By Cougan Collins


One time I emailed one of our local denominations in an attempt to have a Bible discussion. The first thing I asked him was if he thought you had to belong to the church in order to be saved. He said, “It would be nice for a Christian to belong to the church, but it is not necessary.”


This preacher’s response is all too common in the religious world because many believe that you do not have to belong or be part of the church. Instead, they believe you can get saved separate and apart from the church. In fact, many in the religious world will say that you should get yourself saved and then find a church of your choice.


Is this what Scripture teaches us? Notice what Paul says, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Eph. 5:23).


Consider the logic of what Paul is teaching us in the last part of our verse:


  1. He said Jesus is the Savior of the body.
  2. What is the body? It is the church (Eph 1:22-23).
  3. According to Paul there is only one body (Eph. 4:4; 1 Cor. 12:20).
  4. Therefore Christ is the Savior of that one body/church that He built (Mt. 16:18).


In order to be saved, you must be part of that one body/church. Therefore, salvation cannot be obtained outside the one body/church because the saved are the church. If you can find any flaw in this logic please let me know.  


One last thought. The Bible also makes it clear how and when we enter the Lord’s church.


1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free -- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.


As we follow God’s plan of salvation and believe (Jn. 3:16), repent (Lk. 13:3), confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10) and are baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21), we are added to the one church (that Jesus will save) by God (Acts 2:47).


If you have obeyed the gospel as outlined above, you have become part of the body/church of Christ. Remember, the Scriptures teach that baptism is the point that one is added to the church/body or as Jesus said in another place: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5). Now we learn that the body/church/kingdom are synonymous terms because baptism (born of water) is the way we gain access to the kingdom/church/body.


Not only must we be part of the church to be saved, we must be baptized into it. Just read the conversions in the book of Acts and you will see that every conversion contains baptism because it is necessary for salvation since it is when your sins are washed away sins (Acts 22:16) and is the point you are added to the one church Jesus will save (Eph. 5:23). Are you part of the church that Jesus built?