Many doctrines are taught on the relationship of the Lord’s church to salvation. All cannot be right as many conflict and contradict. The Bible does not contradict itself. God does not lie. (Titus 1:2) Our only sure source for the answers to our religious questions is the Bible. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
At the point that one is saved from his sins the Lord adds him to His church. Notice Acts 2:38,41,47: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls….And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Membership into the Lord’s church is automatically obtained at salvation. There is no need for a vote by a group of men or even for one saved to petition or join it. The Lord takes care of this. One who believes the Gospel and is baptized in His name or by the authority of Christ is saved and added to the Lord’s church. Study also Mark 16:15,16; 1 Corinthians 12:13. Yes, the Bible declares one must be in the Lord’s church in order to be saved.
The Bible teaches that those saved are also added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:38,41,47). It declares that Christ is the Savior of the body, His church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23-24). The way one becomes a member of the Lord’s church is the process that saves and makes one a child of God. By faith, repentance, confession of Christ and baptism one is saved (Mark 16:15-16; Romans 10:9-17; Acts 2:38-47; l Corinthians 12:13).
What of a teacher who says, “You don’t need to be in our denomination to be saved”? Whereas the Lord teaches one must be in His church to be saved such a statement implicitly declares that denomination not to be the Lord’s church. Some will say to you, “Believe only and you will be saved.” Later they encourage you to be baptized to become a member of their religious organization. By this it can be seen that that religious organization is not be the Lord’s church which one enters at the point of faith and baptism.
The Bible shows that when First Century saints obeyed the Gospel in baptism God also added them to His church. God, who is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35), will save us and make us members of His church today just as He did then. If not, why not?
In the Bible, God records men being saved and added to His church. He makes not so much as one reference of any denomination! HJS