What if God gave us a choice of plans of salvation? Option A is the church plan. Option B is the non-church plan. In other words, if you want to be a part of the church, fine, but if you’d rather get to heaven without the church, that’s OK too!
But what does the New Testament say? “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
The body is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18, 24). The body is not a union in name only, but a practical, functioning fellowship (Ephesians 4:15-16). This means people worshiping and working together for a common cause.
Just how important is the church? “. . . Christ also is head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body . . . Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:23, 25).
Being a part of the church is both easier and harder. It is harder in that we must work with others who may come from a very different background and who might not be easy to deal with. It is harder in that we have an obligation to help one another (Galatians 6:10).
But being a part of the church is easier than trying to make it alone. The encouragement we receive is worth so much, especially in times of loss or illness. And we can learn so much from one another!
Being a functioning part of the church helps counter our natural self-centeredness (Philippians 2:1-4). It helps us accomplish far more for the Lord than we could possibly do by ourselves, since our talents and resources are combined and coordinated in a marvelous synergism.
When members absent themselves on purpose and no longer participate in the work God has given the church to do, then can they rightly claim to be living within the will of God (Hebrews 10:24-25)?
Is that a viable option?
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/
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