This blog series is describing what happens, as taught in the Bible, to individuals at the time of their salvation. We started last week with the fantastic promise of spiritual baptism, resulting in a steadfast new and wonderful position of a believer. This week let us overview our membership in Christ’s church.
At salvation the Holy Spirit places each of us into the church of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). This is a great promise and is a part of the results of our belief in salvation by faith alone in Christ.
The form of the church into which we are placed by the Spirit can be called, in theological terms, the church universal. This form of the church roughly can be described as the following:
- It is the union of all believers worldwide who form the complete body of Christ.
- Its head is Christ who sits at the right hand of God the Father and currently leads His church (Colossians 1:17-18; Hebrews 8:1; Ephesians 1:20-23).
- Scripture does not indicate that our membership can be revoked from the church universal.
- Although we are each instructed to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16), we each have different functions within the church (1 Corinthians 12:13-27; Romans 12:4-5).
The practical outworking of the church universal is multiple organized bodies of believers often called the local church, but in our current age might be virtual (online) as well. Para-church organizations (e.g. independent missions or college ministries) function within the church universal, but similarly to the local church. Scripture gives broad definition to how churches are organized which allows great flexibility to serve Christ in various times and cultures.
These concepts of the church I’ve tried to base on scripture without cultural overlays of expectations and definitions. Regardless, the concept of the universal church is controversial. For example, some denominations may not accept the concept of a ‘universal church’. However, as the Apostle Paul states, we do what we do in faith using what we need to serve God, filtered by prayer and God’s word (1 Timothy 4:4-5; Romans 14:23).
In this series so far, we have covered that at our salvation through faith in Christ’s death on the cross we have a spiritual baptism that identifies us as resurrected to a new life and places by the Spirit in Christ’s church.
Praise be to God for such wonderful promises and positions resulting from such a great salvation. Stay tuned next week as we continue our discussion of the results of salvation. Thank you for joining me today.