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
"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.
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.
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.
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
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
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;
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
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;
CHURCH OF CHRIST
201 Rushing Road (at the Hampton Inn), Denham Springs, Louisiana
Sunday services: 9:15 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 4 PM (worship)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/audioser.html (audio sermons)
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
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.