In adversity of the worst kind—loss of home life under a beloved father, cast aside as vermin by older brothers, sold into a foreign country as a slave—Joseph, son of Jacob, thrived spiritually. After adversity of the war-imposed-kind passed, many Americans cast aside their religious convictions to find themselves cast upon the turbulent sea of secularism.
In previous blogs of this series, this writer suggested that the inspiration of faith made the difference between Joseph’s growth in faith and the WWII generation’s loss of faith. His centered on GOD, theirs on a CHURCH. Do not be surprised that a distinction exists in the two inspirations. And do not be surprised that Satan finds it easier to divorce one’s loyalty to a church than to sever one’s commitment to Jesus. To this day, many who don’t attend church till profess faith in Christ! We can’t deny their profession unless it’s demonstrably false. And not attending church regularly doesn’t automatically make it false.
It does, however, prove that the person mistakenly put his faith in a church, not in Jesus. Worse, it indicates a profound ignorance of the intimacy that exists between Christ and the church. Before he established his church, Jesus recruited faith in himself. “Follow me”, he repeatedly said, “take up your cross daily and follow me”. That automatically meant that Christianity would be a relationship, not a religion. He called each disciple one by one, each loving and obeying Jesus as Savior and Lord. Many non-attenders still have that much right, though they may not use the words.
That’s where Christianity begins—each sinner one by one accepting Christ’s sacrifice for his sins and Christ’s Lordship of his daily life. Christianity begins, not ends, there. It isn’t “Jesus and me”, from now on, “Jesus and me a plurality”, whatever the opposition. A Christian automatically becomes part of Christ’s body. For on the day the apostles baptized 3000 converts, Luke says they “were added to their number” Acts 2:41. Whose number? The Twelve Spirit-baptized apostles as the nucleus around which God built a larger membership of Christians.
So it continued throughout the New Testament. Wherever converts were baptized, “the Lord added to their number” Acts 2:47. Paul summarized it all in Ephesians 5:25-33. Jesus is the head of the church, which is his body. That body existing in real time, in real places, all over the world, in every age.
Some people say they can accept God, but not Jesus. How can that be? The “our” in Genesis 1:26 is God, Jesus and the Spirit, three in one and One in three, the indivisible Godhead. Jesus is God’s WORD, the One through whom God speaks John 1:1-2. He is the One in whom the fullness of the Godhead lives Colossians 1:19. If we believe in God, we must believe in Jesus as His Only Begotten Son John 3:18, 14:7, 9, etc.
Others say they believe in Christ, but not the church. How can that be? He is the “head of the body, the church” Colossians 1:18, Ephesians1:22-23. Whatever way we remove a head from its body, only a corpse remains. And since no severance ever comes between Jesus and his church, only the person who thinks to separate them becomes the religious corpse, severed from the HEAD. Fini