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Question #148

How can you say that the church of Christ are the only ones going to heaven?

I am a member of the Church of Christ and have been since birth but I do not believe that we are the only ones going to heaven and never will that is not the way I read what the Bible is saying. And I also believe it to be a sin to judge and that's what I would be doing if I said that. I believe in the Lord and follow what is written and I believe I will still see you in heaven.

The Answer:

This inquirer says that he follows what is written, but his question belies that claim. In fact he admits that he follows “the way [he] read[s] it.” If he is reading it wrong then what he is following is wrong.

It is interesting to note that he makes no attempt at all to address the discussions on Thy Word Is Truth. With a broad stroke he brushes it all aside with the assertion that he “does not believe” portions of what is discussed and, without argument, asserts that all “Christians” are going to be saved. Where is the biblical basis for his assertions? Search as you might you will find none. Not a single passage of scripture is referenced. His disagreements seem to be: 1) He doesn’t believe just members of the Church of Christ are going to be saved, and 2) He believes that he would be guilty of sin for saying that some are going to be lost because that, in his opinion, constitutes judging.

A person who makes unsupported assertions without Biblical support does not deserve an answer. However, whether deserving or not, issues have been raised and response will be given.

First, this Inquirer does not understand the church. He says that he is a member of the “Church of Christ.” Listen to the sermon on this website on the undenominational nature of the church. It states that if there is anywhere a denomination named the “Church of Christ” one does not have to be a member of it to be saved. Moreover, I would never want to be a member of it. The church of Christ is not a denomination.

What is the church of Christ? It is the assembly of the saved. One cannot be saved and not be in the church of Christ; one cannot be in the church of Christ and not be saved. The expression “church of Christ is not a name – it is a designation of ownership. It is the church that belongs to Christ.

Does our inquirer believe that one must be in the body of Christ to be saved? If so, in spite of his assertion to the contrary (and assuming that his problem with “Church of Christ” is just a spelling error instead of a Biblical misunderstanding), he does in fact that one must be part of the church of Christ (the church that belongs to Christ) to be saved.

How can this be? Simple. Scripture teaches that 22 … he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:22-23. And again, “18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18. Still again. “24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church;” Colossians 1:24. Can it be any plainer? The church is the body of Christ and the body of Christ is the church. If one can be saved outside of the church of Christ he can be saved outside of the body of Christ because they are one and the same thing according to scripture. Now which is correct? Our friend who asserts without support that one can be saved outside the church of Christ or the scripture that teaches that one who is outside of the body or church of Christ is lost? I am a member of the body of Christ. I was added to that body or, if you please, I was added to the church, upon being baptized for the remission of sins as a penitent believer. “And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.” Acts 2:47 (ASV).

If one can be saved outside of the church of Christ one can be saved outside of the body of Christ. If one can be saved outside of the body of Christ one can be saved outside of the blood of Christ because it is the body in which the blood flows. If one can be saved outside of the blood of Christ then grace is no more. If grace is no more than Christ is of none effect because “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17. Isn’t it sad that some folks are so anxious to be all inclusive that they take positions that have such reprehensible and illogical conclusions. It is even sadder when the one who, as here, takes that position makes no effort at all to defend it from scripture. Scripture is superseded by his “think sos” and supplanted by his personal inclinations. In short, he has displaced God and is making his own rules. This is quite a judgment for one who seeks to steer clear of judging!

The Inquirer’s second contention is that he doesn’t want to judge because he asserts that it would be sin to do so. If that is correct, he has just committed sin because it takes just as much of a judgment to declare them saved as it does to declare them lost. Our Inquirer is correct in one respect – he doesn’t make the rules; he doesn’t set the standards; he doesn’t determine the doctrine. That is God’s domain. However, a man who does not follow God’s rules, apply God’s standards, and declare God’s doctrines cannot be pleasing to God. If that is not the message of the entire Scripture it has no message at all. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6. What judgment is our Inquirer making when he declares that there is more than one faith and more than one baptism? You may protest that he has made no such claim. But while he has not articulated such a claim that which he has articulated necessarily implies that such is the case. The people whom he judged to be saved subscribe to different faiths and doctrines and have undergone different forms of baptism for different purposes. What other doctrines is he willing to surrender from the throne that he has usurped from God? Indeed, by what logic does he judge that there is only one God and one Lord when he releases faith from its “oneness” and baptism from its “oneness”? If he or others can be saved by any faith and by any baptism or no baptism at all, then why can the Jew not be saved by some Lord other than Christ? Does “one” not mean the same thing when applied to “faith” and “baptism” that it means when it is applied to “Lord”? I submit that it does. If our Inquiring Friend is loathe to apply God’s rules to anyone then no one is lost in his opinion and according to his faith. If so, on what basis? If he applies god’s rules to anyone then he should have no hesitancy is applying God’s rules to all. The truth is that he just doesn’t want to pay the price of standing up for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

By the way, please notice that our Inquiring Friend did lay aside his unwillingness to judge long enough to judge that Thy Word Is Truth is wrong in that which it teaches about the Scripture. If right and wrong is determined according to his standard his judgment may be correct. On the other hand, it right and wrong are determined by God’s standards, he has not only failed to make his case, he has completely failed to even attempt to make his case. He asks that you simply believe him. I would rather believe God who alone has the power to save. I understand that our Inquirer says that he “believes the Lord,” but nowhere does Scripture teach that which he is espousing. Since faith comes by the Word of God, Romans 10:17, and since that which he teaches is not found in the word of God, one may safely and necessarily conclude that it is not the Lord whom he believes. He has faith in HIS faith, and that is building upon the sand. Matt. 7:21-27.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)