By Foy E. Wallace, Jr.
The idea that one is first saved by some mystical or mystified, unintelligible or intangible process, and afterwards “joins some church” is a common religious delusion. Yet, there is no truth more plainly emphasized in the Bible than the fact that the process of being saved is the process of entering the church (Acts 2:47).
1. It is affirmed in Acts 4:12 that salvation is in Christ. Then, to have salvation, one must get into Christ. But Paul, by analogy, in Ephesians 5:30, teaches that as husband and wife are one, so Christ and the church are one. “I speak concerning Christ and the church,” he said. Christ and the church being one, how can one be in Christ and out of the church?
2. Paul makes the fact that Christ is “the saviour of the body” (5:23) the ground of his exhortation to the Ephesians concerning the church as the bride of Christ (5:25). He washed it and sanctified it, cleansed and saved it, purchased it with His blood and redeemed it, reconciles us to God in it, and adds all the saved to it. Therefore, out of the church there is no cleansing, no blood, no redemption, no reconciliation to God, no salvation.
3. The relation between Christ and the church is the same as that which exists between God and Christ. Christ is the “fullness” of God (Col. 1:19), and the church is the “fullness” of Christ (Eph. 1:22). Therefore, no man can come to Christ and ignore the church for the same reason that no man can come to God and ignore Christ.
We exhort the unsaved to come to Christ, “gladly receive the word,” be “baptized into Christ,” and the Lord will add you to His church.
- Foy E. Wallace, Jr.; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere Church of Christ, Belvedere, SC. Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website.