Falling down, getting back up, and going forward. This is what will lead us to the goal. God helps the righteous in this. But who is righteous? Five examples and some answers from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.
“For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.” This Bible text from Proverbs 24: 16 was the basis of a divine service which the Chief Apostle held in Perth, Australia, on 6 August 2023.
Those who do what God expects of them and who do right by their neighbour are righteous, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained. Today this means believing in Jesus Christ and fulfilling the commandment to love God and our neighbour.
The wicked, on the other hand, pursue their own way and respect neither God nor their neighbour. They might have some success in life, but in the end they will be rejected by God.
The righteous fall constantly, but because they have the right heart’s attitude, God helps them up again and grants them His grace. The Chief Apostle went on to explain five different ways we can fall.
We all do the evil things we didn’t want to do. “Jesus will never reproach us when we commit sins, because He knows that we are sinners. That is part of our human nature.” However, the important thing is not to give up our fight against sin, but to overcome and improve ourselves. If we fall seven times, we get up again and try once again, over and over.”
We do not do the good things we wanted to do. Like Peter, for example. “He denied Jesus,” the Chief Apostle said. “Yet he did the right thing. He wept bitterly and was full of remorse. And he did not stop loving God.” Surely every believer has broken promises to God. The right thing to do here is to examine ourselves. Why couldn’t we keep that promise? Did we perhaps think we should personally benefit, or did we feel we were owed something? “What we do for God should be done out of love and not because we hope to benefit personally,” the Chief Apostle said. When we fall it is important that we have the right attitude: “I regret that I did something wrong. And I want to prove to Jesus that I still love Him.”
Plummeting from a great height is an image for the trials and affliction we experience, the Chief Apostle explained. Like Job. “In the beginning he was quite angry with God. Only at the end of the story did he return to the thought: ‘I just have to trust God.’” It is quite normal that there are moments in our lives where we have our doubts, the Chief Apostle said. “Just keep in touch, as Job did. Even if you do not agree with God, don’t stop talking and listening to Him.”
Falling asleep like the ten virgins: “They all fell asleep. But when the bridegroom finally came and they heard the call—he is coming—five were able to go with him. They had enough oil.” The Chief Apostle explained: “It is not dramatic if our joy, our motivation, or our commitment to the Lord wanes at times. But never stop loving the Lord. And then when you hear His call your love will answer for you.”
Resisting the will of God like Jonah: “He ran away from God because he did not agree with God’s intentions. When he had the right attitude and realised that he cannot stop God from saving others as he himself had been saved he was saved.” We also have our opinions about what God should do, how His work should be, how His children should be, how things should work. Let us have the right attitude towards God, be humble and obedient, and follow the example of Jesus, who said, “Your will be done.”
The Chief Apostle drew the following conclusion: God saves the righteous. Let us show the proper conduct to God and be humble and repentant, and trust in God and love Him.