Welcome to the Tiftonia church of Christ
ServicesPlease join us! ALL are invited
Directions and Location
Bible Study 10:00 am
Worship 11:00 am
Bible Study: 7:00pm
Our elders have moved Wednesday Evening Bible Study from Wednesday evening to Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM for the next two weeks due to holidays. Please come assemble with us as we study God’s Word. Bring your Bible and a friend.
A.M. Agony in the Garden—Matthew 26:36-39
P.M. Singing Night—Colossians 3:16-17
See the followup response from the elders at Fourth Avenue Church of Christ, to the below letter following this article:
THE NEW TESTAMENT PROHIBITS WOMEN PREACHERS
Laura King, the new preaching intern at Fourth Avenue Church of Christ in Franklin, Tennessee, is disturbing the church of Christ near and far by violating the New Testament’s teaching prohibiting women from being preachers. The elders of the church there—Graham Burcham, Dave Cassilly, Ron Charpentier, Doug Durr, Allen Gentry, Tony Simmons, Mark Street, Joe Whitehouse, Phil Williams, and Bill Wright—are under-shepherds who do not have the right to supplant the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:1-4). They are the ones who are responsible for this error by bringing Laura King into their pulpit and know full well the certainly of their accountability before Christ.
May this development serve as a reminder to us here in Lookout Valley of the propensity people have to ignore, set aside, and even purposely violate clear prohibitions in the Word of God. We already have here in the valley a woman preacher named Christina DowlingSoka at the Wauhatchie United Methodist Church who wears the title of both “reverend” and “pastor.” Our friends nearby are showing the same disregard for Bible teaching and authority on this point as our own brethren in Franklin.
When we say, “The New Testament prohibits women preachers,” we are not speaking of our opinion or judgment but rather what the God of heaven wants as He has made His Will known in the New Testament. May I now call your attention to the Bible text in 1 Timothy 2:11-14. First, let’s read the text. Second, let’s define all the words in verses 11 and 12. And, third, let’s emphasize the argument and the supporting reasons prohibiting women preaching that the text reveals.
11Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12But I suffer not [I do not permit, NKJV] a woman to teach, nor to usurp [to have, NKJV] authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
11Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. “Let…learn” is from manqa,nw meaning “to learn, be apprised” and specifically in this text it means “to increase one’s knowledge” (J.H. Thayer). “The woman” is from gunh, and means “a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow” (J.H. Thayer). “In” is from the Greek preposition evn indicating a fixed position in place, time, or state. “Silence” is from h`suci,a and means “quietness” or “silence” as the word is also used and appears in Acts 22:2, “And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith….” “All” is an adjective from pa/j meaning “all, all things, everything” (J. H. Thayer). “Subjection” is from u`potagh,, and is a feminine noun meaning “the act of subjecting, obedience, subjection” (J.H. Thayer). 11Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12But I suffer not [I do not permit, NKJV] a woman to teach, nor to usurp [to have, NKJV] authority over the man, but to be in silence. “But” is from the Greek conjunction de, being a primary particle meaning “but, moreover” (J.H. Thayer). “I suffer not” is from the verb evpitre,pw and is preceded here by the negative particle ouv meaning “not.” evpitre,pw means “to permit, allow, give leave” (J.H. Thayer), and when preceded by the negative particle ouv means “not permitted, not allowed, not given leave.” “A woman” is the same as in the previous verse from gunh, and means “a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow” (J.H. Thayer). “To teach” from dida,skw means “to teach, to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses” (J.H. Thayer). “Nor” from the Greek conjunction ouvde, meaning “and not” (J. H. Thayer). “To usurp authority” translates the verb auvqente,w meaning “to govern one, exercise dominion over one” (J.H. Thayer). The NKJV correctly translates this word showing what one is not to have without regard to how one came to have that position or authority. “Over the man” comes from avnh,r and in this verse J.H. Thayer says it “distinguishes a man from a woman.” “But” from the conjunction avlla, meaning “but” (J.H. Thayer). “To be” comes from the Greek verb ei=nai which means “to be” (J.H. Thayer). “In” as in the previous verse is the Greek preposition evn indicating a fixed position in place, time, or state. “Silence” is the same word for “silence” that appeared in the preceding verse and comes from h`suci,a meaning “quietness” or “silence.” 12But I suffer not [I do not permit, NKJV] a woman to teach, nor to usurp [to have, NKJV] authority over the man, but to be in silence.
Therefore, in the church a woman is not permitted to preach or teach but is to be in silence. Notice the qualifying phrase that limits her teaching: it is “over the man” (verse 12). In the church, a woman is permitted to teach other women and children (Titus 2:3-5). In the church the woman is permitted to teach by participating in the congregational singing (Hebrews 2:12; Ephesians 5:19). In a private setting along with her husband, she is permitted to teach a man (Acts 18:26) as this does not place her “over” the man being taught because she observes submission to her own husband at all times (Ephesians 5:22). In none of these areas is the woman teaching “over the man,” so the biblical prohibition for the woman is respected.
The premise of the argument has been solidified; now, the base upon which the argument has been established is expanded to include two reasons why a woman is not permitted to be a preacher. One, “for Adam was first formed, then Eve” (verse 13). God chose to form Adam first, then Eve. Many miss this order in the creation of mankind, but it came from God, not man. Man was created first, then woman; therefore, a woman is not permitted to preach but to be in silence in the church. Just as man did not create himself and woman did not create herself, neither man nor woman may create a position of priority in the church. Both must respect God’s order (1 Corinthians 14:40).
Additionally, the counter argument that the woman’s requirement to be in silence was a cultural requirement that is no longer valid today is fallacious because this first reason given prohibiting a woman from preaching is not a cultural reason but emerges from the beginning of the creation and the order which God chose to create man then woman.
Reason number two: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (verse 14). Admittedly, the power of deception is gender neutral, however, our first parents, Adam and Eve, contributed something to the order of worship in the church of Christ to be remembered and respected even today. That is, Eve was deceived by Satan and her deception led to the fall of the human race to the designs of the Devil. The woman is to be silent in the church as a testament to the destructive power of deception. Adam could offer no excuse for his transgression but had to face it head on. The actions of both Adam and Eve teach lessons vital to our salvation: from Adam, facing and admitting responsibility for sin; from Eve, eliminating deception as an excuse for sin. A woman preacher who is deceived about her place of silence in the church is committing the sin of deception just as did Eve, and her position “over the man” strips away not only respect and submission to the Word of God but also the fundamental lessons to be learned from the arguments prohibiting women from being preachers.
A RESPONSE FROM FOURTH AVENUE
One of the elders from the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ in Franklin, Tennessee has responded to the article “The New Testament Prohibits Women Preachers” which appeared in our bulletin last week. In that article I pointed out that Laura King, the new preaching intern at Fourth Avenue, is disturbing the church of Christ near and far by violating the New Testament’s teaching prohibiting women from being preachers. I also said the elders there are the ones responsible and accountable for this development.
I wanted the Fourth Avenue elders to see the article, so I attached it to an email I sent individually to all 10 of them in which I wrote as I did to brother William Wright,
Dear brother Wright,
I am writing you as an elder myself here in Chattanooga at the Tiftonia Church of Christ. I know something of the tremendous responsibility elders face regarding those under their oversight and am concerned about your decision to place a woman in the pulpit at Fourth Avenue. Please, read the article I wrote on the subject, “The New Testament Prohibits Women Preachers.” If you can think of a way I may be of assistance to you in defending this principal there at Fourth Avenue, please feel free to call on me. You and the other elders there are in my thoughts and prayers.
Cell: (423) 800-2858
William Wright responded,
We thank you for your concern. We are committed to the autonomy of each congregation of the church and to the authority of the local shepherds in each congregation. Our congregation went through years of study and prayer before arriving at our current position. We will not enter a debate with brothers and sisters but will pray that the Spirit leads them where He wants them to be on this and every issue. Please see the attached if you are interested in some of the scholarship and statements we reviewed in our time of study and prayer. May God bless you.
So, the eldership at Fourth Avenue has cordially refused to discuss the issue. The “years of study and prayer” they endured served to strip away the straightforward and clear teaching of the Bible on the subject which still reads, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not [I do not permit, NKJV] a woman to teach,
or to usurp [to have, NKJV] authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1 Timothy 2:11-12).
In the attachment brother Wright sent, the person they are depending on to represent “scholarship” for them wrote,
Note also that Paul says that he does not permit women to teach or assume authority over a man. He does not say that is God’s law (emphasis in the original).
This is how people, our own brethren included, get led astray from the truth. In order to be clear, the position taken is that something the apostle Paul wrote may neither permit nor prohibit an action unless Paul specifically says it is God’s law. This is a self-imposed requirement that the Scripture itself does not support. In fact, this statement more accurately represents “ignorance” than “scholarship” because the apostle Paul adamantly affirmed,
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37-38).
Whereas I wrote, “The elders of the church there—Graham Burcham, Dave Cassilly, Ron Charpentier, Doug Durr, Allen Gentry, Tony Simmons, Mark Street, Joe Whitehouse, Phil Williams, and Bill Wright—are under-shepherds who do not have the right to supplant the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:1-4).” Their “scholar” convinced them “at Fourth Avenue Church, when a woman sings, or reads scripture, or passes a communion tray, or shares a story she is not usurping authority but obeying it, for she has been asked to do this by the leadership team.” The Bible is the authority, not the elders. The elders are never given authority to bind or loose where God has not bound nor loosed. That responsibility was assigned by Jesus Christ to the apostles in verses like Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18. The Greek word in 1 Timothy 2:12 is auvqentei/n and shows what one is not to have without regard to how one came to have that position or authority. Simply put, the only one who could grant a woman the right to preach is God, and He specifically has said, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
Finally, brother Wright spoke of the Spirit leading people where “He wants them to be on this and every issue.” We hear this so much today; it is known as the direct operation of the Holy Spirit. The only way the Holy Spirit leads people today is through the Bible, “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). If the Holy Spirit leads people directly without the instrumentality of the Word of God, then when did He lay aside His sword? Well, He hasn’t; men just don’t like what the Holy Spirit says in the Bible, and so they lay the Bible aside when it doesn’t suit their wants and wishes. Always remember that our Lord Jesus Christ prayed, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20-21). The desirable unity for which Christ prayed is available only through believing and practicing what the Word of God says not through some mysterious and conflicting “leading.”
Only a few short weeks remain in 2014, so as we have begun the year with great enthusiasm and enjoyed the spiritual progress made as a congregation this year to the glory of God, may we finish the year strong. Here are some reminders that will help us do just that.
Finally, these four areas of interest present an opportunity for each of us to reflect on the idea of “finishing strong.” Paul wrote to the brethren at Galatia about “faith which worketh by love” and said, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Galatians 5:6b-7). Let’s “finish strong.”
THE QUALIFICATIONS OF DEACONS
Our Sunday school study of “the qualifications of deacons” in the auditorium class will continue through the 21st of December. Let’s all prayerfully consider the appointment of deacons here at Tiftonia. Our prayer is that qualified men will step forward and assume this very important role of service in the Lord’s church here. After the Men’s Meeting on November 16th, we did submit the names of those who may be willing to serve as deacons to the congregation for consideration and approval in keeping with the biblical example found in Acts 6:3. The Sunday School class on “the qualifications of deacons” will not conclude November 16th but will shift in emphasis to the practical study and application of the work of the deacons.
“mo . ti . va . tion, n (1873) 1 a : the act or process of motivating b : the condition of being motivated 2 : a motivating force, stimulus, or influence : INCENTIVE, DRIVE” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 774).
“Heavenly motivation” is having heaven as a “motivating force, stimulus, or influence.” Even in Jesus’ day few were so motivated as is evidenced in a question from an unnamed disciple during Jesus’ later Perean ministry when he asked, “Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:23-24). Since that was true when the Master was personally before the people, we should not be surprised to observe that condition today. In an attempt to emphasize Jesus’ answer we might summarize it by saying something like: few people will be saved or, conversely, most people will be lost. Not only is that a stirring thought, but it also highlights the need not just for motivation but motivation that sees the end in view—“heavenly motivation.”
Interestingly, before God closes out His Word to the human family once and for all time, He ended it with “heavenly motivation” by drawing back the curtain for the reader and allowing him and her to see into His abiding place in Revelation 21 and 22. 5 verses from these chapters will make the point toward which we are driving in this article.
1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5).
Many items mentioned in this reading incentivize the reader. One is that in that land beyond “His servants shall serve Him” free of the hindrances and encumbrances not often uncharacteristic of daily life here on earth. Another is the reaping of faith’s reward: “And they shall see His face.” As an enhancement of our own personal faithfulness to God and the collective strengthening of the church of Christ today we all could use a little “heavenly motivation.”
On Sunday, October 19, 2014, elders were appointed here at the Tiftonia Church of Christ. They are:
After careful consideration and due process as guided by the New Testament, these men were sought out from among the congregation (Acts 6:3) and determined to be in possession of the qualifications for the office of the eldership as found in 1 Timothy 3:1-8, Titus 1:5-14, and 1 Peter 5:1-4. Their names were informally put before the congregation for a month, then formally announced to the congregation for another month before being accepted and announced.
Each man has been warmly welcomed into the eldership by the congregation. And, each man has humbly and graciously accepted the position. Without dispute, this is the highest office on earth a man may hold. James A. Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, was a member of the church of Christ at Hiram, Ohio. He was serving as an elder in 1881 when he was elected to the office. Before leaving for Washington he resigned as an elder. The producers of a television special called God In America said, “When Garfield became president, he left his position as an elder in the church saying, ‘I resign the highest office in the land to become president of the United States.’” (God In America, PBS, producers Michael Sullivan and Marilyn Mellowes).
A new relationship has now been forged within the congregation between the elders and the members. The Word of God says concerning it, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care on him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7). An apostle wrote, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
THE QUALIFICATIONS OF DEACONS
Our next responsibility following the appointment of elders is to appoint men to serve the congregation as deacons. The Sunday morning class will turn its attention to this subject at 10 a.m. each Lord’s day. It, too, will be a Question/Answer format as we look to this vital aspect of the church of Christ here at Tiftonia. We urge everyone to come out for these special classes at that time.
STAY WITH THE SAVIOR OF THE SCRIPTURES
In the sermon on the mount Jesus introduced the concept that the way of salvation
would not be crowded. He said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in
thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). Yet, down through the ages and up to
the present moment people seem to follow the crowd irrespective of any other
considerations, doctrinal or moral.
A study of the three and a half year ministry of Jesus Christ yields the observation
that there were those who followed him because of what they wanted and not
because of what the Savior wanted. For example, at Capernaum the Lord replied to
the people’s question, “Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” with, “Verily, verily, I
say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat
of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that
meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto
you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26-27). After Jesus revealed his
will and purpose, John wrote, “From that time many of his disciples went back,
and walked no more with him,” (v. 66).
A lesson from the night of Jesus’ betrayal will motivate a desire to “stay with the
Savior of the scriptures.” At Gethsemane, the scene unfolds along four fronts.
First, the Savior is alone praying. In Matthew 26:36 it is written, “Then cometh
Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit
ye here, while I go and pray yonder.” Second, the three disciples were taken with
him on into the garden where he prayed. Matthew revealed, “And he took with him
Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy” (v.
37). Closest to Jesus were Peter, James, and John. Third, the eight disciples were
told by the Lord to “sit ye here” (v. 36). And, fourth, a large, armed multitude were
coming out to arrest Jesus. Matthew wrote, “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one
of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from
the chief priests and elders of the people” (v. 47).
So, first there was the Lord alone. He was praying. Second, there were the three
disciples. They were sleeping. Third, there were the eight disciples. They were
waiting. And, fourth, there was the murderous mob. They were approaching.
The lesson is the further away you get from the Lord the greater may be the crowd.
The application of the lesson surely must include the light this lesson shines on the
problem with popularity. On one occasion the Lord cautioned, “Woe unto you,
when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets”
While the apostle Paul is one of the greatest of New Testament characters and
greatly admired, the words he penned toward his impending demise grip the soul.
He said, “Only Luke is with me” (II Tim. 4:11). Those who would long to remain
faithful as Christians must develop the cohesion to Christ Paul had even against all
odds. In order to be acceptable to Christ one simply must “stay with the Savior of
“IS IT NOTHING TO YOU?”
When Judah was taken into captivity to Babylon in the 7th century B.C., the prophet Jeremiah asked a very relevant question: Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger” (Lamentations 1:12). Like Elijah before him, Jeremiah experienced that empty feeling of being alone in his grief over the indifference of his people.
While many individual causes contributed to Judah’s captivity, one of them was their neglect of their worship to God. Jeremiah lamented, “Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness. Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy” (vv. 3-5). Consider especially, “The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh….”
The things that happened during the Old Testament period serve to benefit us today, if we will stop and consider them. Paul wrote, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Jeremiah’s question then is as important today when he asked, “Is it nothing to you?”
Is it nothing to you when the Lord Jesus Christ has suffered on Calvary’s cross shedding His precious blood to purchase His church and there are Christians who forsake the solemn assemblies? (Hebrews 10:25). Is it nothing to you when the faithful few are reverently gathered around the Lord’s table on Sunday whereupon rests unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine commemorating His death and other Christians sleep in or simply forgot? Is it nothing to you when the church is meeting to sing the praises of Zion together and many Christians choose not to be there? Is it nothing to you that the Word of God is being taught from the classrooms and in the pulpit and there are Christians who choose rather to hear the television blaring some crass language and project obscene images before their eyes and into their hearts? Is it nothing to you when there are preachers who must leave their work reaping the souls of men in the mission fields to fulfill their primary responsibility financially to their family (1 Timothy 5:8) when the contribution of prospering Christians is withheld and wasted on worldly pursuits? Like Jeremiah we repeat, “Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?”
THE SALVATION IN CHRIST
The subject of salvation is viewed by the voice of inspiration as something to be “obtained.” Paul wrote to the evangelist Timothy, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Tim. 2:10). The Bible discusses many features of salvation that draw the reality and meaning of the subject clearly into view.
The God of heaven is the saving Lord. Peter proclaimed, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). God is referred to as the “God of our salvation” in Psalm 68:19. “Salvation is of the Lord,” declared Jonah from the whale’s belly (Jon. 3:2; Matt. 12:40). Known all too well is the answer “no where” to the refrain of the beautiful Christian hymn “Where Could I Go but to the Lord?”
God’s planning (Eph. 3:8-11), Christ’s performing (Heb. 10:7), and the Holy Spirit’s revealing (I Cor. 2:9-10) have brought about “the salvation in Christ.” The entire human family can know about it because it stands unassailably codified in the eternal word of the living Lord (Psa. 119:89; Matt. 24:35). James wrote, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21).
The gospel message is God’s power unto salvation, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The sinner cannot be redeemed without sufficient power exerted upon the sinful condition of the soul to save him or her from spiritual ruin and death. That saving power is the gospel of Christ. The entire gospel system presented in the New Testament stands upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Cor. 15:1-4).
Another feature of “the salvation in Christ” is God’s amazing grace. Saving grace is made known by “the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). In his word he said, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us . . . For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:4, 8-9). Four kinds of works are mentioned in the New Testament. One, works of self-aggrandizement, “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi” (Matt. 23:5-7). Two, works legitimate under the Mosaic system, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16). Three, works of human merit, which are those works being considered in the passages initially presented from Ephesians 2:4-9. And, four, works of faith, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (Jas. 2:18-20). The recipient of “the salvation in Christ” must be “rich in good works” in order to be saved by grace (I Tim. 6:18).
“The church doesn’t save you” is a statement often made today. Usually those uttering it mean that it makes no difference concerning the church in which one has membership or the church is not crucial or vital to “the salvation in Christ.” None of the features mentioned in this study unconditionally save. Obedience to God is mandatory. The writer of Hebrews said, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). The truth is that no one is saved outside of the church of Christ because the church is “in Christ,” “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:4-5). The one body is “in Christ” and the one body is the church of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Rom. 16:16). Paul 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” (Eph. 5:23). All the saved are added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:47). The church is an integral feature in “the salvation in Christ.”
ARE YOU “IN CHRIST”?
The vital importance of being “in Christ” is seen in the many New Testament references to it. 77 times the New Testament mentions the phrase “in Christ.” Let’s explore several of these occurrences and see what may be gleaned from the pursuit.
The Faith Is “In Christ”
“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ” (Acts 24:24).
Redemption Is “In Christ”
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
Life Is “In Christ”
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).
Love Of God Is “In Christ”
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
The Truth Is “In Christ”
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 9:1).
“Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (I Tim. 2:7).
The One Body Is “In Christ”
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:5).
Sanctification Is “In Christ”
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (I Cor. 1:2).
Wisdom Is “In Christ”
“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised” (I Cor. 4:10).
Hope Is “In Christ”
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Cor. 15:19).
Triumph Is “In Christ”
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place” (II Cor. 2:14).
Simplicity Is “In Christ”
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3).
Liberty Is “In Christ”
“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Gal. 2:4).
Unity Is “In Christ”
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
The Faithful Are “In Christ”
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1).
All Spiritual Blessings Are “In Christ”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
All Things Are “In Christ”
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Eph. 1:10).
Created “In Christ”
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
His Promise Is “In Christ”
“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Eph. 3:6).
His Eternal Purpose Is “In Christ”
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:8).
The Saints Are “In Christ”
“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1).
“Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you” (Phil. 4:21).
Consolation Is “In Christ”
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies” (Phil. 2:1).
Rejoicing Is “In Christ”
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).
The Prize Is “In Christ”
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
Faith And Love Are “In Christ”
“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 1:14).
Grace Is “In Christ”
“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 1:14).
Salvation Is “In Christ”
“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Tim. 2:10).
Are You “In Christ”?
How Do You Get Into Christ?
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27).
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3).
". . and upon this rock I will build my church . ." -- Matthew 16:18.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.