The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
July 4, 2010


1) Christ, the Savior of the Body (P. J. Casebolt)


Christ, the Savior of the Body
by P. J. Casebolt

"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body" (Eph. 5:23).  

In this verse, and those which follow, the apostle uses the marriage relationship to emphasize the relationship between Christ and his spiritual body, the church (v. 32). When the inspired writer states that Christ "is the savior of the body," this declaration harmonizes with every other truth concerning Christ and his church.  

To advocate salvation outside the church not only contradicts a plain declaration of the Holy Spirit, but such a position immediately comes into conflict with every other inspired statement concerning Christ, the church, and salvation.  The entire mystery of salvation hinges on, and is revealed through, Christ and his church (Eph. 3:6-11; 1 Tim. 3:15,16). To promise salvation outside the church is to frustrate the grace of God concerning our own salvation, and that of others as well.  


First, in order to offset the confusing doctrines of premillennialists and others (including any brethren in these categories), let it be emphasized again that the spiritual body of Christ, the church, and the kingdom are one and the same thing.  

Different metaphors are used to portray God's "called out" people. The church is compared to a kingdom (Heb. 12:23,28), a sheepfold (Jno. 10:16), a bride (Jno. 3:29,30; Rom. 7:4), a house (1 Tim. 3:15), and a body (Col. 1:18).  There are other metaphors and parables pertaining to the church, but these are sufficient to show that what is essentially true of one is true of the other. An attempt to separate the church from the kingdom is an attempt to "put asunder" what God has "joined together."

"In The Place"

God reserves the right to determine where salvation or deliverance shall be (Ex. 3:5; 20:24). The Israelites were told that they could not offer "in every place that thou seest: but in the place which the Lord shall choose..." (Deut. 12:13,14).  

Let us notice some examples of God's prerogative to choose the place of salvation, or safety.  

1. In The Ark -- The place of deliverance for Noah and his family was in the ark (Gen. 7:7; 1 Pet. 30:20,21).  

2. In The Houses -- At the institution of the Passover Feast when God destroyed the firstborn of every creature, salvation was in the houses of the Israelites, identified by the blood of the Passover lamb (Ex. 12:22).  Not one Israelite questioned God's arrangement. After God passed over Egypt, the Egyptians also knew where deliverance was to be found.  

3. In The Cities Of Refuge -- Under certain conditions, the six cities of refuge served as the place of salvation for those seeking safety within their gates (Num. 35:26-28).  

4. In The House -- When, by God's help Joshua and the Israelites conquered Jericho, there was only one place of safety for the inhabitants of that city -- in the house of Rahab (Josh. 2:19).  

5. In The Vine -- In order to survive and bear fruit, the branch must abide in the vine (Jno. 15:1-6).  

6. In The Ship -- "Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved" (Acts 27:31). Not one soul contested Paul's plan for salvation on this occasion, and all were saved. This same Paul tells us that salvation is in the church.  

7. In The Church -- As the author of eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9), Christ has determined that salvation is in the church. Further, it should be no surprise that Christ has promised to be the savior of his body, the church. From the beginning of the church, "... the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).  

8. In Heaven -- The place of eternal salvation, after this life is over, will be in heaven (Jno. 14:1-6; Rev. 22:14).  At the end, Christ shall deliver up the church, the kingdom, to God (1 Cor. 15:24). The bride of Christ, the church, "that great city, the holy Jerusalem" (Rev. 21:9,10), shall be delivered to dwell eternally in heaven.  

Not "In The Place"

After John gives us a picture of those who dwell in the eternal city of God, he also gives a picture of those without (Rev. 22:14,15).  

When God designated the acceptable place of service and worship in ancient times, he likewise stressed the futility (and danger), of attempting to serve him elsewhere (Deut. 12:2,3,13). Once God has revealed to us that salvation is in Christ's church, we need to reach the inescapable conclusion that there is no salvation outside that church.  

That conclusion cannot be successfully avoided, contradicted, or assailed. To attempt such is to "fight against God." Let us notice where salvation is not to be found.  

1. Salvation is not "in the world" -- We are either in the world or in the church. There is no other spiritual location. "In the world" we are without God, without Christ, and without hope (Eph. 2:12), just as Gentiles were at one time "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel." To claim that salvation is outside the church is to claim salvation "in the world."

2. Not In The Home -- While a godly family may be conducive to serving God, the home was not designed as the place of salvation. The home existed for centuries and dispensations before Christ built his church.  

This is a truth which some brethren attempt to set before the world, while at the same time corrupting the spiritual purpose of the church by trying to involve it in activities which belong in the realm of the home, e.g., recreation and entertainment.  

The denominations of men have, for the most part, ceased to emphasize spiritual matters. To the extent that the Lord's church gets involved in purely social matters, to that extent we neutralize our claim that salvation is to be found only in the body of Christ.  

3. Not In The Churches Of Men -- Most denominations readily admit that salvation is not to be found within their borders.  

Ironically, at the same time, some brethren are determined to promise salvation to those identified with human religious organizations. Many Baptists concede that "in the apostolic age ... the baptism of a convert by that very act constituted him a member of the church."  But, they go on to say, "Now it is different..." (Standard Manual for Baptist Churches, Hiscox, p. 22).  

The religious "plants" of men can lay no valid claim to salvation within their borders, and can only anticipate their own overthrow at the coming of the Lord (Ps. 127:1; Mt. 15:9-14).  

The sectarian movements of our time have no more to offer than did the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus' time.  

4. Not in Civil Government, Society, The Community -- While civil government, like the home, is designed for a specific purpose, it was never intended to be a haven for the souls of men.  

Sometimes at funerals the deceased is eulogized because he or she was a member of some civic or fraternal organization, a "good citizen," or a "staunch resident of the community." Such eulogies may well describe the social life of an individual, while having nothing whatever to do with salvation.

Indirect Evidence

Such passages as Acts 2:47 and Eph. 5:23 plainly declare that salvation is in the church. There are many other passages which imply the same thing. Given certain facts, certain conclusions are elementary and inescapable. Jesus often used this method of teaching (Mt. 12:26-29; Lk. 10:25-32).  

1. The devil and the "gates of hades" exerted all their efforts to keep Jesus from building the church (Mt. 16:18; Rev. 1:18; 12:1-17). If the "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4), and "spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12), oppose the church with such zeal, it must be essential to salvation.  

2. The blood of Christ purchased the church (Acts 20:28). Since the blood of Christ is essential to salvation (Rev. 1:5), so is the purchased possession.  

3. "All spiritual blessings" are in Christ. Since Christ and the church are inseparable (Eph. 3:10,11), then one must be in the church in order to partake of those blessings.  

4. Reconciliation -- Both Jew and Gentile are reconciled unto God in the one body, the church (Eph. 2:15,16). There is no reconciliation outside the church.  

5. "The Habitation of God" -- The church in this dispensation of time is the temple, the habitation of God, the acceptable place of service and worship (Eph. 2:20-22). We must be where God is.  

This list could be lengthened considerably, but as we have already observed, the fact that salvation is in the church harmonizes with every other statement pertaining to Christ, the church, and salvation.  


Every prophecy concerning the church, the kingdom, fortifies the conclusion that salvation would accompany the establishment of "the mountain of the Lord's house" (Dan. 2:44; Isa. 2:2,3). Salvation was "in Zion" for fleshly Israel (Isa. 46:13), and the same is true of spiritual Israel (Heb. 12:22-28).  

God is able, through the "blood of the new testament" (Heb. 9:15-17), to include all in the church who need to be in it (Lk. 13:28; Heb. 12:22,23). In this dispensation of time, baptism is the door into the church (Jno. 3:5; 1 Cor. 12:13).  

The fact that the devil and his ministers persistently claim that baptism and the church are not necessary to salvation should make the seeker of truth suspicious. Whatever the devil tries to discourage us from doing, we should do.  

God planned and designed the church for our salvation; Christ built the church according to God's design; and, the Holy Spirit revealed the church as designed and built.  

The least that you and I can do in view of these revealed truths is to believe, receive, and teach them.  The most that we can do is to work out our salvation in the church and be saved eternally as part of the glorified body of Christ.  

No, salvation is not outside the church, not somewhere "in the vicinity" of the church, and not on some Mt. Nebo of desire or prospect on the part of some just close enough to look over into the church.  

If we know and accept the difference in definition between the terms "in" and "out," we can find salvation.  If we refuse to acknowledge that Christ placed salvation in his spiritual body, the church, then all of the rhetoric in all of the languages known to man would not convince us. It's that simple.  

Jesus "gave himself" for the church (Eph. 5:25). What will you give?

-- via Searching the Scriptures, June 1988, Volume 29, Number 6

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;  John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

201 Rushing Road (at the Hampton Inn), Denham Springs, Louisiana 70726
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evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
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Take the Denham Springs exit (exit 10) off of I-12.  At the end of the exit ramp, turn north.  Go about a stone's throw to Rushing Road.  (You'll see a Starbucks, Circle K, and two other gas stations; with each on each corner.)  Turn left on Rushing Road, and go a little less than 0.3 of a mile.  Hampton Inn will be on the right.  We assemble in its meeting room, which is very close to the reception counter.  Just walk pass the check-in counter; turn right at the hall.  The first and second doors on the left lead to where we meet.