The Relation Of Christ
This is a misunderstood subject. Some believe
that the church has nothing to do with one's salvation. The Lord can save an
individual and he can never "darken the doors" of any church building and yet be
saved some think.
Others believe that the church has
practically everything to do with one's salvation. If a church can "sprinkle" an
infant and administer Last Rights at the end, little in between matters.
Still others believe that it doesn't matter
which church one is a part of, but to be saved people need to be in "some"
church. In fact, some think if they just attend or have some relation with some
church, somehow God will save them.
The truth is that Eph. 5:22-33 teaches there
is an inseparable relation of Christ to His body, the true church. The teaching
is that just as there is a relationship between our physical heads and the
bodies to which they are attached and lead, the same is true between Christ and
His spiritual body, the church. In this relation, Christ is its Head and Savior
(vs. 23), He loves it and died for it (vs. 25), He sanctifies, cleanses and
washes it (vs. 26), He will present it gloriously and without spot or wrinkle,
to His Father in the end of time (vs. 27). As people are saved from their sins
by His blood and as they are then by Him added to His church, and as they live
righteous lives He will nourish and cherish it (vs. 29).
The church's relation to Christ is that it is
His body and is what He saves (vs. 23), it is to be subject to Christ (vs. 23),
holy and without blemish (vs. 27), and it belongs wholly to Him.
As a head directs the activities of the body
connected to it, so must the church, the body of Christ, be directed by its
Head, the Christ. If it refuses to respect the Head's authority, it isn't
properly "connected" to the Head.
The only way to know if the church of which
one is a member is truly the body belonging to Christ, one can ask if the
teaching and practice of that church corresponds to the direction of the Head,
For example, the Head instructs that the
gospel concerning Himself should be preached, that people should believe it,
repent, and be baptized to be saved (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16: 15,16; Lk.
24:46,47). If the church of which you are a member does not teach this, or
modifies it, that church is not following the directions from the Head.
The Head instructs relative to the what, how,
and when of worship (1 Cor. 14:5,26,15; 11:23-26; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-4)
Preaching and teaching, eating the Lord's supper and giving as one has been
prospered the first day of each week, singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs,
and praying are what the Head directs. If the church of which you are a member
does not teach and practice these things, it is not following the directions
from the Head.
The Head directs that members of its body
should live righteous and moral lives (Gal. 5:19-21). Each member of the body
should avoid fornication (1 Thess. 4:3-7) and cut himself off from anything that
leads to it (Matt. 5:27-30). Marriage is to be for life (Matt. 19:6), and the
only honorable end to a marriage is either by death or divorce for the cause of
fornication when a mate is guilty of such (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). If a body (church)
does not teach and insist on these matters as the Head directs, it is not
connected to the true Head.
The spiritual mission of the Head (Jesus) is
seen throughout His life. He came to seek and save those who were lost (Lk.
19:10). While on occasion He fed thousands by miracles, the purpose of such was
to establish faith in their hearts that He was the Messiah (Jno. 20:30,31). When
people followed Him for food, He disappointed them by refusing to provide for
their physical desires. His mission was to feed the spirits not the stomachs
(read all of John 6). Likewise, His body (church) has a spiritual mission. It is
to support the truth preached (1 Tim. 3:14,15) since it is truth that saves
people (Jno. 8:32; 1 Pet. 1:22). It is to edify itself through further teaching
of the Scripture (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 14:5,26). Whenever the body has members
who need physical assistance, families and other members are to help (1 Tim.
5:3-16; Acts 11:27-30). However, if a body (church) provides social meals,
recreation, builds and maintains "fellowship (?) halls," family life centers and
other social programs for the fun and frolic of its members, it has disconnected
itself from the Head. The Head never gave directions for such, and consequently
these activities are without authority from the Head.
While the church is Christ's body of
penitent, baptized believers seeking to do His will, the church does not save.
It is the saved. God, Christ, and the gospel save, and each person who is added
by the Lord Himself to His church make up the saved (Acts 2:47).
Further, the church will not judge each
person. God will judge each individual by Christ (Acts 17:30,31), and the
standard of judgment will be the gospel of Christ (Rom. 2:16; Rev. 20:12). Some
think if the church of which they are members endorses a practice, such activity
must be right. That makes the church the head rather than Christ. The church has
no authority to legislate spiritual law; the Head has already spoken. The church
has not authority, but its Head, Jesus Christ, has all authority (Matt. 28:18).
Is your life directed by the "Head," Jesus
Christ? Does your life reflect His will, and are you an active, functioning
member of the Head's body, His church? If not, you need to be for the eternal
well-being of your eternal soul. We will be happy to help any way we can.