Can people be saved by just believing in
or receiving Jesus as a personal Savior
while disregarding the Saviors' commandment
that people should come into His fold or flock
through Him to be saved? 

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Saved by believing in or receiving Jesus
as personal Savior?
Ephesians 2:8; John 3:16; Romans 8:1

Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, October 2006, p.4

THE APOSTLE PAUL clearly  teaches that "it is by grace that you have  been saved, through faith—and not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8).    John 3:16 further adds that  "... He (God) gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."   Romans 8:1   thus   concludes:    "Therefore, there  is now  no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  Doesn't it follow  from these verses that we are saved by believing in or receiving Jesus as a personal Savior and not by  being member of any particular church?

Will K. Scott
Washington D.C., USA

Editor's reply:

Just because salvation is God’s gift does not mean that man needs to do nothing but to accept it. In the same way, Christ’s pronouncement that “whoever believes in Him … [will] have everlasting life” should not be taken to that membership in His true Church is no longer necessary for man’s salvation.

It is true that there are works by which man is not saved. Among these is what Apostle Paul describes as the “works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves” (Titus 3:5, 3, American Standard Version),

not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
For we also once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. (Titus 3:5, 3, American Standard Version)

for God did not purpose that man be saved on the merits of his own works, “that no flesh may boast in His presence” (I Cor. 1:29).

29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (I Cor. 1:29, Easy to Read Version)

This does mean, however, that man does not need to do anything anymore. Verse 10 of Ephesians chapter 2 (proceeding from verses 8 and 9 which you cited) elucidates that when God created man, He intended him not only to be “in Christ Jesus” but also “for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (New King James Version).

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10, NKJV)

Indeed, those who are “in Christ Jesus” are no longer condemned or will “not perish but have everlasting life.” But in order to be among those who truly are in Christ Jesus, it is not enough for one to merely profess belief or faith in Christ. The Lord Jesus says to those who say they believe in Him,

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’, but not do what I command?” (Luke 6:46, New American Bible).

 Apostle James likewise taught:

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? … You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (James 2:14, 24, New International Version)

Clearly, believing or having faith in Christ entails much more than just merely declaring that one accepts Christ as his personal Savior. To become a true believer of Christ, one must be among His sheep:

“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep …” (John 10:26, NKJV).

Thus, Christ calls on everyone who wants to be saved to enter the fold or flock, which is the Church of Christ—which He redeemed or purchase with His blood (John 10:9, Revised English Bible; Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation).

‘I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be saved.’ (John 10:9, Revised English Bible)

Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood. (Acts 20:28, Lamsa)

These are the ones referred to as people “who are in Christ Jesus.”

Membership in the true Church of Christ, not just any church, is thus indispensable for receiving God’s gift of salvation. It is this Church to which God adds those who are to be saved (Acts 2:47).

47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.  (Acts 2:47, NKJV)

It is this Church for which the Savior Jesus Christ gave up His life and that He will save (Eph. 5:23, 25).   

23 A husband is the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church. Christ is the Savior of the church, which is his body.
25 Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. (Eph. 5:23, 25, Easy to Read Version) (emphasis ours)


Note: Some cited verses are printed in full to facilitate study.

Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind.  For the latest Worship Service Directory of Iglesia ni Cristo Locales and Congregations outside the Philippines, please visit www.iglesianicristoworshipservice.com or just click link at home page.

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