“And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b) is the first place in Scripture where the people of God are referred to as “the church,” or in the Greek, ekklesia. Many people attend church and would identify themselves as belonging to the church. Does that mean all these people have come to a saving knowledge of Christ?
Author and apologist Mike Shreve says no. He also says there is an “uncommon depth of revelation” associated with the term ekklesia. “Right from the start, I can see that the church is not a work of man alone. We may be God’s instruments to help build it, but it is a work of God. This is not just an organization; the church is an organism. It is a living body of believers worldwide that transcends denominationalism,” he explains on the Discover Your Spiritual Identity podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network.
“In fact, there are over 2 billion professing Christians in the world, and yet many of them have never been born again. Many of them have never been saved by New Covenant standards, nor do they have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,” Shreve says. “They believe in the historical Jesus, who was born of a virgin, who was crucified, buried, and rose again and ascended to heaven. And yet too often there is no personal relationship with Him, which is absolutely essential.”
To discover more on this topic and find out how you tell the difference between what Shreve calls “the professing church,” those who profess Christianity and what he calls “the possessing church,” who are truly saved, listen to the entire podcast here.