Shelby G. Floyd
We commonly hear religious people say that it doesn’t make any difference whether you are a member of the church or not, that you can be a Christian outside of the church, and therefore you can be saved without the church. They will say that you do not need to be a member of any church to be saved. Can one be saved outside the church? Our question must be answered by the Bible.
Is Salvation Possible Outside of the Church?
God has always circumscribed his blessings within a certain sphere. Those who are without that sphere are without the blessings that God has placed within that particular place. For instance, God placed salvation from the flood within the ark. Those who failed to hear the preaching of Noah and enter the ark were lost. Those, who by faith did believe Noah, entered into the ark of safety, and were saved from the flood. Peter made mention of this fact, and used it by way of illustration, when he said, “who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3: 20-21 NKJV).
Eight People Were Saved in the Ark
God was longsuffering while the ark was being prepared; but very few entered into the ark. Only eight souls were saved in the ark and by the water. That was a figure of how people are saved today. God not only tells us by whom we are saved, but he tells us by what we are saved, and where we are saved. The Bible teaches us that we are saved by Christ, which is the “who.” For instance, Paul says, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5: 9). The apostle further says, “Therefore endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2: 10).
Paul was willing to endure, suffer and sacrifice all things for the elect’s sakes—those are the ones that are saved—that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus. Where is salvation? It’s in Christ Jesus. Moreover, there is no salvation in any other, “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4: 12). This adds up that God has appointed us to be saved through our Lord Jesus Christ, that salvation is in Christ Jesus, and one can’t be saved by any other name.