Make it permanent

By LLOYD I. CASTRO

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IF WE WANT to be saved on Judgment Day, we should make sure our name is permanently written in the Book of Life in heaven. But first, we should make sure that it is really written there. Then, we must do all we can to make it indelible.

This is what the members of Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) are always urged to do, in keeping with the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ, thus:

“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20 New International Version)

So while Church Of Christ members exult over the God-given victories in its holy works, the Church Administration is quick to remind them not to be complacent, lest their names be removed from heaven.

The Book of Life
Having one’s name written in heaven is crucial to salvation:

“‘… Then there will be a time of troubles, the worst since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, all the people of your nation whose names are written in God’s book will be saved.’” (Dan. 12:1 Good News Bible)

God’s book mentioned here is the Book of Life (Rev. 20:12). One’s name being written in that book is what Christ referred to as its being written in heaven. It also means being among God’s people and being saved on Judgment Day.

On the other hand, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15 NIV). That is the eternal punishment.

Since we want to be saved, not punished, then let us make sure our name is written in the Book of Life.

Registered in heaven
Another Book of God, the Holy Scriptures, teaches how even now on earth we can be registered in heaven:

“And to the church, composed of all those registered in heaven; and to God who is Judge of all; and to the spirits of the redeemed in heaven, already made perfect.” (Heb. 12:23 The Living Bible)

Those registered in heaven compose the Church; they are the redeemed. The Church that has been redeemed with Christ’s blood is the Church Of Christ:

“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation)

Thus, joining the true Church Of Christ is vital. Its members are the ones redeemed or forgiven of sins and freed from punishment, counted among God’s people, have their names written in the Book of Life, and are certain of salvation.

To fully enjoy these benefits, though, we should make our registration in heaven permanent. That is, to be a committed member of Christ’s Church—for life.

Make it permanent
Membership in the Iglesia Ni Cristo should never be taken for granted. There is the danger that this might happen:

“Erase their names from the Book of Life; don’t let them be counted among the righteous.” (Ps. 69:28 New Life Testament)

When one’s name is erased from the Book of Life, he is no longer among the righteous. Deemed righteous are those put right with God through Christ’s blood (Rom. 5:8-9 GNB), that is, the Church Of Christ members.

Hence, losing membership in the true Church means having one’s name blotted out of the Book of Life. Such people, together with those not listed in heaven in the first place, will not be saved.

Be victorious
To keep our names in the Book of Life, we must be victorious:

“The victor will be dressed in white and I will never erase his name in the book of life; instead, I will acknowledge it before my Father and his angels.” (Rev. 3:5 Christian Community Bible)

Revelation 7:14-15 sheds light on what it means to be a victor dressed in white:

“… And he said to me, ‘These are the people who have come through the terrible persecution, and they have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb.” (An Understandable Version)

The Lamb of God is Christ (John 1:29). Those who are robed in white are washed or cleansed by His blood. As cited earlier, what Christ redeemed with His blood is the Church Of Christ. So the victors are those who, despite terrible persecution, held on as members of the Church Of Christ.

Be strong
To remain in the true Church and have our name permanently written in the Book of Life, we must prevail over persecution and other tests of faith. So, the Church Administration always reminds the members of the Church Of Christ to be devoted to the worship services. Not only is it a duty to God but it is also when they receive strength through His words and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 18:20; Eph. 3:16-17).

Church members are urged to take active part in all works of the Church and be zealous in fulfilling their Church duties (Rom. 12:11 CCB), one of which is sharing the gospel to others:

“And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.” (Phil. 4:3 New Living Translation)

Being dutifully and continuously involved in the Church’s evangelistic and other holy works keeps our names in the Book of Life. By sharing our hope for salvation to others, we are laying a solid basis for our own salvation (I Tim. 6:18-19). Thus, we will have all the reasons to rejoice, having the right to gain entrance into the heavenly kingdom:

“So then, my brothers, try even harder to make God’s call and his choice of you a permanent experience; if you do so, you will never abandon your faith. In this way you will be given the full right to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (II Pet. 1:10-11 GNB)

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