Is it important to find the true church that leads to salvation? All churches that believe in and preach the Lord Jesus Christ can lead people to salvation. A person need not be affiliated with a particular church; he/she may join any church. Is this saying acceptable?
The Bible indicates that there is only one church that can lead people to salvation. There is only one church, just as there is only one body of Christ (1Cor 12:20; Eph 4:4). Other churches that preach a different gospel from that of the one church cannot guide people to salvation since they are not the body of Christ. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21). Those who do not preach or follow the true gospel of salvation cannot be accepted by God even though they might be “professed Christians.”
The true church that leads people to salvation must have the Holy Spirit. Any “church” that does not have the Holy Spirit does not belong to Christ (Rom 8:9), and is spiritually dead (Jas 2:26; see also 1Cor 12:13). The baptism it performs has no effect to cleanse sins because the authority to forgive sins is from the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:22-23) and the efficacy of baptism is also witnessed by the Holy Spirit (1Jn 5:6-8).
Since the Lord Jesus is the author of salvation, and not the church, isn’t it fine as long as I believe in the Lord Jesus and follow the correct path to salvation, and I will be saved; Is it fine if I don’t go to church?
The church is the body of Christ (Eph 1:22-23, 4:12, 5:23; Col 1:24). How can a person believe in Christ yet refuse to be a member of the body of Christ? True believers of Jesus Christ are members of the same body, i.e. the church (1Cor 12:12-13; 27-28). There is no doubt that Jesus is the author of salvation, but the Lord Jesus imparts His salvation through His church by sending His workers and giving His church the authority and power to forgive sins (Jn 20:21-23, Mt 16:18-19). Baptism, footwashing, Holy Communion, all of which have to do with believers’ salvation are performed by the church. A person must also pray for the Holy Spirit in the true church. Furthermore, the Lord is the savior of the church as a whole (Eph 5:23-27; see also Acts 20:28). Believers are not saved apart from the church.
While those who have been purchased by the blood of Jesus are already members of the church (Acts 20:28), it is necessary that the members stay in fellowship with one another in the Lord (see Acts 2:42-47). Church services are held for members to worship together (see Mt 18:20; Heb 12:22-24); to encourage one another (Heb 10:24-25; see 1Cor 14:3-4); to pray together (Mt 18:19-20, see Acts 1:14; 2:42; 4:23-31; 12:5,12); to edify one another with spiritual gifts (Eph 4:11-12,16), so that the body of Christ may be built up to become the dwelling of God’s Spirit (Eph 2:19-22) and be prepared as the bride of Christ (Rev 19:7; 21:2).
Knowing the importance to being in the body of Christ, i.e. His church, and also the importance of being in the church that is able to lead us to salvation, let us take our faith seriously and walk on the correct way He has shown us from the bible.
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