A number of different figures are attached to the church in the Bible. As we study these figures, we can learn what the rules of admission into the church are. The church is called the family of God. Paul says: “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto you shortly; but if I tarry long, that you may know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:14, 15). The church is the, house of God. Several times we read about a certain “household” being baptized. This means the family was baptized. Paul speaks of the “household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). But when we think of the church as God’s family, we learn how one gets into this family of God. Paul further says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). The Spirit of God gave the revelation that we have and know as the Bible; so those that are led by the teaching of the Bible become members of the family of God.
While we think about our own family, let us ask, “how did I enter my family?” Of course, we can give but one answer. We were born into it. That is the same way that one enters the family of God. He is born into it. This birth is not a natural birth from the womb, but is spiritual. In John 3:5, Jesus spoke to Nicodemus and said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” One is born into the kingdom of God, which is the church.
As we look at these passages, remember that Jesus said the birth of water and the Spirit makes one a member of the kingdom. Paul said, “For though you have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet have you not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I begat you through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15). They were begotten through the gospel. The gospel is the product of the Spirit. And the Apostle Peter adds: “having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and abides” (1 Pet. 1:23). So to enter the church, one must be begotten by the word of the Spirit, and be baptized. He must believe according to the teaching of the Spirit, and be baptized. This is how one enters the family of God. He who has not done this is not a child of God He is not a member of the church of God
Baptism puts one into Christ (Rom. 6:3, 4). All who are baptized into Christ, put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). Baptism puts one into the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3-5) where he can enjoy all that Christ died for him to have. Baptism puts one into the body of Christ, which is the church (1 Cor. 12:13 ff; Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18, 24). Luke says the Lord “added to the church daily” the ones who thus submitted to Christ’s authority as expressed by the apostles.
Baptism is the only door into the church. It was in the apostles day and it remains the only entrance today. Don’t take my word for it, take God’s word for it. The baptism authorized by Christ puts one into the body of Christ, which is the church of Christ.