(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
“Christianity is not a group religion; no Church can save you, only Jesus can save you.”
This was the submission of the Most Rev. Edmund Akanya, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kaduna and Bishop of Kebbi Anglican Diocese at the Day 6 of the weeklong Lenten programme tagged, “The Way of the Cross,” organized by the Diocese of Abuja and held at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Abuja. The Archbishop, who spoke on the topic, “The Ministry of Reconciliation,” explained that no sacrifice could atone for the sins of man, except that of Christ Jesus on the cross. Therefore, according to him, no amount of money or works, or Church can save man; adding that the Church is needed for growth and the discovery of God, through whom one’s life can be transformed.
The Cleric said that reconciliation is basic to the issues of the cross, because it is through Christ’s death on the cross that man was reconciled to God. Quoting profusely from the scriptures, the guest preacher explained what led to the need for a reconciliation. He stated that reconciliation was essential, because man fell from his place of power and authority as a result of the sin of disobedience, which he said, brought problem into the world. Archbishop Akanya pointed out that in addition to the sin of disobedience, the sin of silence on the part of Adam also added to the problem. According to him, if Adam had spoken up about God’s specific instructions, things may not have turned out the way it did. In the same vein, the Bishop of Kebbi diocese said that many today are dying because of someone’s silence.
Archbishop Akanya described the fall of man, highlighting how man refused to take responsibility for his actions and the tactics the devil used to deceive man. He emphasized that the devil has not changed his tactics, adding that he still paints the wrong picture to deceive man and lead him astray. He stated that the devil will never remind people of anything God has given to them, but rather what He has not given them. Hence, he said, the devil deceived Eve by lying to her about what God had not said, which led to man’s loss of glory and God’s presence.
The Archbishop said that Jesus Christ paid a significant price for man; explaining that what Christ did at the cross accomplished a lot for the Church today. He expatiated on some of the benefits of Christ’s death on the cross, mentioning man’s direct access to God as the number one benefit. He stressed that the door has been opened and therefore, Christians can communicate directly with God. He debunked the belief of many, who feel that they need to go through someone else such as their pastors to communicate with God, pointing out that it is an act of immaturity and a lack of understanding of who God is.
He said that anyone could become God’s favorite, because the Bible states that God would draw near to anyone who draws close to Him. According to the Bishop of Kebbi diocese, God expects Christians to be able to cast out demons in His name and not expect someone else to do it for them. He said that man’s reconciliation with God through His Son, Jesus Christ has brought back freedom, healing, prosperity and the likes. Hence, he concluded that anyone who accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour will not only make heaven, but also enjoy all the blessings that come with the reconciliation.