The other day, my wife and I received a newsletter from a religious organization in the mail. I usually like to receive things from Christian churches and missions, as I like to see how their movement is doing, how I can pray for their ministry, and what they are doing in their community. I have not yet read most of it, but my wife showed me one section that outright gave me pause. It was offensive in the worst way (there is a good way to offend...the offense that causes change when one speaks the truth in love), as it was boasting that they were the only true biblical church. I wasn't offended that they said that, heck, each ministry is flawed, and mine is as well; no, I was offended that they were bragging about their own works as opposed to the Grace through Faith that saves them! When we state that "we are the only biblical church and ministry," we are either dangerously close, if not over the line, to getting away from following the biblical doctrine of being saved by Grace through Faith. At this point, we begin trying to be saved by works and how well we accomplish them. Paul, to the Ephesians, has this to say:
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (Ephesians 4:4-7) Paul states that there IS, in fact, only one church; yet it is not in a physical location. It is the body of believers built up in One Lord, One Faith in One baptism under the headship of Jesus Christ. We are given Grace through Jesus Christ alone. I'm not writing this to disparage another ministry, but to warn each of us not to rely heavily on anything other than the Word of God to inform our walk with Christ, and to depend on nothing but the transformation that comes from being redeemed by the blood of Christ. We all have sinned, and fallen short of God's glory. We all need the truth of God's word. Stand firm in the Lord, seek Him first, repent and be born again! Don't rely on any works of the flesh, but the inner working of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit to save you! Our own strength cannot appease the wrath of God. Jesus Christ's sacrifice is sufficient. Ephesians 2:1-10 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.