Church-of-Christers think you are the only ones going to heaven.”
“You think your
church is too good for everyone else.”
“You guys are a
bunch of legalists trying to be saved by your good works.”
“What makes your
church better than anyone else’s? I think there are good people
in every church.”
Have you ever heard statements like these? People in the
religious mainstream have made them for years. Allow me to explain
what these kinds of statements really are. They are biasing
statements, meant to discourage the child of God from accepting,
following and teaching the doctrine of Christ. They are the
statements to which people resort when they cannot make biblical
arguments. Despite the fact that these are purely emotional and
slanderous attacks that prove absolutely nothing, these kinds of
statements often hold power over Christians, causing them to back
away from the doctrine of Christ. I would like us to consider one
of these statements—“I think there are good people in every
church.” Is that true? If it is, does that mean that one church
is as good as another? Does that mean that there are saved people
in every church? Examine these questions closely.
it is true; there are good people in every church.
shocked to hear me say it? There are good people in every church.
That is, if by good you mean people who do good things. There are
even good people among the Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. That is,
if by good you mean people who are generous, kind and have a great
reputation. There are good people among the pagan idolaters and
atheists. That is, if by good you mean people who are caring,
concerned and compassionate.
I have met
and know personally many good people from all kinds of churches
and religious backgrounds (or lack thereof as the case may be). I
have family who I would match against the best in this
congregation for goodness. Yet, they are members of different
kind of goodness grant salvation? Absolutely not. Consider
Jesus’ statement in Luke
11:13. These people would be generous and sweet, kind and
caring. But they were not saved. Jesus called them evil.
there are no good people in any church (not even in this one).
shocked to hear me say it? There are no good people in any church,
not even in this one. That is, if by good you mean holy as God is
“No one is good but God” (Matthew
19:17). Men say, “There are good people in every
church.” Jesus said there are not. No one is good but God.
3:9-18. Some today would claim that there are righteous
people in every church. There are those who have never turned
aside in every church. There are some who are profitable in all
churches. But Paul said that no one is good, “no, not one!”
These statements are based on Paul’s argumentation found in the
first two chapters of Romans.
this is clear. No matter what church you go to or do not go to …
No matter how sincere you are in your religion … No matter what
you understand or do not understand, you are not this kind of
good. You fall short of the stature of Christ and His holiness.
You are lost and no matter what you do you cannot change it. You
cannot save yourself.
unto salvation only comes by God’s mercy through obedience to
There is a
dilemma. No matter what good we do, we are still not good. “Who
can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my
20:9)? The statement, “There are good people in every
church” really has no meaning. The “goodness” we do cannot
How can we
become good? Ephesians
2:1-10 explains. We can only receive this goodness by
God’s grace. God, through His love and mercy, can make us alive
together with Christ and raise us up. If He does, we cannot boast
because we have not done and cannot do anything worthy of
salvation. Rather, God will work in us, recreating us, taking our
sins away so we can do the good works that He has prepared for us
But God is
clear. Not everyone will receive this mercy. Who will? Ephesians
2:8, those who have faith will receive mercy. Ephesians
2:2 demonstrates those who are disobedient will not. Thus,
only those who, through faith, obey Christ will receive mercy.
How do we
obey in order to receive the goodness that comes through God’s
2:6 spoke of those who are raised up with Christ. Who is
6:3-5 and Colossians 2:11-14 both explain those who
have been buried with Christ in baptism were also raised with Him
by the working of God, through faith. Who receives the mercy of
God, being made alive in Christ Jesus, created anew for good
works? Those who faithfully turn from their sins and submit to God
in obedience, being baptized for the remission of their sins. No
teach and follow a different gospel are accursed.
important question then is not, “Are there good people in every
church?” Rather, it is, “Does every church teach Christ’s
gospel?” The answer is clearly, “No.” Galatians
1:8-9 is strikingly clear. If a church teaches some other
gospel than what we find in scripture, it is accursed. The members
of that church, no matter how much good stuff they do, are lost.
We have seen
the gospel of Christ. Jesus died, was buried, then arose so that
we may follow in His footsteps, dying to sin, buried in baptism
with Him and then raised, by the working of God through faith, to
walk in newness of life. What are other “gospels”? Here are
Unless you are circumcised, you cannot be saved. (Acts
Be sprinkled or christened and you will be saved. (cf. Romans
6:4—baptism is a burial.)
You are saved by faith only. (cf. James
2:24—not by faith only.)
Say the Sinner’s Prayer.
2:38—why didn’t Peter use this one.)
Be sincere, honest and good. (cf. Ephesians
2:8-9—salvation is by grace not by man’s goodness and
If you do not know the gospel message, you will not
be condemned by it. (cf.
12:47-48—they may receive a lesser punishment, but still
they are punished.)
1:8-9 is clear. If you practice any “gospel” other
than Christ’s, you are not saved.
allow God to decide who He will save.
consider all of these things. I believe we must remember what the
Bible says in Romans
9:15. “I will have mercy on whomever I will have
mercy.” I think we should leave deciding who will be saved up to
God, leaving “I think”, “I feel” and “I am sure” out
this, let us be quite clear. God has told us upon whom He will
bestow mercy. This statement is not some cop out to keep from
answering questions about who is saved. God gave us His Word so we
can know who will be saved. If we do not measure up, we can
change. If we know someone who has not met the conditions, we can
says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Acts
2:38 says, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you
shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Romans
10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord
Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the
dead, you will be saved.” I
Peter 3:21 says, “There is also an antitype which now
saves us—baptism …”
declared upon whom He will have mercy. We must not change it or
make exceptions. We must accept it and change ourselves. “Let
God be true but every man a liar” (Romans
Are there good people in every church? Yes. But none are so
good as to earn salvation. Man is not saved by goodness but by
grace. However, only those in Christ will receive God’s grace.
Are you in Christ? If not, submit to Romans
6:3-4. Submit to Galatians
3:26-27. Enter Christ and be saved by God’s grace.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ