Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 2, No. 3 Page 14 March 2000

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Which Saves,
Christ Or The Church?


By Basil Overton


Nothing should be more important to anyone than his salvation from sin and living so he can be in heaven after he dies.


Christ Is The Saviour?


An angel told Joseph in a dream that the woman he was to marry had conceived by the Holy Ghost and that she would bring forth a son whose name would be Jesus, and who would save his people from their sins (Luke 2:1-11).  Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).


Many other passages in the New Testament say that Jesus Christ is our Saviour. This monumental truth is indeed “good tidings of great joy,” as the angel said to the shepherds.  When one realizes he is lost in his sins and hears the good news that Jesus seeks him and wants him to be saved, he should receive such good tidings with great joy!  Surely all who believe the Bible will readily and joyfully agree that Jesus Christ is the Saviour, and that he died on the cross so all could be saved. Yes, indeed Jesus saves!


Where Does Jesus Save?


The Bible plainly teaches that Jesus Christ is our Saviour. It just as plainly tells us where he saves!


Jesus died on the cross that he might reconcile Jews and Gentiles, or all people, unto God in one body by the cross (Ephesians 2:14–16).  That one body is his church (Ephesians 1:22-23). Therefore, reconciliation, or salvation from sin and getting back to God, takes place in the church which is the body of Christ.


Paul also said in Ephesians 2:16 that reconciliation or salvation by Jesus Christ in the one body is by the cross!  This obviously means that Jesus made salvation or reconciliation possible by dying on the cross. Therefore, when one says he does not want church salvation but that he wants cross salvation, he expresses a gross misunderstanding of the cross and the church. Verily, salvation by the cross is in the one body which is the church of our Lord!


Referring to the body that he had defined as being the church, Paul said, “There is one body . . .” (Ephesians 4:4). Of this same one body he wrote, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body”  (Ephesians 5:23).  This obviously means that Christ is not only head of the church, he is also saviour of the church!  This means if one is saved by Christ he has to be in what he saves!


The word church in the New Testament means the called out, or the saved. The church we read about in the New Testament consisted of those who had been called by the Gospel out of the world of sin into Christ, or into the one body of Christ which is the church (2 Thessalonians 2:14).


God calls sinners by the Gospel into one body (Colossians 3:15).  Paul told those Christians in Colossae that the one body is the Lord’s church (Colossians 1:18, 24).  Therefore, salvation by Jesus Christ is in that church.


Jesus gave himself for his church (Ephesians 5:15).   He purchased his church with his blood (Acts 20:28).  This means that Jesus made salvation available for all by shedding his blood. Those who accept the salvation he made available are those who get into the church through putting their trust in Christ by their obedience to him. In this sense, the Lord Jesus, the Saviour, purchased the church with his blood.




Yes indeed, Jesus saves!  But, he saves in his church!  Those who accept the story of Jesus Christ and trust in him as their Saviour are those who believe he is the Son of the living God, who repent of their sins, confess their faith and are baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:36–41).  They thus get into the body, or the church, for which Jesus gave himself!

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