Sunday, September 18, 2011

Look unto Jesus, not the 'church'

The Bible will tell you that redemption is in Christ Jesus and not in a Church. Eph 1:7 is clear on this point saying of Christ Jesus,
“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

The command of the New Testament is to,
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, (not the church,) and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).

Never ever do the Apostles direct people to put their confidence in the Church. The Church was not nailed to the cross, Christ was.

Jesus Christ is always the object of true faith. He, not any church, is the rock on which we rest with full confidence. We are to look “unto Jesus (not the church) the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2).

Jesus said, “Come unto ME (not the church) and I (not the church) will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)

The ‘True Church’ is in Jesus Christ! All who have trusted in Him and His substitutionary work on their behalf are already in that ‘True Church’. And since we are already members of the True Church we don’t have to join somebody’s notion of the same.

Writing to the believers in Corinth Paul says,
“Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular (1 Cor. 12:27).

Again he writes to the Ephesians,
“For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones (Eph 5:30).

Paul again speaks to the Colossians about the True Church saying,

“And He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church:” (Col 1:18).

All believers are joined in union with Christ. We are in fact “in Christ”. In Him we are members of the True Church, therefore, to trust in membership of some earthly organization, no matter how ancient, is to desert and abandon the Gospel.

It may be of interest to read, in this regard, what the Roman Catholic Church has to say about herself and her identity as the ‘True Church’. The following quotations are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1994. This is not, as some sensitive souls may suggest, to pick on Roman Catholics but merely to quote, from her own materials, what Rome clearly teaches about herself.

Paragraph 181 “Believing” is an ecclesial act. The Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. The Church is the mother of all believers. ‘No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church (Roman Catholic) as Mother’”

Paragraph 778. “The Church (Roman Catholic) is both the means and the goal of God’s plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the Old Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming cross and his Resurrection, the Church (Roman Catholic) has been manifested as the mystery of Salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Paragraph 816. “‘The sole Church of Christ (is that) which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it…. This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.’[LG 8 # 2.]

Paragraph 830. “The word ‘catholic’ means ‘universal,’ in the sense of ‘according to the totality’ or ‘in keeping with the whole.’ The Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. ‘Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.’[St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8, 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 311.] In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him ‘the fullness of the means of Salvation’

And from the Catholic Encyclopedia,

‘only by entering the Church (Roman Catholic) can we participate in the redemption wrought for us by Christ.’ (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Section 6 of The Church)

‘Incorporation with the Church (Roman Catholic) can alone unite us to the family of the second Adam, and alone can engraft us into the true Vine.’ (ibid)

‘Union with the Church (Roman Catholic) is not merely one out of various means by which salvation may be obtained: it is the only means.’ (Ibid).

But of course Rome does not stand alone in her denial of and opposition to the Gospel. There are many Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal groups who do exactly the same as they claim for themselves the honor of being the ‘True Church’. Again let us be clear on the matter, if they are the ‘True Church’ we should join them; if they are not then we must recognize they are going forth deceived and to deceive and no Gospel believing Christian can therefore afford to associate with their systems. We must learn to judge all things by the gospel!

The ‘True Church’ doctrine and the Gospel are diametrically opposed to each other. They both offer the same thing —acceptance with God; both can’t be true. Either acceptance with God is found in Christ or by belonging to the ‘True Church’—-either or….take your pick! If a church can make you accepted with God you don’t need Jesus.

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