Why do they spend so much time at church?
Why do they do so much preaching?
Why do they try so hard to do the will of God (as the WMSCOG interprets it)?
Why do they give so much money to the church?
Because they are taught that they will only enter heaven if they are obedient. If they are lacking in perfect obedience, then they believe they are at risk of losing their salvation, and that's a serious fear.
There are numerous verses showing us that our salvation comes only by the grace of God. It is God's gift to us (grace) and not something we can earn (by our works).
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" -- Eph. 2:8.
"Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness." -- Rom. 4:4-5
Knowing that the World Mission Society Church of God places such a high emphasis on obeying all the commandments of God, I have often wondered what they think of God's amazing grace.
In talking with the WMSCOG, they do acknowledge that salvation is by God's grace. And occasionally, I can find written statements like this:
As ministers of the new covenant, we are like the baton, and God is the Conductor who holds us and accomplishes everything for our salvation.... Therefore, we should continuously give glory and praise to God for blessing us with salvation. We were sinners who couldn't save ourselves, to say nothing of others.... It is not by our works that we are saved and bear fruit.... And we should praise God the mighty Creator who made the universe and everything in it and saved us by His grace. (from Sing Praise to God)However, when I consider the rest of what the WMSCOG teaches, it becomes clear that their idea of grace, and my idea of grace (as a Christian) are vastly different.
When I examine what the Bible teaches about God's grace, I see that I cannot earn my way into heaven. It's God Himself who has blessed me with salvation by His grace. I have it already, and nothing I do can add to it or earn it. Though I should try to live in a way that pleases God, my failure at perfection does not affect my salvation. Salvation is given first, then good works follow.
I'm reminded of an analogy I once heard about our efforts to "help" God "pay" for our salvation. It's like being presented with a gift of a luxury automobile worth $1,000,000. When your benefactor pays for the car, you thank him for the gift, but say, "No, no. Please let me help you pay for that. I have a few quarters in my pocket...." And he says, "No. I know you could never afford this, that's why it's a special gift. Don't cheapen it by trying to help pay with your quarters."
On the other hand, when I read and hear what the WMSCOG teaches about God's grace, it's more like this. God has given you the opportunity to be saved. God, by His grace, has made salvation available. As long as you show you are worthy by obeying ALL God's commands (and don't forget about believing in "Heavenly Mother" too), you may receive God's gift of salvation and enter heaven. Salvation is available, but obedience gets it for you.
Using the same car analogy, we might picture our benefactor purchasing the car for us, but we are not allowed to actually receive the gift until we've shown him that we can save up $1,000,000 in our bank account to prove that we are worthy of it.
If you have a loved one in the WMSCOG, then you've likely already seen their striving to be worthy of that salvation. But just in case you wonder if that's what they are really being taught, I'll leave you with quotes from the WMSCOG themselves. There are a great many, so I'll try to control myself and not list them all, but I want you to see just how much they emphasize this. (And you are free to look up the sources and check the context for yourself.)
"However, only those who fully obey God's word can be said to truly believe in God.... If one defers doing the will of God, he is detestable and disobedient and unable to escape destruction." (from A Hesitating Faith and an Entrusting Faith)
"No one can be perfect without obedience.... Salvation is based on obedience.... Salvation is impossible apart from obedience." (from According to Your Word)
"We must keep in mind that we do not belong to God when we fail to wholeheartedly follow His teachings." (from Become a Greater Vessel)
"Washing feet [at Passover] might seem insignificant, but actually it is an important ceremony established by God for our salvation.... Only he who does not slight the least of God's words is worthy of being chosen by God." (from God's Chosen Ones)
"If one speaks thankful words, he will be one step closer to heaven; if he utters grumbling words, he will be one step closer to hell." (from Learn to Be Content)
"If we obey God's word, we will go to heaven, our eternal home. If we don't, we will be punished in hell." (from Let Us Know the Love of God)
"Those who do not keep the Sabbath cannot acquire the citizenship of heaven.... Jesus will turn His face away from them, saying, '...Do you know the reason why I have not granted you heavenly citizenship? Have you ever kept the Sabbath holy?' ... It is a qualification for the citizenship of heaven to celebrate the Passover.... He opened the way to the forgiveness of sins through the Passover of the new covenant.... Here is one more necessary condition for the heavenly citizenship-knowing God's name and celebrating God's feasts such as the Sabbath and the Passover." (from Let's Acquire the Citizenship of Heaven)
"When our Master comes back and settles accounts with us, we should all please and satisfy Him as ministers of the new covenant, saying, 'We have gained ten more talents by leading many souls to heaven.' Then He will say, 'Well done! You are worthy of My sacrifice.'" (from Like Christ)
"If we do realize that we are grave sinners, we shall serve others through our life. That is the way to expiate [atone for] our sins.... Never give up the opportunity of preaching which is God's sacred command and the way to receive the forgiveness of sins." (from Lord! I Am a Sinful Man!)
"Obedience is a necessary qualification to enter heaven. God, who is righteous and just, is ready to fulfill the gospel work when our obedience is complete.... We must obey everything that God has commanded us, even the least thing. God told us, "Be joyful always," and "Be united in love for one another." We have to obey these words, too.... When we forsake our own thoughts and submit joyfully to God's will, we can complete our salvation.... The 144,000 are the people who fully obey the word of God with joy and thanksgiving." (from One Man's Obedience and One Man's Disobedience)
"I believe that you, all the people of Zion, will have no regrets when you go back to heaven and confidently say that you have made every effort to preach the gospel. I hope all of you will live a life without regret, completely obeying God's will and saving all people around the world, as well as your family, relatives and neighbors. Then we will all be greatly loved and complimented by our Heavenly Father and Mother." (from Regret for Things That We Have Not Done)
"However, we cannot acquire eternal life without laboring for it; the crown of eternal life cannot be given to us without effort." (from Remain Faithful to God Until the End)
"When we remove all the impurities of our soul, we will receive spiritual blessings from heaven and become worthy to return to our heavenly home.... As the children of God, we must not only keep all of God's commandments but also purge away all our dross, in order that we may enter the kingdom of heaven. [dross = 'the evil and impurities of our soul,' 'everything that God does not proclaim as holy'] ... No one can be a spiritual being in the kingdom of God unless he is purified from the impurities of this world." (from Remove the Dross from the Silver)
"Now, we need to examine ourselves to see if we have faithfully tried to bear such beautiful fruit of enlightenment every moment since we were called by God.... If we have born no fruit unto God for many years, we are not worthy of His call. [fruit = a new convert] ... Haven't you awakened enough souls to be worthy of God's call yet? Don't worry. You can start now." (from Role of one person)
"In other words, there is no salvation, no eternal life, for those who do not observe the feasts." (from Salvation is Given to Those Who Celebrate the Feasts)
"If we disobey even a single command of God, we will end up being like Esau who gave up his birthright." (from The Firstborn of Heaven)
"It is the duty of God's people to thank God always. As God gave us the command to 'remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,' so He also gave us this command: 'Give thanks always.' ... Those who complain can never enter the kingdom of heaven." (from The Gifts of God)
"In order to enter the kingdom of God, we should always pay attention to God's word and carry out His will.... There are many wills of God recorded in the Bible. It is God's will that we should keep His commandments, laws and decrees. It is also God's will for us to have a disposition and faith worthy of God's people. Above all, there is an important teaching from God, which we should practice in order to enter the glorious kingdom of God. [1 Thess. 5:15-18] ... He who is full of complaints and is not joyful or thankful can never enter the kingdom of God. Only the person who is always joyful and thankful in the will of Father and Mother can go to the kingdom of heaven." (from The Kingdom of Heaven We Are Going to)
"The Bible teaches us that no matter how eagerly we may believe in God and however passionate our faith may be, if our deeds are not good, we will never be saved.... We must obey everything God has taught us, without neglecting it, no matter how small it is." (from The Life of a Christian)
"As the watchmen of the truth, let us follow God's command to save the world by leading all people to Zion where Elohim our Father and Mother dwell, who protect us from disasters through the Passover of the new covenant and give us the blessings of eternal life, so that we can repay Elohim for Their grace." (from The Mission of Watchmen and Signs of the Present Time)
"What is most pleasing to God is to lead dying souls to repentance and salvation. So, if this work of salvation is not processed well, how anxious and grieved God must be! Unless we have such a burning heart, it is proof that the Holy Spirit has left us. Even until the end of the year, if we bear no fruit or have no will to bear fruit or don't feel anxious, we should reflect on ourselves: ‘What's wrong with me?' ... [Let's] judge if our souls are alive or dead according to whether we have borne fruit or not." [remember, "bearing fruit" = recruiting a new convert] (from The Work of the Holy Spirit Is Fulfilled through Preaching)
"Only those who are spotless and blameless after Father and Mother are worthy to enter the holy city.... Unless we fully resemble God, we will be rejected by them and weep bitterly. We are to have the marks of Christ-suffering, loving heart, tireless enthusiasm for preaching the gospel of the new covenant day and night." (from Those Who Resemble God)
"Considering the above verse [1 Cor. 9:16], preaching is the whole duty of us all, isn't it? Unless a watchman performs his duty, he will be killed by the enemy or punished by death according to martial law. Likewise, unless we carry out our mission of preaching, we may lose our salvation.... As Christ's workers, let's faithfully fulfill our duty as a watchman and try to save many souls by using the talents God has given us, like the Apostle Paul did, so that we can all bear much beautiful fruit and attain salvation." (from Time to Preach)
"Since Jesus says we cannot see the kingdom of God unless we are born again, 'being born again' is the most urgent task for those who hope for heaven. Of course, we must obey every teaching God has given us in order to be born again, but unless we become gracious in our speech, we may fail to enter the kingdom of God.... The kingdom of God is really not a place where we can go just by spending time doing nothing. Since Jesus has clearly said that we cannot see the kingdom of God unless we are born again, we should make continuous efforts to be reborn. If you fail after trying once, please try twice, three times and more, forcefully advancing towards the kingdom of heaven. There is nothing we can't do if we try ten times or more." (from Unless We Are Born Again)