Individually and Together

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The Church of Jesus Christ is a corporate body, a covenanted reality. Together, we are the bride of Christ, organically connected to all who love Jesus Christ all over the world and throughout history. We are the Church.

We are also individual Christians. And we know that, while the elect are saved, not everyone who is baptized will automatically be saved. Of course not—hypocrites and scoundrels will be shut out at the last day.

We want always to avoid the twin errors of individualism and ecclesiastical collectivism. The former neglects the importance of the Church, and the latter neglects the importance of individual faith and devotion. The former thinks that Jesus is a bachelor and has no bride. The latter forgets that we go to heaven or to hell by ones.

What is the balance? First, keep the worship of God central in your lives. Look forward to the Lord’s Day. Prepare for it throughout the week, and look back on our worship services with gratitude and affection. Second, cultivate the disciplines of personal holiness. Read your Bible faithfully; pray to God without ceasing; confess your sins regularly; obey God in your individual station.

The faithful body is made up of faithful members. Faithful members cannot survive outside the faithful body. God balances the demands of individual piety and corporate devotion as we follow Him individually, and as we worship Him together. Both are necessary; do not privilege one over the other.

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