Chosen, now what?
Called and chosen. This central concept from the gospel implies both inclusion as well as exclusion. How is that possible, seeing that God loves all of mankind? Thoughts from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.
Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider celebrated the first of three divine services on his recent trip to Africa in Cameroon. On Wednesday, 28 February 2018 he ministered to the brothers and sisters in Yaoundé. He based his sermon on Revelation 14: 1: “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
Recognising the elect
Revelation reports that John saw the community of the elect with Jesus Christ after His return. Those who will be able to participate in the Lord’s return can be recognised by the following, the Chief Apostle explained.
- The elect were not chosen for their merit or their achievements, but by God’s will alone.
- The elect come from all tribes and nations.
- The elect are very numerous, but their number is limited. This is how Chief Apostle Schneider interpreted the image of the 144,000.
Those who will participate in the Lord's return have been chosen
- to be firstfruits. They will be the first human beings to “put on the resurrection body of Jesus after His resurrection”.
- to constitute the bride of Christ. “The image of the wedding means that these will be the first ones who will be intimately connected with Jesus, who will live with Him and share everything with Him.”
- to serve and rule with Jesus. However, they will not rule over human beings. They will not exercise authority over them, but they will put all their strength “in the service of the salvation of mankind”.
Clinching the election
The elect bear the name of God. They belong to God. “Jesus has redeemed us with His sacrifice. The devil has no claim on us any more.” And the elect follow His call: “You have become a child of God because Jesus chose you personally and redeemed you.” And they receive the Holy Spirit: “This seal is of course also the symbol for the regeneration through water and Spirit, which we have received through Holy Baptism and Holy Sealing.”
They refrain from practising idolatry, because idols keep us from God. “If education, money, and success are more important to you than Jesus, you have chosen an idol.” Idol worship, so the Chief Apostle, also includes witchcraft and Spiritism: “We no longer trust Jesus, but seek help elsewhere.” And preachers can also become a danger for our faith: “When men become more important than Jesus, then this too, is idolatry.”
They follow Jesus. To follow Jesus means wanting to be with Jesus already today: “In divine service, in prayer, and particularly in Holy Communion.” The elect obey Jesus Christ unconditionally: “Because we love Him and want to be together with Him.” And the elect bring the message of salvation to strangers and sinners. “We love strangers. We love the weak.”
They are blameless. The elect acknowledge their sins and regret them. “God was able to wash away their sins, and they became blameless.”
They follow the Apostles. Through the Apostles the elect receive the seal of the Spirit: “It is the apostolate that has received the mission to prepare the bride for the return of the Lord.”