Which Church Is The True Church Of God?
Which church is the one true church of God? This is one of most debated questions in human history. While searching for truth, many people have struggled with this question. Literally thousands of churches, denominations, and religious organizations throughout the world and throughout history have laid claim to the title “the one true church of God.” Even today, many people remain convinced their denomination is the anointed one of God. As a result, it’s not difficult to see how people can easily become frustrated in regard to this question.
So how does a person searching for truth find the one true church? With so many options – Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and literally thousands of alternatives, the average Christian can not reasonably be expected to examine the tenets of each and every one. Yet each of these groups harbors a certain number of adherents who believe their church is the “one true church of God,” while all other groups are inferior or even outright evil. Some even promote such a declaration as their official position. In light of these circumstances, many will honestly wonder: does a “one true church of God” exist? And if it does, where is it?
To find the answer, one needs to consult the definitive authority on the matter – the bible, the very Word of God Himself. According to the bible, the one true church of God does exist, but it can’t be identified by man-made tradition or human declaration or doctrines or rules. And it doesn’t gather in a single building every Sunday. Such ideas are worldly conceptions of what the church should be.
The one true church of God is comprised of various individuals from every walk of life, who live in a multitude of places stretching from one end of the earth to the other. Each of these individuals is a part of the body of Christ, and the very Spirit of Jesus Christ resides in their hearts.
Christians In Name Only
One of the problems with identifying the one true church of God is that not all people who call themselves Christians are really Christians. The Lord Jesus Himself revealed that on the Day of Judgment, many will claim they lived their lives for Christ but will be exposed as “Christians” in name only:
”Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.'” Matthew 7:21-23 (NLT)
Who are these people? These are people who use Christ’s name here on earth for their own purposes, be it to acquire fame, wealth, adulation, or some other selfish ambition. Yet these same people actually reject Christ in their hearts.
This passage frightens many true Christians, who begin second-guessing their own standing with God. But such thinking comes from Satan. If you truly believe in Christ and trust in Him, you need not worry about your failure to adhere to some doctrine of which you are unaware. If you believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of the living God, who died for your sins, then your salvation is secure.
Everything Must Point to Jesus
For members of the one true church, Jesus is central to all things. Any teaching, belief, tradition, or doctrine that fails to glorify Jesus is false.
”Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6 (NLT)
Jesus did not say, “This or that church is the way, the truth, and the life.” He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
If you want to call yourself a Christian, Christ must be the basis of your faith, not the pronouncements of a church. In fact, the very definition of the word Christian is “follower of Christ,” and Jesus Himself explicitly stated His criteria for all who wish to follow Him:
”Then he said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.'” Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)
To be a true Christian, you must replace your own selfish ambition and worldly desires with the will of God. Christ must be the dominate influence in your life, not human traditions. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their insistence that others follow their rigid and burdensome traditions:
”Jesus replied, ‘You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.’ Then he said, ‘You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.'” Mark 7:6-9 (NLT)
Living for Christ requires suffering and an unyielding willingness to sacrifice everything that is not of Christ in order to serve Him.
The Holy Spirit
If earthly organizations are not responsible for salvation, then who are the members of the one true church of God? No matter what worldly church a person attends (if any), the only way they can become members of the one true church of God is if they allow the Holy Spirit to enter their lives. Members of the one true church of God must be born again. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus nearly 2,000 years ago:
”Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ ‘What do you mean?’ exclaimed Nicodemus. ‘How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.'” John 3:3-8 (NLT)
When you believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life, accepting His blood as payment for your sins, you are filled with the Holy Spirit. You then become part of the Body of Christ, the one true church of God:
”For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Romans 8:14 (NLT)
The Holy Spirit is the very Spirit of Christ. It is the means by which He identifies the members of His church:
”It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NLT)
If belonging to Christ requires the Holy Spirit, how can you know for sure if you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit? This is a good question, and it requires a personal examination of your relationship with God.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in your life will lead to great transformation. Being “born again,” you will become a new creation, meaning the sinful desires of your old life will give way to the desires of Christ. It isn’t necessary to be struck by lightning or to have some Hollywood epiphany. The transformation may be gradual, but it will be noticeable.
Many earthly churches and religious organizations claim to have a monopoly on salvation. But only one path to salvation exists, and it has nothing to do with the doctrines of earthly churches and religious organizations:
”If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’ Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'” Romans 10:9-13 (NLT)
Salvation is equally available to both Jew and Gentile. Even though they may observe different religious traditions, both are saved when they “call on the name of the Lord.” For salvation comes not from the traditions of man or from his good works, but only from God’s mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ:
”He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5 (NLT)
The ability to wash away sins and give new life through the Holy Spirit is NOT a power enjoyed by self-righteous humans or earthly religious groups. It is the exclusive domain of God Himself:
”God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
Earthly religious organizations should never boast of their ability to save souls, because salvation doesn’t come from churches or mosques or synagogues. No earthly organization can take credit for God’s amazing grace.