There is nothing more offensive to our society in our current times than to hear someone say – “You have to be part of the church to be saved”. Even the handful of people who are left in our society that still go to church take offense at such a statement, because the denominations teach salvation by belief alone apart from anything else mentioned in scripture. It is interesting however, how the same offended individuals will quickly change positions whenever a passage such as Eph 5:23-25 is read, which shows that the church is the body, for who Christ died and is the savior of. Now that they are on board with the statement that the church is necessary they will quickly point out that we are the church, the universal church they might say, and the church is the people.
It is true that the church is the people, but unlike the new position these individuals are now embracing, the church is not just people or even saved people. The church is a structure, not a brick and mortar structure – but a structure of people that assemble together, are accountable to leaders, are responsible for tasks together, and who worship together. The church is a local congregation you assemble with, answer to, and work with. For this God set elders and deacons up for His church, not just as an option for those who desire. For this God called the church “the pillar and support of truth” (1 Tim 3:15). For this God said do not forsake the assembly of the saints (Heb 10:25), and to listen to those who give account for your souls (Heb 13:17).
There is no salvation outside of the church – period. Do not be deceived, this is the kingdom of God which the whole Bible points toward (Matt 16:18-19, Col 1:13, Rev 1:9). If you are not in the church, or your church teaches it is not necessary (which is the belief of most of denominations and community churches), then you need to be concerned for your soul.
“For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives aught to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her;” Ephesians 5:23-25 NASB
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28
“… to the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” Galatians 1:2-4
“And one of the the seven angles who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.“” Revelation 21:9