Salvation. It’s what everyone who claims to be a “Christian” desires above all else.
This fact is not unknown to expelled former preachers which is why they came up with a bogus version of God’s doctrine on salvation to falsely assure “defender” members and prospects that salvation can be attained even outside the Church of Christ. See http://incdefendernomore.org/2017/04/05/you-cant-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too/
To sell this deception, they preach that God’s love continues even after “defenders” have been expelled. And not just “defenders” who were removed for defying the current Church Administration but even those who were expelled under the administration of the former Executive Minister, for living an un-Christian way of life! They justify this twisted doctrine by relying on God’s love which they claim will reward them with salvation, a love so great that it removes the condition God Himself has set — membership in the Iglesia ni Cristo being a requisite for salvation.
So let’s study this notion of “God’s unconditional love”, a phrase we often see and hear and which provides some measure of comfort when one is sad, heartbroken, let down, grieving, or depressed for a myriad of possible reasons. Is God’s love “unconditional”? We’ll let the Holy Scriptures provide the answer.
God’s love – unconditional or not?
- During the time of creation, God’s love, freely given to Adam and Eve, was paired with a commandment they must not break. He placed them in the Garden of Eden where they had everything they could possibly want and need to live in bliss for eternity. For as long as they did not partake of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were welcome to stay in paradise. That was the condition God had set for the first people. We all know how this story ended. Expelled from Eden, their disobedience became the genesis of human sin. (Genesis 3:1-24 NKJV)
- Surviving the Great Flood during Noah’s time required boarding the massive ark God had commissioned Noah to build. The continued existence of species hinged on that condition. God’s instructions to Noah were clear. Noah obeyed exactly as God had commanded. He and his household, along with the plants and animals he was asked to bring on board, were spared when the deluge came. Everyone else perished. (Genesis 7:1-12 NKJV)
- When Lot and his family were rescued from the imminent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, to them was given a command to not look back. Obedience to that command was the condition for their safe passage. But, as we know, Lot’s wife turned to look at the place they were leaving behind. Her punishment was swift, immediate, and permanent. (Genesis 19:26 GNT)
- God tested the patience and faithfulness of the Israelites during the long journey across the desert after they were freed from slavery by God’s servant, Moses. Only those who faithfully followed God’s commands, communicated through leaders God has appointed (first Moses, then Joshua), were able to reach Canaan, the prized reward God promised His first nation. Obedience until the end was the condition God had set for His people in order for them to set foot in the Promised Land. There were those who did not make it, in particular, the thousands who were swallowed by the earth, consumed by fire, or killed by the plague after rising up against Moses and Aaron, and after questioning Moses’ character and his competence to lead, and falsely accusing him of killing God’s own people! (Numbers 16:31-35, 41-50 NIV)
- King David, considered the greatest of all the kings of Israel and “a man after God’s heart” was punished by God when he willfully disobeyed God’s commandment. (2 Samuel 12:9-25; 16:21-22 AMP) God’s affection was restored only after he sufficiently repented his sins and accepted God’s punishment ungrudgingly. (2 Samuel 7:14; 12:24-25 AMP). For God to forgive, man must first repent. Repentance is the condition for forgiveness. True repentance requires obedience and humility. (2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 2:38 AMP) This has always been God’s rule. No one is exempt, not even those whom God has set apart and with whom He was well pleased, at first.
Salvation in the Christian Era has its own conditions
“Dura lex, Sed lex”. In English, this means: “The law may be harsh but it’s still the law.”
God’s law has sentenced man to die for his sins. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23 NLT) While it may seem harsh, it cannot be reversed. However, as a manifestation of God’s desire to save man without breaking His own law, God Himself provided a way when He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, sinless and without blemish, to die for man’s sins. This unselfish act is proof of God’s great love for man. The opportunity to be saved was open to everyone regardless of race, creed, age, gender, civil status, and social standing: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish and have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
Since simply believing in Him is not enough, our Lord Jesus Christ said “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved…” (John 10:9 NASB). Again, a condition — “if anyone enters through Me” — has to be met for anyone to be saved.
Not a literal “door”, our Lord Jesus Christ went on to declare that He has built a church with Himself as head, and the church as the body, thus, forming a “one new man”. Through this “one new man”, we are able to reconcile with God. (Matthew 16:18, Colossians 1:18 and Ephesians 2:15 NKJV).
For there to be no confusion about the church — its ownership (who it belongs to) and its purpose (redemption), Christ gave this church a name. He called it after Himself – the church of Christ – the one He purchased with His own blood for the redemption of sins. (Acts 20:28 Lamsa)
After the death of the apostles, fierce wolves came, devoured the flock, and turned the first century Church away from the true gospel (“apostacy”). Centuries later, God’s prophecies (Isaiah 41:4, 9-10; Rev 7:2-3 NRSV) were fulfilled when a messenger, in the person of Bro. Felix Y. Manalo, arose in the Far East and started to preach the pure doctrines of our Lord Jesus Christ. In these last days, the Iglesia ni Cristo or Church of Christ is man’s remaining hope for salvation.
In Rev 2:10 NKJV, it is written: “Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life”. Faithfulness until the end is the condition we need to fulfill to attain everlasting life. Hence, while becoming a member is an essential first step, remaining inside the Church until the end is the only way to truly guarantee one’s salvation.
How then can one reconcile these teachings from the Holy Scriptures with the doctrine promoted by the “defender” preachers?? The answer is: They are like parallel lines that don’t meet. One is true, the other, undoubtedly, false. The true one will lead to salvation, the false, to condemnation. This is understandable. For how can “defender” leaders who have been rejected by God, who manipulate their members with their twisted reasoning, fake doctrines, drama, money-making and other evil schemes, who do not have any connection with God, lead anyone to anything other than eternal destruction??
What about the original instigators of the rebellion against the administration of Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo who up to now, despite recent events that are unfairly blamed on the Church, still refuse to speak out in public and fight for those who have been supporting them financially for 2, going on 3, years now? How can they lead anyone to salvation when all they’ve ever known how to do is depend on others for their daily sustenance??
God’s invitation to salvation
Even after man has sinned again after being made clean and consequently ejected from Christ’s body (expelled), God continues to extend to him an invitation to return. There is no love greater than that. But the choice is ours.
If the salvation of our souls and those of our young children who are not yet able to decide for themselves are what’s at stake, then our focus ought to be on one thing and one thing alone – how to get back in God’s good graces. Everything else is just noise that should be ignored. For what can possibly be more important than salvation?
To those who continue to participate or sympathize, openly or silently, with these so-called “defenders”, ask yourselves this question: Do you want to be saved or not? Because that is what it really boils down to.
If you are reading this, and your heart is bothered by the truthfulness and bluntness of these words, then there is hope for you still. Detach from the “defender” movement. Disassociate yourselves from those who have already been given to darkness. God’s invitation to return applies to you but not to them. Turn back now. Cast your pride away. Save your soul. Save your family. Let the Lord back into your life. There is no salvation outside the Iglesia ni Cristo! Review our basic doctrines. Listen to the words of Bro. Erano Manalo. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=549167518626734&id=493193814224105, http://incdefendernomore.org/2017/01/16/reject-the-apple-accept-the-bread-of-life/
Heed God’s continuing invitation. In Isaiah 1:18-20 NKJV, God said:
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
To those who are on their way back, continue to persevere. Prove your sincerity and loyalty to God by staying on this course until He takes you back again. Do not be disheartened or distracted, stay focused on the reward. Always ask the Lord for strength.
We thank the Lord every day for calling you back into the light again, as He did with us. Thank you for serving as our inspiration to continue with this blog. You, the ones before you, and the other “defenders” who will follow in your footsteps and likewise return to the Church, are who make our efforts worthwhile. We lovingly dedicate this article to you.
God bless us all! See you again next time.
Suggested links to related earlier articles:
http://incdefendernomore.org/2017/01/06/is-the-defender-group-of-god/, http://incdefendernomore.org/2016/12/27/leave-the-church-and-go-where/, http://incdefendernomore.org/2017/02/07/treason-against-god/, http://incdefendernomore.org/2017/03/22/trust-not-in-thine-own-heart/, http://incdefendernomore.org/2017/04/17/take-our-hand-let-us-pull-you-up/, http://incdefendernomore.org/2017/01/12/when-false-pride-and-misguided-principle-can-kill/, http://incdefendernomore.org/2017/01/16/reject-the-apple-accept-the-bread-of-life/,