Understanding the INC's Book of Life
by Erano G. Manalo
Thursday, June 3, 1999
Translated by Ruben D. Aromin.
WE SHOULD BE LISTED IN THE REGISTRY OF GOD'S NATION AND REMAIN AS SUCH IN ORDER TO BE SAVED
We know fully well that it is both important and necessary to join the Church of Christ and remain as active members until the end in order to be saved on day of Judgment. In view of this, we are very thankful to God that despite the many trials that we go through in this life, we remain as active members and that our names remain listed in the registry of the Church.
We also know the different reasons that can cause one's name to be delisted from the Church's registry. Among the possible reasons that may cause the removal of one's name from the Church's registry are expulsion (due to violation or transgression of the teachings we believe in), turning cold in the faith (or abandoning the congregational worship service), and leaving the locale without due notice (or if one asked permission to leave, and has secured a certificate of transfer, but does not register in the locale to which he is said to have transferred).
Those who do any of these think that it is a small matter to be removed or delisted from the Church's registry. They are probably thinking that even if their names removed from the registry of the Church, so long as they continue to attend the worship service and give their offerings and continue obeying the other commandments of God they will be saved. Can those whose names have been blotted out or delisted from the registry of God's nation still hope for salvation.
WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE OF BEING WRITTEN OR LISTED IN THE REGISTRY OF GOD'S NATION TO OUR SALVATION ON JUDGMENT DAY?
1. Those whose names are written will be delivered or savedů.. Dan. 12:1 NKJV
EXPLANATION: Only those who belong to God's nation will be saved. The people of God in our time are in the true Church of Christ. But who among those in God's nation will surely be saved? Those names that are written in the book.
Q. Where are the names of those listed in God's nation written?
a. Written in heaven Lk. 10:20 NKJV
CONCLUSION: Those whose names are written or listed in God's nation are the ones listed in heaven. They are the ones certain of salvation. Hence, Christ told his disciples that it is this that they should all the more rejoice.
ARGUMENT: Others say: "Even if I'm not listed, I'll continue to attend the worship service and to give monetary offering."
Q. What does it mean when one is not listed in God's nation?
2. Those who are not listed in God's nation will be punished. 1 Chron. 9:1 TEV
EXPLANATION: The list of names or the registry in God's nation is unlike any ordinary registry. This is a registry of those to be saved.
I. WHAT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF BEING LISTED IN HEAVEN DURING THE TIME OF CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES?
1. Those bound on earth and in heaven Mt. 18:18 NKJV
EXPLANATION: According to our Lord Jesus Christ, those bound on earth are bound in heaven. On the other hand, those loosed on earth are also loosed in heaven.
Q. How are the members of the Church of Christ bound on earth?
2. Obey and submit to their leaders Heb. 13:17 TEV
CALL TO ACTION: What is the duty of each member of the Church to the Administration? We should obey and submit to the authority of those who lead us in serving God.
Q. What should the brethren obey as a manifestation of their submission to the authority of the Church Administration?
3. Obey their decrees Acts 16:4 TEV
EXPLANATION: The proof of our submission to the authority of the Church Administration is our obedience to their decree or decision. One of these is for us to register in the Church's registry.
INSTRUCTION FROM THE CHURCH ADMINISTRATION: Each member of the Church should make sure that his name is listed in the Church's registry. If you change address, you should secure a certificate of transfer. Even if you will not transfer to another locale, if it will take you a month in the place where you are going and because of this you won't be able to attend the worship service in the locale where you are registered, you still have to secure a certificate of transfer and register in the locale nearest the place where you will be staying. So if there are brethren in this worship service who have secured a certificate of transfer from this locale but has not yet registered, you better submit your transfer to this locale so that you won't get delisted from the Church's registry. You should coordinate with the locale's secretariat if you have problems with your registration in the Church. It is in the nearest locale of the Church where you live that you should register so that your service to God would be closely supervised. You should also attend the committee prayer in your group. The group overseers on the other hand are being reminded to closely monitor the brethren placed under their care.
Q. What good result did the brethren's obedience to the decision of the Church Administration bring to the first century Church of Christ.?
A. They were made stronger in the faith and they grew
in number every day Acts 16:5 TEV
EXPLANATION: Our obedience is the key to our edification in the faith. Aside from this, it helps in the propagation of the faith as proven in the case of the first century Church of Christ?
Q. What on the other and, does it mean to those who are loosed on earth, they are also loosed in heaven.
4. They are being expelled from the Church 1 Cor 5:12-13 NIV
EXPLANATION: Those who do evil are the ones being expelled. They are the ones being loosed on earth, hence they are loosed in heaven.
II. WHAT EVIL WILL BEFALL ANY BRETHREN WHO HAS BEEN EXPELLED BY THE CHURCH ADMINISTRATION OR WHO HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE CHURCH'S REGISTRY
1. Will be cast out and burned Jn. 15:5-6 NKJV
EXPLANATION: Those expelled are likened to branches that have been separated from the vine. Such will wither and be gathered together then thrown into the lake of fire or will not be saved.
Q. Even during the early times, who were those deported or thrown into exile and were punished?
a. Those were thrown into exile were punished
(they were not listed) 1 Chron 9:1 TEV
EXPLANATION: Those who obey are the ones who will remain listed in the Church's registry and can hope for salvation. Even, during the time of God's early nation, He already ordered the names of the wicked to be removed from the list.
Q. Why will those who are not registered be punished?
2. They will be punished because they despise authority 2 Pet 2:4,10 NKJV
EXPLANATION: Those to be punished on the day of Judgement are those who walk according to the flesh, despise authority and are self-willed.
SUGGESTION: Let us be submissive to the authority of the Church Administration instead of being disobedient.
III WHY IS THERE A NEED TO BE UNITED WITH THE CHURCH ADMINISTRATION?
1. To receive Christ and God Mat. 10:40 TEV
EXPLANATION: To receive God and Christ, one needs to receive the messenger who is given Administration of the Church. Hence, we continue to pray that we remain united with the present
Q. Can we accept the authority of God's messenger if we do not accept the man, himself?
a. The man and his authority Mt. 10:41-42 TEV
EXPLANATION: According to our Lord Jesus Christ "whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these followers because he is my follower, will certainly receive a reward."
CONCLUSION: Therefore, we cannot avoid to accept the man sent by God because he has the right or authority as God's messenger.
Q. Why are we certain that the meaning of Christ's statement in Mt. 10:41-42 is that in accepting the messenger, not only should we accept the man but also the authority of the man?
2. To them was committed the ministry of reconciliation 2 Cor 5:18-20 NKJV
EXPLANATION: To the ambassadors or messengers were given the ministry and the word of reconciliation. Hence, it is of utmost importance that people are united with the messenger of God.
Q. Who will benefit if we are obedient to the Church Administration, not only in their presence but even in their absence?
3. The kind of brethren to be saved Philip. 2:12 TEV
EXPLANATION: Those who can complete their salvation are those who are obedient. Therefore, obedience and submission to the authority of the Administration should be done with or without them watching us.
Q. How can we identify or recognize those who are obedient?
a. They do everything without complaining or arguing Philip 2:14 TEV
SUGGESTION: So long as it is God's command which is being required of us to follow, we should obey with all our hearts and with all our souls without complaining or arguing. Hence, we should all the more be diligent in obeying the commandments of God.
It is clear from our study of God's words that it is evil not to remain in obedience. Those who do not remain will not also remain listed in the Church registry. Those whose names are removed or blotted from the registry of the Church shall not be saved. Let us make sure that we remain listed in the registry of the Church, that our record is in order, and we remain in our conviction to obey the commandments of God to the fullness of our salvation.