To a Dismembered Church

“Let there be no divisions among you” echoes hauntingly in my mind every time I see churches divided by denomination. Methodist, Baptist, 7th day Adventist, Pentecostal, and other types of churches abound. The list is quite long.

The identity that one assumes as a Christian is that of new discipleship with Christ. To be true disciples, we must believe that Jesus is the son of God, that He died for the sins of the world, He rose from the dead, and He will return for those who love Him back. We must also understand that He and the Father are one, that He is the image of the invisible God according to Colossians 1:15, and that He is God according to John 1:1. Last but certainly not least, we must accept Him as our personal LORD and Savior. No one can make that choice for us.

With that said, there is division among (physical) churches (emphasis on “physical” because the real church consist of true believers from all around the world) which grieves the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus in human flesh was the human identity that God assumed when He embarked on His mission to save humankind. He was the body of God and as such, He walked in obedience to the Father.

After Christ accomplished His divine mission through His death and resurrection, He ascended to the Heavens to repossess His former glory as God. It left a void that He immediately filled, by sending the Holy Spirit, which empowers us and uplifts us. In this way, we have become the body of Christ. Consider this for a moment, because it is POWERFUL! As mentioned before, Jesus was the body of God (according to Colossians 2:9) and we are now the body of Christ. Consider how Jesus walked in perfect obedience to “the Father”. The Father is God who was still in Heaven even while He was simultaneously in Christ…and so Christ is God who became flesh. Now, we must walk in obedience to Christ who being called Immanuel (God with us), the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, and other names, showed us how to follow in His ways. Though we stumble, He paved the perfect illuminated path for us.

Unfortunately, we have divided ourselves and we can try to justify it as much as we want. We can say that God wants us to be set apart, and while that is true, He is the only one qualified to establish boundaries and set people apart. Often when people separate themselves based on something that God did not ordain, they do it wrong! Remember segregation? Do you see all of the negative effects that racism has had, or how “class” causes rifts between people? Do you see how women and men are at odds because of unequal pay for equal work? We often set ourselves apart in flawed ways.

The church has separated itself also. Contrary to what some false teachers may say, the church is not a building per se. Yes “a church” may be a building, but “the church” also known as “the body of Christ” is not a building. The body of Christ is the collection of believers all over the world who have dedicated their lives to following and serving Christ. It is the collection of believers in which the Holy Spirit of God dwells. When God breathed the Spirit of Life into mankind a long time ago, human beings became living souls. When God breathed His Holy Spirit (or Spirit of Holiness) into us, we became restored citizens of Heaven who have been reconciled to God (and eternal life) through Christ Jesus. We are not supposed to be divided and though we see that certain church buildings may be called Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist etc., the real church should not differ on its foundations. There are many foundations which need to be accepted as literal truth for us to be united in agreement. Among these foundations are that “All Scripture (especially Old Testament, but including New Testament scripture) is given under the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness”. We should know that God is the creator of all things, has authority over all things, does not change, and does not lie.

Human beings on the other hand are created, we are subordinate to God, we often change our minds, and we do lie. This is why according to 1 John 4:1, we should not believe every spirit, “but test them to see if they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world”. Some of them pose as sheep while they are really ravenous wolves. They preach about Jesus while bowing down to idols and graven images. They worship supposed angels and creations instead of the creator (Romans 1:25), etc. Many believe Mary the mother of Christ was divine. They forbid marriage and teach other doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4). They dare to change the ten commandments that God gave to Moses (Daniel 7:25). They dare to suggest that a human can be Christ’s equal (Vicarius Filii Dei, the false prophet Mohammed, Bhudda) when in truth, no pope, no cardinal, no bishop, false prophet, or founder of any other religion could perform a legitimate miracle, raise themselves from the dead, atone for the sins of mankind, or at least live a perfect sin-free life. Jesus did all of those and more to show that He was (and still is) divine! We must test the spirit because human beings can lie, but God does not lie.

Each of us in the body of Christ should acknowledge the deity of Jesus because the whole Bible points to Him. All the genealogies from Adam and Eve terminate at the birth of Christ. After this, it’s no longer important to find out where anyone else came from. Buddha, Mohammed, Pope So and So, even Miguel A. Valembrun Jr. did not live sin-free lives. They did not willingly die so their blood could atone for anyone’s sins. None of them deserve to be called the way, the truth, and the life. I know I will never deserve praise no matter how Christ-like I become. I only follow the one who actually lived life in perfect righteousness and even then, I stumble.

“As the scriptures say, no one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God (It is God who really seeks us out and we may choose Him when we’re found). All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one. Their talk is foul (referring to explicit and profane or “mature” language), like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies. Snake venom drips from their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They rush to commit murder (murder by the by is not always physical. To hate one’s brother or sister is akin to murdering their self-worth as abuse can also be emotional). Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all. Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are”. This was an excerpt taken from Romans 3:10-18

Jesus is the only way to our Heavenly Father. No other human being was good enough to atone for the sins of mankind except the one who forever changed history. Everyone who knows today’s date should know that we have been counting for more than 2,000 years after the year 0 A.D. (Anno Domini “Year of Our Lord”). We have not been counting since Buddha’s birth, or Mohammed’s birth because they didn’t change our sinful state. They did not open the door to be reconciled with God, who were they? Mortal sinners? Jesus was called Emmanuel meaning God with us because He was the very God of creation who loves us so much He wanted to give us a chance to escape the punishment He has in store for those who live the life of separation from Him that Satan chose.

Whoever does not choose God chooses death. They choose to be apart from the source of their life (the one who can give it and take it away). They choose to be apart from the one who teaches them righteousness (by choosing pleasures without self-control, learning impatience, selfishness, greed, jealousy, hatred…etc.). So who in their right mind thinks they can pray enough to face an all powerful and perfectly Holy God on their own? Without our mediator (Jesus Christ), we do not stand a chance! Jesus is the truth. Other religions inspired by Biblical doctrine (such as the Quran) lack this very important element. His birth, death, resurrection, and the significance of it all make a difference in how we can even dream of approaching a perfect God. He is indeed “the life” and He demonstrated His dominion over both life and death by resurrecting a dead girl, resurrecting Lazarus, causing an unfruitful fig tree to wither and die, laying down His own life when He commanded His spirit to leave His body on the cross (instead of commanding infinite power to enter Him so He could flaunt His divinity). While many allegedly believe Jesus performed amazing miracles including resurrection from the dead, they still doubt He resurrected Himself. It’s interesting that no one besides Him has ever raised others from the dead. Not only was He able to do that, but He also promised He could resurrect Himself. Therefore I take His word over theirs.

Let us not be divided. We know that Christ has authority over life and death. We know He rose three days later. The evidence of His death and resurrected life exist but denial can be as poweful as we allow it to be.

The Gospels are about Christ. The subsequent chapters from the book of Acts onward discuss the effects of the Holy Spirit which came down after Christ to prepare us for His return. So why do we continue to separate ourselves? It’s so easy to test all spirits with God’s word and with the Holy Spirit which He sent to us. The hard part is making up our minds that the Bible is the ultimate authority, but once we do, shouldn’t we agree on the same core principles?

Body of Christ, it is high time we put aside the divisions that stifle our ability to win souls for the Kingdom. If we fail to do so, the Enemy will win more battles. We know the war of our souls has already been won. There is only one outcome; God triumphs. Nevertheless, the total number of casualties can be reduced if we put aside the differences and reach out to more people with the same message of love, forgiveness, and salvation. Christ died for our sins. No one else did, or would have even wanted to. Although some other people went on to write books with superficially similar teachings, only Christ freed us from the wages we deserve for our sin. We cannot do anything to “earn” salvation. Facing east or west when praying, repeating Hail Mary’s, meditating for hours, fasting, taking vows of silence, etc…do not undo the sins we’ve committed. None of these acts could ever make us worthy…and anyone who believes they can become worthy enough to face a 100% pure God sins by the mere act of their prideful (self-exalted) thinking.

Jesus Christ who came with this simple message for all. If you accept Him as your LORD, savior, and call upon Him, you will be saved. For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son to fulfill a promise. Whosoever would believe in this son of God would not perish but have ever-lasting life. It is significant when we understand that from the book of Genesis, God has proven Himself to be a God of His word. Jesus was promised from the beginning. He was the seed who would crush the serpent’s head and He did just that for all of us!

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