DOES THE CHURCH SAVE YOU?
The statement has been made many times that “the church does not save you.” Of course, we know that the church is not the savior. Jesus is the Savior (Matt. 1:21); but Jesus saves the church (Eph. 5:23), and the saved are in the church (Acts 2:47.) You can see that the statement “the church is not necessary to salvation,” when applied to the Lord’s church, is false.
We read, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the savior of the body.” (Eph. 5:23.) If you will read the verses that follow in this chapter, you will readily see the term “body” refers to the church. So Christ is Savior of the church. This statement could not be true if men are saved out of the church, and before they enter the church. If such were true, then Christ would be the Savior of men out of the church, and therefore, while in the world, but not the Savior of men in the church. Yet Paul says that Christ is the Savior of the church.
If the Lord saves people out of the church, every person who goes into the church would be saved before he enters. We know that this is definitely not true, for Ephesians 5:23 shows us that the Lord saves those who enter the Church — not those on the outside! While the church is not the savior, it is the saved! Men must be in the church in order to be saved. (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:23.) Their membership in the Lord’s church is an absolute necessity in order to be saved.
THE LORD’S CHURCH IS DIFFERENT IN TERMS OF ENTRANCE
Surely no one would doubt the right of Christ to make the terms of admission into the church, since the church belongs to Him and all authority is given to Him. Hence, our interest should be: What does He require? He is the door, and we must enter in harmony with His will.
FAITH IS REQUIRED
Jesus said: “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24) He also said, “He that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mk. 16:16.) We must believe, for “without faith it is impossible to please him (God).” (Heb. 11:6.) Faith is the first step toward righteousness (Rom. 10:10), and, necessarily, the first step toward the church.
REPENTANCE IS COMMANDED
Christ requires that we must “repent” or “all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3.) Repentance is a change of will (Mt. 21:28-31) and leads to life. (Acts 11:18.) God “now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30.)
CONFESSION OF CHRIST IS NECESSARY
Christ made the good confession before Pilate. (I Tim. 6:13.) Peter made the good confession which is, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mt. 16:16.) This caused Christ to pronounce a blessing upon him. (Mt. 16:17.) Christ has promised that “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Mt. 10:32.) Confession with the mouth leads to salvation (Rom. 10:10) and must, therefore, precede the saved state.
BAPTISM IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO BE SAVED
To be continued