Are Members of the Church of Christ the Only Ones Going to Heaven? (2)

by Richard Mansel
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28, NKJV). The church Jesus built is his body and his glory (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 3:20-21). This church, “purchased with his own blood,” bears his name because he owns it. Christ died for the church, it is his body and his children reside in this body.
If Harry purchases a field, it belongs to Harry and no one else. We call it Harry’s land because it belongs exclusively to him. Likewise, Christ has a Church and to choose our own name for it is to step beyond our boundaries.
Christ desires that his church remain pure since she is his bride and bears his name (Ephesians 5:22-32; Romans 16:16). He “sanctifies and washes” her and ensures that she has no spots or wrinkles (Ephesians 5:26-27). He fiercely protects her (Ephesians 5:29; cf. Matthew 16:18) and does not allow anyone to defame and corrupt her. We submit to his will and not our own. His church will operate as he desires, or face consequences (Colossians 3:17).
We must enter this kingdom according to God’s will or we are never going to be in it. Millions consider themselves Christians when they have disobeyed God’s will on salvation. They will be lost despite their protestations. Expecting to have our sins remitted in direct opposition to what Christ commanded is futile. Accordingly, these individuals have eliminated any chances of being in the Lord’s church as long as they persist in their error. Churches that facilitate their error cannot ever be the Church of our Lord. Sadly, almost all of them fall within this category.
We are added to the kingdom when we submit to God in baptism (Acts 2:47). We are in his church. Being in his church and bearing his name is a privilege. He commands us to “walk worthy” of this calling (Ephesians 4:1). We cannot enter and begin telling him what to do. We are here at his privilege (John 15:1-8). Biblical authority is therefore more than just a passing idea. It is an absolute requirement if Christ will truly be the unchallenged head of the church. Jesus built the church, adds it members, and shed his blood for her. Clearly, he has the motivation and the authority to be very clear in his requirements for his church that bears his name.
When we enter this kingdom, we must yield to his will in everything. He chose and predestined those who would submit to him in his kingdom (Ephesians 1:4-5). We have redemption through his blood, by his grace (Ephesians 1:6-7; Ephesians 2:8-9). We walk according to his will if we are in his church (Ephesians 1:19; Ephesians 2:3). Therefore, he has the right to demand allegiance and faithfulness. As members of this kingdom, we do not have the right to demand he change his will. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). He says and we do. End of story.
We must start looking at things from Christ’s perspective. When we use man’s logic and ideas and project them onto God, we get into trouble. The question under consideration uses men’s reasoning. Accordingly, an answer utilizing men’s “wisdom” will not yield a satisfactory answer. We must try to see it as God does if we have any hope of a resolution.

2 thoughts on “Are Members of the Church of Christ the Only Ones Going to Heaven? (2)

  1. Richard
    This is a question that was kicked around a lot 50 years ago. Unfortunately, many of the times it was for the purpose of generating heat, rather than shedding light, since it was posed like the “Have you stopped beating your wife yet? Answer Yes or No.”
    There is nothing wrong with the question, or your answer, if they are understood in the Bible light of “church of Christ”. Unfortunately, most of our denominational friends and a large number of our members do not know the difference between the “church of Christ” (the church to which the Lord added the saved) and a “Church of Christ” (a religious body that meets in a building with that name painted on the sign out front.) The New Guinea pidgin language has it right. There the words for “church of Christ” are “church belong Christ”.
    Some 50 years ago I heard one of the leading evangelist of the day give what I consider the best answer to the question. It went something like the following;
    “I’m sure that I believe the same as you about this question; only those that do what God has said to do will be saved. Now, let’s you and me sit down with the Bible and search for what He has told us is necessary.”
    This places the two of us side by side in the quest for truth rather than in a “me vs. you” position. We must recognize that we want God, you, and me to win, not that I want to win and I want you to loose. This was illustrated when Apollos was “taught the way more perfectly”.

  2. There are some (yes Christians) who utilize the quote in Acts 20:28 to emphasize the role of “members” to protect against wolves in sheep’s clothing. Their understanding is contextually askew. It is this ecumenical view that the church members must “police” the flock that causes conflict and strife within the body (see 1 Corinthians 12). The question posed is indeed based on suppositions altogether foriegn to the Bible. However, being “saved” is of the utmost importance, therefore, we must put forth questions in return… What do you mean by that? Where do you get your information? How do you know it is true? What happens if you are wrong? These questions must be explored (in some form) to arrive at a satisfactory answer.

Share your thoughts: