One New Man

November 20, 2009 at 5:36 am (Doctrinal)

About the “One New Man” of Ephesians 2:15 that the Iglesia ni Cristo claims to be “Christ and the Church”, the passage inside the right context is as plain as it reads. Paul was talking to the Ephesians “who were pagans physically” (v 11) together with all the pagans and thus distinct from Israel — “aliens with no part in the covenants” (v 12). These two groups that become one new man are the covenant people — Israel – and the pagans “who were far away” (v 17; cf. v 13) that become one body of Christ. In this part of the letter, Paul was talking about “you and us” which obviously refer to the Israelites and the so-called Gentiles or pagans. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul further elaborated the differences in which individuals are divided into different groups and how Christ “broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart” (v 14): “all baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Ga 3:27-28). The same was written to the Romans: “When Scripture says: those who believe in him will have no cause for shame, it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask his help, for everyone who calls in the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rm 10:11-13). The one new man is not composed of Christ and his Church as the Iglesia ni Cristo claims it to be. This new man is Jesus Christ himself whose mystical body — the Church — is composed of everyone who calls on the name of the Lord and have received “the spirit of son” (R 8:15).

This concept of one new man, as plain as it can be, was twisted by the Iglesia ni Cristo in order to claim that it is only them, and the first century Church, who will be saved because only those who were physically membered to this alleged “body of Christ” are the redeemed. This lie that Christ and his Church are the one new man was partnered with the passage that reads, “Fathers my not be put to death for their sons, nor sons for fathers. Each is to be put to death for his own sin” (Dt 14:16). The Iglesia ni Cristo argues that Christ cannot save the world from its sin because that sin is not his own; however, they say, those who will be members of Iglesia ni Cristo will be parts of the body of Christ and so their sins will be his own, and his death on the cross will be their payment and redemption. Sounds plausible — yet, it is not. First of all, the point of Deutoronomy 14:16 is about individual responsibility. No man can morally pay for the trespasses of others, although it may be legally possible. God’s justice is moral, and so it requires payment from the same debtor. However, since man can do nothing to pay the eternal price for the eternal debt to the eternal God; and since God’s love is eternal, “he gave his only son” (Jn 3:16) — begotten from eternity, and so is eternal — so that the world may be saved through belief in him. This act of God’s love through Christ, however, did not diminish the accountability of each individual, since they are still held responsible for their actions and non-action in that matter. Each one is responsible for his own soul as justice requires. Christ’s redemptive act, however, made it possible for man to pay for his debts, that is to offer for the eternal offense of his sin an eternal sacrifice who is Jesus Christ himself. “If there is no shedding of blood, there is no remission” (He 9:22); and yet, even if one dies a thousand times, he cannot pay even for just a single sin, because the taker of the offence is an eternal God. It should take an eternal man both to offer the sacrifice and be the sacrificed victim for the remission of sin. Only Jesus, of all men, can do this as he himself said, “I tell you most solemnly, before Abraham ever was, I am” (Jn 8:58), and John the Baptist also gave witness to the eternity of Jesus when he said, “He who comes after me ranks before me because he existed before me” (Jn 1:15). In short, Jesus — both the High Priest and the lamb — offers sacrifice and being sacrificed eternally to take away “the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29) and not only of those who are formal members of his Church. John also emphasized that truth in his letter: “He is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but the whole world’s” (1 Jn 2:12). The lie about the Iglesia ni Cristo’s one new man is neither logical nor scriptural. God wants everyone to be saved (1 Tm 2:4) and he is able to do that; actually, he already did. To say that those who were and will not be members of the Church are destined to be condemned is mindless. God is not stupid as they present him. In fact, “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom” (1 Co 1:25).

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We Celebrate Life

November 2, 2009 at 3:01 am (Commentary)

Do we really have a feast for the dead people? Some Filipinos named November 1st “Araw ng mga patay,” “Pyesta ng mga patay,” or simply “Pyestang Patay” that would literally mean dead feast – a feast that has no life. Weird as it sounds, but Filipinos are so accustomed to the name and to their idea of the day that they don’t bother to analyze what they are doing and saying.

November 1 is All Saints Day or what others call Todos los Santos. It is not about dead people or about celebrating their death. We celebrate life, not death. We commemorate the life of our loved ones who, though physically dead, are more alive than when they were with their bodies. We are also praying for them not because they are not holy enough to be with God in heaven, but because we acknowledge their imperfection as human beings. We believe that they are destined for heaven, and that they might be with God already. But there is still a possibility that they are not perfected yet for their new life, just like a gold piece is being perfected on fire, experiencing the cleansing heat of furnace. It doesn’t mean they are not gold because they go through that suffering; instead, God purifies them to make their real worth show.

As the Scripture says, “God is not God of the dead but of the living,” and so we don’t exult death, and we don’t have feast for dead people. We celebrate the entrance of God’s saint’s into their new life – a life where sin, sufferings, hunger, diseases, and death exist no more. We are praising the Artist for his masterpieces and praying that he would finish his work on those who haven’t had his last touch yet.


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Araw ng mga patay?

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