Converted to Christ or the Church


unchurched

Today Christians no longer address unbelievers as “heathens,” “pagans,” “unregenerate,” “unsaved,” “reprobate,” or “sinners.” Instead, we kindly refer to them as “unchurched”, as if the Church is the unbeliever’s great need.

The Church cannot die to redeem a life dead in trespasses and sins.

The Church cannot convert the soul from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.

The Church cannot bestow the gift of eternal life.

The Church has no righteousness to bestow on the unrighteous.

The Church is not the goal in salvation, nor the means to salvation.

The Church is not what sinful men and women need, as if the Church can or has saved anyone. We have made Christianity about the Church – not Christ. People are without Christ and must be converted to Him, not to His Church. Once the reprobate is converted to Christ, he will then become part of the Church.

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).

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5 thoughts on “Converted to Christ or the Church

  1. Hello, I just found your blog and plan on looking through it. I have a couple of questions regarding this article.

    Before I ask them, I would say that qualitatively I agree with what you have claimed “The Church” can not do/is not. However I might have been a little more specific with my language in a couple of those points.

    1. What do you mean when you say “The Church”? 2. What, in your estimation, is the purpose of “The Church”?

    1. Thank you, John, for both reading and commenting. In answer to your questions:

      (1) The Biblical word “church” means “called out ones.” It is applied in two distinct fashions: what we may call the visible and the invisible church.

      The visible, or local church consists of those who gather together in a local area. While intended as a gathering for worship of the Godhead and instruction in righteousness for born again believers (Jn 4:23-24), it must be realized that the unregenerate may also gather among the saints (Mt 13:24-30; 1 Cor 14:23).

      The invisible, or universal Church is made up of God’s elect from the Day of Pentecost through the end of this age. This single (Eph 4:4) triumphant Church consists of only the regenerate, and is the body of Christ (Col 1:18).

      (2) My estimation of the purpose of the local church is the corporate worship of God and the instruction and encouragement of the saints in righteousness. The purpose of the invisible Church is to glorify God (Eph 3:21).

      There are some who believe that the church, as an institution, is the repository of grace and that grace is bestowed through the institution and the practice of its sacraments. While finding place is a long history of tradition, this view finds no place in Holy Scripture. Here I follow the Reformers, that salvation (and the benefits of that salvation) is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to the Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone.

      Salvation is not through attending a local church, but through salvation in Christ, one becomes a member of the universal Church and will attend a local church.

      This is far more theological than I prefer to get in my blog, but hope that it is helpful to you and answers your questions fully. Grace and peace to you in Jesus.

  2. Thank you for your response Mr. Rice. My concern is that your post seems to minimize the role of the church. The church is not just something we “go to” on Sundays before the game comes on.

    Jesus placed the ultimate value on it. “…Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

    If it is that important to Jesus, maybe we should make it a priority in our lives as well.

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Attending church services is of vital importance to the spiritual development of the saint – but attending church cannot and does not save anyone. Salvation is in Christ alone – not in the body of believers. American churchianity has wrongly made church attendance the Saviour.

      Christian marriage – one man and one woman – is the representation of Christ’s love for His Church and the Church’s submission to her Head. Still, Christ alone is the Saviour of the sinner; His Bride cannot save anyone. Neither does associating with the Bride make one a wife of the husband.

      1. There is a great salvation in striving together with a local body of believers to learn more about Christ and to help spread his good news.

        I’m not talking about eternal salvation, but the salvation that is available right here and now. Peter told them in Acts 2 “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” In other words don’t join the church because that’s how you get to heaven, but join the church because that is the place where salvation is found in this world from people whose “every thought is evil continually”. The church is our “Noah’s Ark” a refuge from the storms and floods of life.

        Jesus saved our souls, eternally speaking, through His perfect sacrifice to God. He instituted the church to save us from “this untoward generation” while we sojourn here and look to home.

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