IDENTIFYING THE ONE TRUE CHURCH

 

Roman Catholics say theirs is the ONE true church; so do Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other groups as well.  Hmmmm...somebody is wrong!!  Which church (or churches) have God's authority behind them?  

    According to Acts 2:47, those who are "saved" are added to Christ's church by the Lord!   It is a spiritual body or group, not an earthly denomination.   

"And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

What does "saved" mean? 

It means rescue from the penalty of our sins, and those saved are seen in Revelation 21:24-27 as being forever in the new heaven and earth with access to the very throne of God.  That is the end-result of salvation.  It means much more than that; it means primarily a personal relationship with God that starts when we believe and never ends, and is thus called eternal life.

So the question becomes "How is a person saved?" 

This is where confusion enters in, but the truth is that the means of being saved is indicated over 125 times in the Bible! (Click here here for list)  It is FAITH, or BELIEVING.     Let's start with  Romans 1:16:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,
to the Jew first and also to the Greek (non-Jew).

This verse tells us we can be saved (gain salvation) APART from some earthly ritual or process or chosen authority (person).  The POWER that makes it happen is in believing  a message called the GOSPEL.  The gospel is defined in I Corinthians 15:1-4  as Christ's death, burial, and resurrection for our sins.  Forgiveness (a part of salvation) likewise is ours NOT through an authorized person, but through  BELIEVING in Christ:

To him give all the prophets witness
that whosoever believeth in Him receiveth
forgiveness of sins.  Acts 10:43

So we can be "saved" just by believing a message and  "forgiven" just by believing in Christ.  Romans 5:1 says that we can be  "justified"  by faith as well. Other terms for being saved are born again, redeemed, becoming a child of God (John 1:12), eternal life (John 5:24) and all are stated as ours by FAITH in Christ. 

We learn more about the true church in  I Cor. 12:12-13.  It shows that all who are baptized (generic use of the word, referring to being introduced into or initiated into) into the Body (the church) are baptized into that body   BY  the Holy Spirit.  This action is spiritual, not related to human hands or water.   What causes the Holy Spirit to place us into this body that is in other places called the church?   He does so on the basis of our FAITH in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  (II'm sure you see the pattern here!)

"Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law,
or by the hearing of faith?  Are you so foolish?
having begun in the Spirit,
are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 
So then they which be of faith are blessed
with faithful Abraham." Galatians 3:2-3,9

 

A PROBLEM:

You know, faith is only as good as its object.  Faith in a leaky boat only gets you........wet!  Many have been led to believe that it is faith in both what Christ did for us, and in what we do ourselves added to it that will save us.  The list of added requirements is endless...church membership, obeying the commandments, giving money, witnessing, confessing sins, repenting of sins, forsaking sins, praying, and more.   These are to  help us grow and show our love for Christ, but none are listed in the Bible as how to either GET saved or STAY saved.   The problem with all these added requirements is that if they really were required they would probably nullify our being saved if we didn't obey the whole list perfectly.  But the  BIGGER problem is simply that when you add anything to the sacrifice of the precious blood of Christ to save you, you devalue it.   Jesus did ENOUGH...on the cross He said,  "It is finished."  That is an accounting term meaning paid in full.  If you have questions about these types of other requirements... contact us.  Let's talk about them!

A related article you might be interested in has to do with "once saved always saved."  It is a complete study of the topic, including both "pro" and "con" verses on the subject.  (Click here)

 

WHAT ABOUT BAPTISM? 

Click here for information on this topicBaptism

 

Here is something to think about:   Nowhere in the Bible are we told to seek or find the  "one true church".   The focus instead is on what we believe.  The idea is this: are you believing the TRUE gospel or a FALSE gospel?  THAT is what is going to decide your spiritual state!  Galatians chapter one CURSES those who teach a false gospel!

The ONE TRUE CHURCH consists of all in whom God's Spirit dwells
because of their faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sins,
regardless of what denominational label they do or do not wear.

 

The one true church?   We may be asking the wrong question. 

 I would suggest that the question OUGHT to be... "Am I believing the TRUE gospel?" 

To explore that, click here: True or False Gospel

 

Questions?  Comments?  E-mail Sainttalk@cableone.net

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Are Mormons Christians?

The Missing Teaching  Does your church teach this?