Those who want to serve God and enter His kingdom must be sanctified to do so. Of course, this sanctification comes from God. But it won’t work without our making an effort. The Chief Apostle recently explained what this means.
In his first divine service which Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted in Praia, Cape Verde, the focus was on sanctification. The divine service on 25 February was held in Achado Mato. And it was a service for ministers. The Chief Apostle based his sermon on 1 Peter 1: 15: “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”
“God is holy, that much is clear to us,” the Chief Apostle explained. “God is greater than anyone and anything we can imagine.” God is perfect, he said. And because God wants to lead us into the holy kingdom, we must become holy.
Gift of God
Sanctification is a gift of God.
- Because Jesus gave His life for us, we can be cleansed.
- God wants to help us through His word. He does not want to show us how bad we are... He just wants to help us enter His kingdom.
- He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, the holy life from God that lives in us.
A mission for Christians
But sanctification is also a task.
- God offers us grace in divine service, but how much grace we really receive depends on us. This is where our repentance comes in, our faith, and our determination to change things.
- We promised God: I renounce Satan and evil.
- We need to make sure that the new creation that God has placed within us can grow in us.
The Chief Apostle said that no one can earn election. He went on to say that God has chosen Christians to make them His holy people. “How can we tell that we belong to God?” the Chief Apostle asked. “It should actually be evident in our day-to-day lives that we are pilgrims on earth. We have a different goal.” Then the Chief Apostle asked the question: “Do others really realise that the children of God are God’s children? Honestly, not always. There is still room for improvement.”
A special mission
The Chief Apostle said that the ministers have received a special mission through their calling, their ministerial mandate. “This ministry is holy, this mission is sacred. And because we have received this sacred mission, the minister must also be sanctified.” This does not mean that a person becomes perfect through ordination. “Rather, through ordination, God has sanctified us so that we can do perfect work in the name of Jesus Christ despite our human imperfection,” the Chief Apostle said.
He went on to point out that also the ministers must work on their sanctification:
- They must keep Sunday holy. “Sunday is not a day like any other. It is a day on which God calls you! You have an encounter with God.”
- They must be humble. “We absolutely need the forgiveness of our sins, and that is why we must be humble towards our neighbour.” The Chief Apostle emphasised: “We have no reason to look down on our brothers and sisters.”
- They need to reflect. “We need to take time to engage with our faith, with our Lord Jesus, and with His teachings.”
- They need to have a pure heart. “We do not serve the Lord because we want money, honour, or because we want prestige. But because we love God and we love our brothers and sisters.”
- They must keep the preaching pure: “It takes a lot of prayer and work to be sure that we are preaching the word of God. We cannot pick and choose. We must preach what God tells us to preach. Whether we like it or not.”
Ministry is a 24/7 task
“We are not ordained just to preach on Sunday morning. As a matter of fact, we are ministers day and night,” the Chief Apostle emphasised. “We do not only serve the Lord when it is nice and pleasant, but also when it becomes difficult and requires many sacrifices.”