aa wise minister once told me ang tunay na paglilingkod sa Diyos ay walang kundisyun. Naglilingkod ka ba dahil may kaligtasan at pangakong buhay na walang hanggan? Papaano kung ang utos ng Diyos ay sumunod ngunit walang kalakip na gantimpala, susunod ka pa rin ba? Truly, deep thoughts from a seasoned minister of God.

mqdefaultAng bata tuwing Linggo sa kanilang Pagsamba ng Kabataan ay tinuturuan. 

“Bakit tayo naririto mga kapatid?” asks the guro.

“Para sumamba sa Diyos !” answers the children in unison.

“Masama bang hindi sumamba?

“Masama po!”

“Bakit, anong mangyayari sa mga batang hindi sumasamba?”

“Susunugin sa dagat-dagatang apoy!”

“Gusto niyo bang masunog sa dagat-dagatang apoy?”

“Hindi po!”

“Kaya ano ang gagawin natin tuwing araw ng pagsamba?”

“Sasamba po!”

“May pangako ba ang Diyos sa mga anak niyang sumasamba?”

“Meron po!”

“Ano ang pangako ng Diyos sa mga batang patuloy sa pagsamba sa kaniya?”

“Maliligtas at bibigyan ng buhay na walang hanggan sa bayang banal!”

iglesia ni cristo baptismDuring screenings of new converts to the Church, the newcomer is asked, “Bakit  ninyo gustong umanib sa Iglesia Ni Cristo? The usual answer is, “Para makalingkod sa Diyos”. This answer is followed by a succeeding question, “Bakit, puede naman maglingkod sa Diyos sa ibang relihiyon, bakit gusto mo sa Iglesia ni Cristo?” “Wala kasing kaligtasan sa ibang relihiyon.”

Actually, there is nothing wrong with the answers nor is it an untruth.  The term”salvation” differentiates the INC from other religions.  It is a basic belief that outside this Church there is no salvation.  And this theme is used in every lesson taught at the pulpit. It is also used to instill caution among the brethren or face expulsion. The thought of burning in eternal fire and brimstone for those outside the Church is totally unacceptable to the majority. More the reason just to keep a blind eye and just go with the tide.

A good friend of mine based abroad asked this question to numerous ministers and received conflicting answers.

“Lahat ba ng nakatala, ay maliligtas?”  the answer was the same from everyone. “Opo, lahat ng nakatala ay maliligtas.”

The follow-up question however, produced conflicting answers.

“May maliligtas bang hindi nakatala? Some answered  “yes” and some answered “no”. Same true with the question, “May nakatala bang hindi maliligtas?” It’s either “yes” or “no” depending on the conviction of the the respondent minister.

So papaano ngayon kung gago ka pero nasa loob ka ng Iglesia, o mabait ka naman pero nasa labas ka?  So how does God treat such a “dilemma”?

I’d like to tell you a short story which  has been told so countless times.

“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

This is where the story usually ends.  The following I’m sure, most of you are not aware of.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Luke 15:11-32New International Version (NIV)

Now I ask you dearest friends and brethren, how will God treat his children come judgement day? A name listed in a book, or will he look into your heart?