We had an interesting discussion yesterday at our weekly morning bible study. The question was asked, can you trust Jesus and not be a part of His church? It is a loaded question with HUGE implications. In the bible belt we are living in a culture where most people believe, at least intellectually, in Jesus while avoiding the church.
I know the church has its baggage. We are a bunch of sinners saved by grace. I know we have our faults. At the end of the day though, we are called the bride of Christ.
For me, if a person were to tell me that they loved me, but hated my wife, I would struggle to love them. Why? My wife is a part of me. If you were to insult her you insult part of me. The same is true with the church. When you love Jesus and not love the church what you are telling him is that you love the parts that benefit you. In this you don’t love Jesus for who he is.
Many people come to Jesus for what they can get. To genuinely follow Jesus you come to Him for who he is. Jesus said that if you really love him you would do what he says. If you really love him you love his bride. If you really love him you take his commandments at face value and live by them. If you really love him it is about the life he dictates, not the life you dictate.
At the end of the day our commitment to Jesus will show whether our heart belongs to him. Can you love Jesus without loving his church? I would say no. Why? Part of loving Jesus is loving the things he loves. Can you love Jesus and decided what sins are ok and what aren’t for you? I would say no. Part of loving Jesus means making him lord over what is right and what is wrong.
If Jesus has actually changed your heart then you will gladly submit it to Him. You will love what he loves and hate what he hates.