Word of the Month

Be of good comfort

May 2004

We experience many things that are not at all pleasant. Often there are wishes that are not fulfilled, hopes fall apart at the seams, there are disasters in professional life. Some live in strife, some are physically ill, and others have a depressed spirit. And yet, in his second letter to the Corinthians, Apostle Paul encouraged the brethren to be of good comfort. (c.f. 2 Corinthians 13:11)

And indeed we have as much reason to rejoice in our days as the congregation did then. To have become children of God is the greatest gift that we could ever have received in our lives. To have been chosen by the Highest and to be prepared for such a beautiful future - the return of Christ - is something everyone can rejoice about - if they want to.

Again and again the eternal God meets us at the altar with His word and grace, and comforts us when we are in need and affliction. From these encounters we gain strength, which brings us new joy. Certainly our own effort is also required in order for us to be accepted into eternal fellowship with God. That is why Apostle Paul advised: "Brethren, bear with the word of exhortation." Even in this the Lord offers His help. After all, He wants us to reach perfection. The word effected by the Spirit at the altar shows us the way and gives us direction. When we take it as the standard for our actions, it strengthens our faith and leads us into the right spiritual state of mind. Through the grace of Christ's sacrifice we then receive forgiveness of all our debts and sins, and can thus be redeemed. Let us allow our souls to be brought in order in this manner, and let us never forget: "But by the grace of God I am what I am." (c.f. 1 Corinthians 15:10).

Apostle Paul also alluded to another important matter: "Be of one mind." How is that possible? All people have their own thoughts and opinions, and all of us have different characters and personalities. And yet it is possible for God's children to be of one mind by seeking to be one with Jesus Christ and His messengers, the apostles, and by looking up to God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ in goal-oriented fashion. After all each of us carries the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of unity.

With such a disposition it becomes easy to fulfil the apostle's next admonition: "Live in peace." In each service the peace of the Risen One is laid into our souls after the forgiveness of sins. These are not merely ‘nice religious words' - this blessing has a powerful spiritual effect. When we possess the peace of Jesus, all fears and anxieties must retreat. What a marvellous spiritual condition!

The apostle promises those who take these admonitions to heart that "the God of love and peace will be with you". What could be more beautiful than experiencing God's presence in all situations of life? Reason indeed to rejoice and be of good comfort!

(From a service by the chief apostle)