Just how does a person enter the church that we read about in the New Testament?

Or, what is required for an individual to become a Christian? The same process that brings us into a saved state is also the means of entrance into the church. The scripture declares: “…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). A penitent believer did not join the church, but was added unto it by the Lord. It was not by being voted into a church by its membership, the Lord added the saved to the church. Notice at Acts 11:26 that the disciples, who made-up the church in Antioch of Syria, were called Christians. Those in the church are God’s spiritual family here upon earth (1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 3:14-19).

The various metaphors of the church portray the essential relationship that we have with Jesus Christ as our Savior. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily means one thing is used in reference to something else in order to suggest a likeness between the two. For example: the church is likened unto a physical human body in such passages as First Corinthians 12:12-27. In referring to Christ at Colossians 1:18, the Bible states: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” And also at Ephesians 1:22-23, the Apostle Paul further wrote by inspiration: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” From these passages, the scripture reveals that the church and the spiritual body of Christ is one and the same thing. So, how do we enter into the body of Christ, which is the church? The answer: It is by being baptized into it. This truth is so stated at First Corinthians 12:13. It is as follows: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” Thus, we are baptized into the spiritual body of Christ. This baptism is not Holy Spirit baptism, but water baptism. At John 3:5, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The parallel passages of this verse are Ephesians 5:26-27 and Titus 3:5. These passages emphasize a washing by water according to the inspired Word. In other words, we are born of the water and the Spirit when we follow the inspired instructions of the Holy Spirit by being baptized in water for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:26-39; Acts 22:16).

--Dub Mowery

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