Do I have to go to church to be saved?
(1) Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone revealed in Scripture alone to the glory of God alone.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear we are saved only by the finished work of Christ (Colossians 2:13-14, John 19:30) embraced by grace alone through faith alone.
(2) A person is saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, but a true faith will never be alone.
A Christian is a new creature and will have new desires (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We can point to many things as evidence of a person’s conversion to Christ Jesus, evidence of a true faith in Christ.
- The fruit of the Holy Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22-24).
- Adherence to the orthodox apostolic doctrine and faith (Jude 1:3-4, Titus 1:13-16, 1 John 2:18-20, Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 10:29, 1 Timothy 1:19-20).
- Lastly, the New Testament in John 13:35 conveys that the world will see we are Christ’s disciples, our faith lived out, in our love for “one another” meaning the church, and particularly this is shown in the local church. In Matthew 25:31-46 those who enter the kingdom, the sheep of God, whose faith is shown as genuine before the throne of Christ by their loving care for those in the church which Christ Jesus equated with caring for Him (doctrine of the union with Christ).
The apostle John says it this way in 1 John 3:13-15:
"13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."
Going to church does not make you a Christian, but all those who truly trust in Christ will be part of a local body of believers as the fruit of the new nature that exists within all believers in Christ as the work of God the Holy Spirit in their regeneration (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Corinthians 5:21) that drives their lives.