The Church of Christ
All of us who are trusting in Jesus Christ as our Lord and
Savior are members of the true church of Christ. We are members of His body. We
have experienced the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His
grace. “We are accepted in the Beloved,” and we are “redeemed through His
The moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ we are born
again, and at the same time placed in the body of Christ in a vital union with
Him. The essence of saving faith is to rest upon Christ alone for eternal
salvation. We trust in the atonement and the righteousness of Jesus Christ to
save us. Saving faith is to trust in Jesus Christ and what He has done for your
Our justification is an instantaneous act from the moment
we believed on Christ as our Savior. Justification is completed in one instant
never to be repeated. It is complete the moment a sinner believes on the atoning
death of Jesus Christ. In that moment is the remission of all our sins. In that
moment we are made clean by the blood of Jesus.
What a gracious joy to know that in one single instant we
are declared just, complete in Christ, without a sin, freed from all its
condemning power, guilt and iniquity. In an instant a person is pardoned. Never
again will the Christian ever be unjustified! “There is therefore, now no
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
From the Day of Pentecost on as each believer became saved
he also became a member of the body of Christ. It is impossible to be saved and
not be a member of the church, which is Christ’s own body, because a part of the
divine work of salvation is the uniting of the individual to Christ by the
baptism with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13).
Every Christian is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the
body of Christ at the moment he or she believes on Jesus Christ to be saved. We
are by the Holy Spirit brought into the body of Christ. This baptism into the
body of Christ is not limited to any particular group of believers. Every
Christian, from the moment he believes in Christ and is saved is baptized by the
Holy Spirit into the body of Christ and therefore the universal church of
Christ. The church of all the people of God, all the redeemed, all believers is
the real and only Church of Christ.
Are you a member of the true church of Christ? Are you a
member of His body? Have you been saved by the grace of God alone through faith
in the atoning sacrifice of Christ?
It is obviously true that an individual may be saved and
not be a member of a local organized church. All born again believers should
declare their identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus by
believer’s baptism, and become a member in a Bible-believing congregation.
Moreover, water baptism and church membership are not
required for salvation. The true church of Christ is composed of all people who
have repented of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior
and who are thus joined together in one living union by the baptism of the Holy
Does an individual have to be baptized in order to be
saved? Yes, if you are referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit when you
believed on Christ as your Savior; however no, if you are referring to water
The New Testament refers to the “church” in two ways. The
main emphasis is on the church as a living organism, a vital living union of all
true believers in Jesus Christ.
The second category is the local church, which is composed
of professing Christians in any local community (1 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:1; Phil.
The only candidates for membership in a visible local
Bible-believing church are individuals who have put their faith in the work of
salvation of Jesus Christ, and have given testimony of their salvation by water
Every person who is a candidate for baptism and church
membership must give a clear testimony as to their salvation. Am I saved? Have I
believed in Jesus Christ? Have I been born again? Church membership is simply
the recognition of the profession of saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is to join
the fellowship of other believers of kindred spirit.
You do not have to be a member of the local Church of
Christ, or be baptized by one of their officials in order to be saved.
If you are looking for a perfect church, you will not find
one on this earth. If you did find one, they would not let you become a member
because you are not perfect. However, do find a local group of believers in the
area where you live who are saved by grace through faith, and who are nearest to
the Scriptures in doctrine, the ordinances of the church and practice. Become a
member of the local church regardless of what tag their wear.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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