20 March 2024 at 19:48:00 JST

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Are we really sure? What about suffering, injustice, and weakness? Not even that, the Chief Apostle makes clear, and explains what this love really means.



“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8: 35) This was the Bible text for the divine service on 4 February 2024 in Lima, Peru.


“This is the great message from Paul to the Romans, and from the Holy Spirit to us today: ‌God loves you!” And this is how the Apostle defines this love: “The coming of the Son of God to earth, His sacrifice, our election, our becoming a child of God. Jesus Christ wants us to be with Him forever,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider explained.


Love beyond suffering

But if God loves us, why must we suffer, the Chief Apostle asked and went on to explain. Each one of us must suffer in a certain way. Some live in difficult conditions and experience hardship or are ill. Others do not have a partner or children. And some are worried about the future of their congregation, the Church, or their faith. “And there are many other things we can add,” he said.


“Paul’s response to this is that nothing can separate us from God.” Those who have to endure suffering are neither forgotten by God nor is He punishing them. And finally, we should keep in mind, “We cannot assess God’s love for humanity on the basis of people’s living conditions.” The best example is Jesus Christ Himself. Even the fact that He was the beloved Son of God did not do anything to prevent Jesus Christ’s suffering.


We can experience this already today

“We cannot explain it,” the Chief Apostle said. “The only thing we do know is that God loves all of us.” And that means that He wants to liberate us from the power of evil for good. God’s love consists of giving us eternal life! “That means that no power whatsoever can prevent God from fulfilling His plan of salvation,” the Chief Apostle said.


The love of God will not only be revealed at the return of Christ but is manifest already today. “I personally know brothers and sisters whose whole life has been a misery. And they have peace in their heart. They tell me that they experience the love and presence of God in divine service, ‘You know, God talked to me. He told me exactly what I wanted to hear.’ They have told me that they experience the closeness of God when they pray, ‘I know that God is here. He listens to me.’” And they experience the love of God and His presence when they celebrate Holy Communion. And sometimes God uses a brother or sister just to show them: “Hey, I’m here. I love you.”


Our determination is crucial

“No matter what we must go through, it cannot prevent our redemption,” the Chief Apostle emphasised. “Our salvation does not depend on what happens in our lives, but on our will and determination to be with Jesus.”


Of course, when we experience hardship, it can and does happen that we become weak, the Chief Apostle said. “But even our weaknesses cannot separate us from the love of God.” Because Jesus understands this. He Himself was afraid and extremely distressed in Gethsemane. And He did not reproach Peter when he turned away from Him. Because the Lord does not remember wrongs. On the contrary, He assesses our love.


Those who love will be redeemed

However, there is a mission we have fulfil and that is to proclaim the love of God. There are two ways to do this, the Chief Apostle said. On the one hand, “Our behaviour, our life, the way we act and react especially in times of hardship and distress, can be a testimony.” And the second part of our mission is to “allow our neighbour to experience the love of God in hardship and in difficult times”.


The Chief Apostle drew the following conclusion: “We cannot measure the love of God by looking at our earthly life. Because the love of God consists of His giving us eternal life. Nothing can prevent God from redeeming us. He will fulfil His plan. Our salvation does not depend on our circumstances, but on our love for God and our neighbour. And those who love God will be saved.”

Author: Andreas Rother


nac.today: New Apostolic Church International


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