Memorise 1 Thessalonians 5:6
“Praying always… and watching”
We know from God’s Word that the Church of God, often referred to as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12), consists of all true believers, past, present or future. It also refers to all believers in the Old Testament. Hence, the Church of God is not confined to a building or country or even time period. It consists of all believers. Titus 2:11 tells us that salvation is offered to all. Anyone who is willing to accept God’s gift of salvation can be saved. Hence, the answer is “yes”, it is possible that members of other churches are indeed saved. However, we would be cautious as to state that not all members of all churches are saved and not all churches are faithful in the teaching of God’s Word. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question as it deals with matters of the heart and only God can judge the hearts of men, only God can say if any person is truly saved.
The early church faced a similar issue, when the gospel first went out to the Gentiles. Many of the Jews refused to acknowledge the fact that Gentiles too could believe in the gospel and be saved, for they did not keep the Old Testament law. Peter then had to stand up and remind that it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ alone that anyone can be saved. If they believe in the true gospel, and receive the grace of God, then Gentiles too can be saved. Likewise, as long as a person believes in the full gospel, repents of his sin, then he too can be saved by the grace of our Lord.
The issue then is notsomuchaboutsalvation, but it is amatterofobedience. Just because a church has believers in them, does not validate all their practices, or show that they are a good church. What we can do is to be discerning and wise. We have to be able to tell if a church is teaching and practising God’s truth or not. We are instructed to “…try the spirits whether they are of God…” (1 John 4:1). We have been warned that in the last days, many false prophets will go into the world and lead many astray by telling them what they want to hear (1 Timothy 4:1). Many will be led astray. We can conclude that there will be many churches that will be unfaithful and that few churches that will stay true. The yardstick is not whether they are saved or not, but whether they obey God’s Word in all that they do. This is what God desires of us, and this is what we must strive to do.
Thought: If I find that my church is not faithful, what must I do?
Prayer: Lord, give me wisdom to discern and give me a true church to worship in.