Word of the Month

Sought out and not forsaken

September 2003

The city that had been sought out and not forsaken, to which the Prophet Isaiah referred in days of old (Isaiah 62:12), is an image of the congregation founded by Jesus Christ on the rock of the Apostles' ministry. That is where the altar of God stands. That is where the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, gather. That is where our Heavenly Father encounters His children in love and in grace.

Apostle Peter declared: "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people." (1 Peter 2:9). What is the prerequisite to being numbered among this holy people? There is no other way other than the rebirth out of water and Spirit, acceptance of the Holy Baptism and Holy Sealing. One could lock oneself away in a monastery, fast, pray, work, and write pious books one's whole life long - none of that, however, could bring about an affiliation to the people of God. "Unless one is born again" (John 3:5) - that is how the Son of God described the way to receive the childhood in God. And Apostle Paul underlined: "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." (Romans 8:9).

There is also only one way to be redeemed: the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. His sacrificial death has made it possible to be redeemed from the burden of sin and the claims of the Evil One. The forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus is declared at the altar of God, in His congregation, in the city that was sought out and not forsaken.

Who is it that seeks this city then? Sad souls, those in need of comfort, all those who long for peace, those who require salvation, and who hunger after divine truth. At the altar of the Lord all of them receive His word and grace, and thus comfort and strength, peace that the world does not know, light, and life. Many from the spirit world also come to this city which has been sought out, because they too need the blessings offered in the house of the Lord.

Who would want to leave such a city in which so much love and grace is offered? It is a sad picture when a city is forsaken, be it as a result of the machinations of war or as a consequence of disease. Such a city looks ghostly, and everything is in a state of decay and deterioration. But the Lord holds His protective hand over His city, in which the bride of Christ is being prepared for the day of His return. How beautiful it is for the inhabitants of this city to know already today that the perfected Jerusalem will emerge from it in the light one day. For this reason, let us spare no effort to remain in this city, in the congregation of Christ.

(From a service by the Chief Apostle)