THE CHURCH OF CHRIST

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

Question: Does the Bible teach that only Christ’s Church will be saved?

 

Answer: Many Christians have believed and taught that Christ’s Church alone will be eternally

saved, but that the remainder of mankind has no hope. Though the Bible does teach that the

Church will be saved, upon close examination, we discover that it also holds out the hope of

eternal salvation for the entire human family.

 

1 Timothy 4: 9, 10 reads:

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer

reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those

that believe.” These passages point out God’s Plan of Salvation for two general classes:

(1.) A heavenly Elect class, the Church, referred to by the words “specially of those that

believe”; and

(2.) An earthly, non-elect class, the world of mankind, referred to by the words “all men.”

 

The Bible contrasts these two classes in many ways:

  • The Church’s call is elective, whereas the world’s call is one of free grace;
  • The Church has been called, developed, and delivered during the Gospel Age, whereas the

world will be called, developed, and delivered during the Millennial Age; and

  • The Church was promised the reward of becoming spiritual beings on the Divine plane,

with heaven as their eternal home, whereas the world will be promised the reward of

becoming perfect human beings, with the earth as their eternal home.

 

The Bible differentiates between the doctrines of election and free grace. Election is shown in

two different senses:

(1.) Before the world began, God determined that a class would become sharers with

Christ as His Bride, and that every individual member of this select class would possess

certain characteristics and qualities (Romans 8: 28, 29).

(2.) During the Gospel Age, God selected the individuals who would make up the elect

Church (Revelation 17: 14). Although every member of the Church was required to attain

a high degree of character development, God did not predestinate, or predetermine who

the individuals would be.

 

Free grace, on the other hand, refers to the general offer of salvation for all mankind, which will

take place during the Millennial-Age Kingdom, the world’s Judgment Day, during Jesus’ Second

Advent.

 

Why did God plan both an elective and a free grace salvation? Because God determined that the

elect Church would be selected first, and after proving faithful through trials, sufferings and

persecutions, He could then use them as His qualified Divine Agents in blessing the world of

mankind during the Millennial Age. The Church will provide the world, those who were not

given the opportunity to be of the Elect in this Age, with a favorable opportunity to attain

salvation.

 

Let us consider a related subject − the difference between the theory of universalism and the

Biblical teaching of universal salvation:

Universalism teaches that Christ’s ransom sacrifice guarantees eternal salvation for everyone;

but the Bible teaches that those who prove incorrigibly wicked while on trial for life, whether in

this Age or in the next, either are, or will be eternally lost. Although numerous Scriptures could

be cited, let us quote one from the Old and one from the New Testament:

Deuteronomy 30: 19: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set

before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed

may live.”

Romans 6: 23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus

Christ our Lord.”

 

Universal salvation, on the other hand, teaches that Christ’s ransom sacrifice saves all men from

Adamic condemnation and death, but does not guarantee the eternal salvation of all men. The

following verses have been used to prove universalism, but when properly examined, prove

universal salvation:

1 Timothy 2: 3-6: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will

have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and

one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all,

to be testified in due time.”

 

Let us examine selected parts of these verses:

  • “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God

wills all men, the Elect first and then the non-elect, to be: (1) saved, not everlastingly, but

from the Adamic condemnation, and after being freed from the Adamic condemnation, to:

(2) come to an accurate knowledge of the Truth.

  • “For there is one God” God’s perfect character is the first guarantee that both the Elect and

the non-elect either have, or will receive the above two blessings.

  • “And one mediator between God and men” The appointment of a mediator between God

and men is the second guarantee that the non-elect in God’s coming Kingdom will receive

the above two blessings.

  • “The man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all” Jesus sacrificed His human

nature unto death as a corresponding price for Adam’s debt so that all men, Elect and non

elect, could be freed from the Adamic sentence. Although Jesus’ sacrifice does not

guarantee eternal life for all, it does guarantee all a fair trial and a favorable opportunity to

gain eternal life.

  • “To be testified in due time.” That certain time periods have been set aside in God’s Plan

for a testimony of Christ’s ransom to be given is the third guarantee of the above two

blessings. The Gospel Age was set aside for the Elect to receive the testimony and its two

blessings, and in the Millennial Age the non-elect will receive the testimony and its two

blessings.

 

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