Each person enters into Christ, by baptism, individually. People can even be immersed at the same time, as happened with three thousand souls at the beginning of the church in Acts 2, but the decision is personal. No one can decide for anyone else.
While we enter into Christ individually, we live in Christ as a community, as a family. Life in Christ does not exist outside of a vigorous participation with his people.
The apostle Paul said that we are “one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another” Romans 12.5.
When any individual consideration arises, it relates directly to the body. Who I am as an individual in Christ always carries me back to who I am in relation to his body, the church. If I have no relationship with the body, I have no identity before God.
We are defined in large part by who we are in God’s family.
Our interactions shape us. Our service to our brothers and sisters in Christ mold us, prepare us further. We learn more and more what love is only within the church of God. We discover it here. Nowhere else.
It’s not in the world, anywhere. The love of God lives in his people. And in his people, which is pretty much the same as being in Christ, to us is revealed all his grace.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that we shouldn’t teach those outside of Christ about his church. That’s just about the most absurd statement anyone could make. It’s plainly idiotic. You can’t have an accurate idea about God’s plan of salvation without talking about the church.
Now, you can talk about the church in an odd, cold way. That’s possible. You can present it as an institution that has little to do with the dynamic body. You can do that.
But you can’t not talk and teach about the one, true church which is not a denomination, nor merely an upbeat moment in one’s week.
People get into Christ one person at a time. We remain and grow and serve and live in Christ shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, inextricably linked to one another, for the good of all.
Let us proclaim loud and long the joys of God’s family.