Tracts From the Past – Christians Outside the Church?

Here is another tract written by James Bales.  The date is unknown, but the content is well worth reading.

Christians Outside the Church ?

JAMES D. BALES

One can be a good moral man outside of the church, but can one be a Christian without being a member of the church which is the body of Christ? The New Testament only can furnish us with the answer.

WHAT IS THE CHURCH?

If one can be a Christian outside of the church it is evident that one can be a Christian outside of what the church is. The church is:

(a)  Composed of the called out (John 17: 14, 20; 2 Thess. 1:1;.2:14; 2 Tim. 1: 8-9).

(b)  The kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:18, 19; Col. 1:13; Mk. 9:1; Lk. 24:47; Acts 1:8; 2-1-, 47; 8:12; 28:31)

(c)  Composed of those who have been born again (John 3:5).

(d)  The house of God (1 Tim. 3:15).

(e)  The pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).

(f)   Composed of the sanctified (John 17:17, 20; 1 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1).

(g)  The body of Christ (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22, 23; 1 Cor. 12:27).

(h)  The saved are added to it (Acts 2:41, 47).

(i)    Baptized into it for we are baptized into Christ (Acts 2:41, 47; Gal 3:27).

What person, who knows the Bible, will affirm that one can be a Christian and not be in the church? Of course, the church does not make a person a Christian; obed­ience to the gospel does that. However, when one obeys the gospel God adds him to the church. All Christians are in, not outside of, Christ.

WHAT IS IN THE CHURCH?

If one can be a Christian outside of the church, one can be a Christian without that which is in the church. The church is the body of Christ. What is in Christ? Here is the scriptural answer: salvation: forgiveness; saints; the faithful; spiritual blessings; the chosen; the accepted; re­demption; no condemnation; the gathered; the inheritance; the sealed, the quickened, and the raised; God’s spiritual workman­ship; the covenant relationship: those who have been made nigh by the blood of Christ; the one new man; the reconciled; the holy temple inhabited by God’s Spirit; God’s promises to both Jew and Gentile; God’s wisdom is made known through the church; access; glory to God; truth; the inheritance; grace and members of His body (Acts 4:12; 2:41, 47; Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:14; Eph. 1:7; 1, 3. 4, 6, 7; Rom. 8:1 and Gal. 3:27; Eph. 1:10, 11, 13; 4:30; 2:5-6, 10, 2, 3, 6, 21-22; 3:6, 10, 12, 21; 4:21; 5:6, 9, 30; 2 Tim. 1:9).

All these things are in Christ and no one who knows and respects the Scriptures can maintain that one can be a Christian and be without these things. The important question is: How does one come into Christ? Paul taught that we are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27). Scriptural bap­tism is the burial and resurrection, with Christ, of a penitent believer (Rom. 6:2; Col. 2:12; Matt. 28:19f Mk. 16:16).

GOOD MORAL MEN NEED SALVATION

Christ purchased the church with His precious blood and it is composed of the re­deemed (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:18; Col. 1:14). Christ placed great value on the church and those who maintain that they can be Christians and remain outside of the church, do not realize the mind of Christ on this subject. Furthermore, they overlook the fact that one can be a good moral man and still be lost. Cornelius was devout, religious and moral but he had to hear words whereby he was to be saved (Acts 10:1; 11:14). Christians must be morally good but moral goodness alone does not make one a Christian. Cornelius, a good moral man, had to be baptized into Christ, into His church. And so do you, if you have never been buried and raised with Christ for the remission of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

Becoming a Christian, and becoming an actual member of the church, amount to the same thing. That which puts you in­to Christ, puts you into His church, The baptized are added, the saved are added, to the church for baptism is into Christ (Acts 2:41, 47; Gal. 3:27). Of course, to have meaning baptism must be preceded by faith and repentance and be a part of the obedience of faith.

Search the Scriptures diligently and you will be led to the conclusion that one can­not be a Christian and be outside the church. Christ is the Savior of the church, which is His body, and you must be in that body (Eph. 5:23). Do not reject God’s word on this subject for by His word you are to be judged (John 12:48).

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