It has always been popular for people to talk about what the Bible says without ever
proving such by reading from the inspired word. Men have long loved darkness rather
than light because of their evil works (John 3:19). Such is still true in our
society, and the number seems to grow daily of those who absolutely do not desire
that the searchlight of God's word be focused upon what they believe, feel or think.
Even within the Lord's church there are those who passionately contend that the church has nothing to do with one's salvation. The old, "Give me Christ but not the church" mentality is alive and well in 2005. More and more people are subscribing to the false notion that because Christ saves us there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. In other words, one is saved by "faith only." This is exactly what those of denominational persuasions have taught for years, so it should not then come as a surprise that many brethren who feast on denominational books, attend denominational seminars and graduate from denominational seminaries are now believing and teaching their doctrine.
Those of denominational conviction will contend that no individual or church can know all of God's truth, and now we have so-called gospel preachers saying exactly the same thing. What is indeed sad is the fact that many brethren are soaking up such false teaching like a sponge, and all because they have listened to the appeal of an "educated scholar" (?) instead of listening to the simple truth of God's word.
It was Jesus who said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Everything that is essential for one to obey the gospel and live the Christian life can be known! The apostle Paul states that one can, "know the things of God" by that word which God gave us through men who were guided by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:11-13). The inspired word of God makes man complete regarding spiritual matters (2 Tim. 3:16-17). If one is complete, he is not lacking in anything. There is no new revelation from God. The gospel system, the faith, has "once for all [been] delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3 ASV).
False teachers seek to convince all who will listen to them that one cannot be sure of being right about anything. What this error does is open wide the floodgate for people to "do as they please" while never being condemned for wrongdoing. Such may be a comfortable doctrine, but it is easily shown to be false when placed in the light of God's word.
While people may agree that the Lord's church has some worthwhile qualities, they do not believe that it is necessary for one to be a member of it to be saved. This type of thinking paves the road that leads to "attending the church of your choice." After all, most believe that it is one's faith and trust in Christ only that really matters — not the church.
The fallacy of this type of reasoning is seen in the truth that Christ planned, purposed, and built His church (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 3:10-11; Acts 20:28). His church is so very important that He "gave himself for it" (Eph. 5:25). Christ promises that He will save the body, which is His church (Eph. 5:23-27???). All who believe what the Bible teaches agree that it is Christ who saves (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). But the question is, "where are the saved?" The saved are in the church! The Bible says, "And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved" (Acts 2:47 ASV). The church is not the Saviour, but it is made up of the saved.
The truth of the matter is that the Lord's church is of the utmost importance. Being a member of the Lord's church is not optional if one desires to go to heaven. One must be a member of the church for which the Lord died if he wishes to be saved. There is absolutely no way for one to be saved and remain outside the body of Christ (His church, Eph. 1:22-23). Salvation is in Christ (2 Tim. 2:10) and the Bible forthrightly teaches that one must be "baptized into Christ" to "put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27).
One is not saved before baptism. In recounting his salvation, Paul says that one came to him and said, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). One can clearly see that Paul was baptized before his sins were washed away!
Christ and His church are inseparable. No one can be saved without Christ and no one can be saved without being a member of His church. The Lord fervently prayed for the unity of all believers (John 17:20-21) and Paul taught by inspiration that there were to be no religious divisions (1 Cor. 1:10-13). One cannot follow a man-made doctrine and get to heaven.
Are you concerned about your soul? Are you interested in the truth? False teaching will always be exposed when placed in the light of God's word. Search the scriptures to see if you have been taught the truth (Acts 17:11).