Five dimensions of freedom

Love, return, inheritance, responsibility, coping: these are five kinds of freedom that Jesus Christ has available for us. It was in Nzagi, Angola that the Chief Apostle presented the key to all of this. And that is being a child.

The divine service on 11 January 2020 was based on a Bible passage from Romans 8: 15: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’”

“The baptism of the Spirit has liberated the believer from the yoke of the Mosaic Law,” explained Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider. After all, this is what has caused them to become children of God. They are now able to address God in the exact same way that Jesus did, namely by using the word ‘Abba’, which means ‘Dad’ or ‘Papa’. And that liberates a human being in several respects all at the same time.

Love instead of fear

“The people of Israel had no choice. They had to be obedient.” As long as they remained obedient, things went well for them. And when they were not, punishment loomed, said the Church leader as he recalled the biblical events surrounding the brazen serpent and the band of Korah.

Jesus, on the other hand, obeyed the will of God, “because He loved God and wanted to remain in fellowship with Him.” In the same way, “we do not obey as slaves in order to avoid punishment. We obey out of love, because God is our Father. We love him, and we want to have fellowship with Him.”

Returning home instead of fleeing

When Adam committed the first sin in Paradise, he hid from God. And when Jonah acted against the will of God, he tried to flee.

But with His parable of the prodigal son, Jesus sent a clear message: “Do not hesitate to come back to God. Ask Him for His grace and forgiveness.” Returning home to God means: “I recognise that I have done something wrong, and I do want to change.”

Inheritance instead of slavery

“We are not slaves of God. He made us into children of God,” emphasises the Chief Apostle. “If we serve Him, then we do so out of gratitude.” After all, “He has made us so rich.”

We are not rich in the sense of a reward, because that which God grants us would be impossible for anyone to earn by their own merit or power. Rather, we are rich because we are heirs: “Through the Holy Spirit we have received the promise that we will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Responsibility instead of submissiveness

“A slave only has to do what he is told. He is not responsible for anything more. However, an heir knows that he is partly responsible for the affairs of his father.”

Therefore: “We serve the Lord because we are grateful for His heritage and are responsible for it—and “we are aware that we can contribute to the work of God—and we want to contribute to the work of God.”

Coping instead of suffering

Joseph was sold by his brothers, yet remained true to God—and in the end, he became a blessing for them. Apostles Peter and Paul were thrown into prison, and nevertheless praised the Lord—and so became a blessing for many. “This goes to show,” said the Chief Apostle, “that believers are not simply victims of circumstance who must endure their suffering in silence.”

“We have been sent by God into this time in order to serve Him and to be a blessing for others,” stressed the Church leader, “in order to give testimony under these special conditions and situations—and that makes all the difference.”

Chief Apostle Schneider’s summary: “We are grateful to God that He has made us His children and heirs of His glory. We trust in His love and grace. We fulfil His will despite adverse circumstances.”

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Andreas Rother
Angola, Chief Apostle, Divine service