July 1, 1997 Issue

by Virgilio O. Danao, Sr. 

"Regardless of your religious affiliation, if you sincerely believe and call Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you shall be saved," a preacher of a denomination announced in his radio program. But I honestly and humbly disagree! I will share with you why I make such a statement.

At the outset, since Jesus is believed, recognized and acknowledged by almost all God-fearing people today, (and so they continue to pray and call Him as their Lord and Savior) let us go to Him and ask Him this question: "Lord, is it true that if we sincerely call on you as our Lord and Saviour, we will be saved?"

Through His written words, Jesus answers us; listen, for He says: "Not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven" (Matt 7:21). It is obvious, clear as crystal, that not all who call Jesus as Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, or be saved. However, we are told by Him to do the will of His Father in heaven. The point is: If we call Him, Lord, and at the same time do His Father’s will, we will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.

In our quest for truth, accompanied with our honest desire to be saved, we then go to the Father, and ask him, "Lord, we are told by your Son, Jesus, that when we pray and call Him, Lord, we are to do your will to be able to enter your kingdom. We request you, we pray, please tell us your will."

In Matthew 17:5, the last part of this verse, we read His answer. Our Father in heaven tells us, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Hear Him." What is the will of the Father? For us TO HEAR HIM, or be in total subjection to Him, His only begotten Son.

Our desire to be saved motivates us to go back to Christ, and again we ask Him, "Lord, we went to the Father and inquired of Him His will for us to do, so that when we pray and call you Lord, Lord, you will grant us the privilege to enter into the kingdom of heaven. But He told us to hear you. So, we came back to you."

Then immediately our Lord says, "But why do you call Me, Lord, Lord and do not do the things which I say... If you love Me keep my commandments" (Luke 6:46; John 14:15). This is where the problem lies, because although we call Him "Lord, Lord", we, sometimes, do not want to do the things He tell us to do.

Many honest God-fearing people unknowingly come short of this. Their great belief in Christ as Lord and Saviour of all, clouded their understanding, and so they miss one important thing that should go together with faith! To obtain salvation, one should let faith and obedience go together. Arithmetically, faith plus obedience equals salvation (F + O = S). In James 2:24, 26, we read: "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only... For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Paul adds, "And having been perfected, He (Christ - vod) became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him"; (Heb. 5:9). But obedience demands works —doing what one is told to do. The essence of this, therefore, mandates us to do the commandments of Christ to prove we really love Him, and we are in total subjection to Him, because we want to be saved. And so, this encourages us to ask a follow-up question of Christ, "Lord, what are your commandments? Please, tell us the things that lead to life everlasting."

Of course, there are many commandments of Jesus Christ. But since we are interested in His command that leads us to life, listen to what He says, "Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which LEADS TO LIFE, and there are few who find it" (Matt 7:13-14; emphasis mine —void). ENTER BY THE NARROW GATE is a positive command of the Lord. But why enter? Because this way LEADS US TO LIFE. And we are interested with this way —gate, door,— because the moment we are in it, we have obeyed the command of Christ, and at the same time compiled with the will of the Father in heaven, so when we pray and call Jesus, "Lord, Lord," He will grant us the privilege to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and be saved!

But still we are confused because of the existence of doors, or ways! So, again, we ask the Lord, "We do not know which way to follow, because there are so many ways before us. Which way, gate or door, are we to enter?

And the Lord replied, ‘Most assuredly I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All whoever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enter by Me, he shall be saved..." (John 10:7-9). We should not be confused! For Christ clearly declares He Himself is the door —the way. And He told us to enter by it in order to be saved, and have life.

"But Lord, how can we come to you if you are the door," we perhaps would reason out immediately. "In the first place, you are no longer here with us physically, for you have already ascended to heaven; and secondly, even if you are here on earth, how can we personally and possibly walk into your physical body?" Of course, we did not understand the Lord when He said, "I AM THE DOOR." The Bible clearly teaches us about the two bodies of Christ:

First, His physical body —Who was born of a woman, grew as a man like us; nailed at the cross; buried, but in the third day rose from the grave, and ultimately ascended to heaven. Secondly, His spiritual body, which is the Church. Paul wrote: "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to His Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all" (Eph 1:22-23). Also, read Colossians 1:18, 24.

Which of these bodies of Christ is the door, or way, we are commanded to enter to have life and be saved? If we can not walk into His physical body, especially that He is no longer with us physically, obviously, we are commanded to enter "the door", "the way", His spiritual body, the Church. But to be able to walk into His spiritual body, we must become members of the Church, through our humble obedience to Christian baptism. Once we are members of the Church, we have obtained the promise of salvation, because Christ Himself is the saviour of His spiritual body, which is the Church (Eph. 5:23).

In short, the moment we become members of the Church, we obeyed Christ’s command, and at the same time complied with the will of the Father in heaven, and so when we call Jesus as Lord and Savior, He will surely grant us the privilege to "enter into the kingdom of heaven", or bestow on us the promise of salvation. Furthermore, Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7). To abide in Christ means to be in His spiritual body, His Church; and to abide in His words, also applies to our complete —without reservation, nor addition and subtraction— humble submission to all the laws and ordinances of the Church of Christ.

Sincerely believing and calling Jesus as Lord and Savior is not at all a guarantee for salvation. True, this is one of the prerequisites. But we have to completely submit ourselves to Him, for this is the will of His Father in heaven. And as already pointed out, to completely submit ourselves to Christ means to become faithful members of the Church, the ONLY WAY that leads us to heaven. Entering and following another door, or way, is a very dangerous spiritual option, for Christ Himself warns, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber" (John 10:1).

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