freedomwriter asked me a question regarding the necessity of church in relation to salvation.
So I said I will start a thread and reply to his question this way.
[quote=freedomwriter] I will go with Jn 3:16 as a starting point. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOEVER believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”. Jesus didn’t say anything about catholics or the church. He said whoever believes in Him. Now if you don’t have enough confidence in responding I will understand.
But what does believing in Christ mean?
If we limit believing in Christ to this one verse in the Bible (which so many misinterpret to mean mere intellectual assent to His person) is that really believing in Christ?
Christ said and did many more things in the gospels regarding salvation. Everything Christ said, did and willed is related to salvation because that is what He is about – salvation.
So let us take a look at some of the other things that our Lord said regarding salvation:
21 "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, **but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. **
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
23 Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’
But what is the Father’s will? Well, we see that clearly in the Ten Commandments.
But what else has the Father willed? Is the church part of the Father’s will?
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do **the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. **
So therefore, anything Jesus does is to complete the Father’s work and this work is our salvation.
Where does the church fit in all this?
Matthew 16: 13-19
13 When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi 9 he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Christ says He will build a Church upon Peter. Since Christ is about completing the Father’s work of salvation, then clearly the Church is part of the manner in which God intended to effection salvation.
We see clearly in this text that Christ’s mission and identity is pronounced by Peter. Christ never said He is the messiah and the Son of God. Rather this proclamation was made by Peter. And according to Christ, Peter is only able to do so because the Father revealed it to him. So this is something the Father has clearly willed.
It is therefore evident that the Church is essential to salvation. God ccould have brought about our salvation any myriad of ways, but this the way that God CHOSE/WILLED to do it.
If we believe in Christ, we only do so because of the Church that He established.
So the Church IS HIS WILL. To say otherwise is to go against Christ’s and the Father’s expressed WILL.