Where the new creature has developed within us, it is no longer even a struggle to be obedient, because we are not driven by personal interests or fear. We obey simply because it lies within our nature.”

What’s more, all people will be equal in the kingdom of God. “God loves all human beings the same,” Chief Apostle Schneider said and called on the believers: “There is something that we can do today already. All that counts is: this is my brother, this is my sister; God loves them as much as He loves me.”

Photo: Mike Karcher

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service