2.  Universalism Fails to Recognize the Relationship of the New Birth to Church Membership.

Universalism teaches that water baptism has no connection to Church membership.  According to the Bible, baptism is what puts a person into the Church.  So that this will be clear, the Church will be identified using the scriptures.  Once the Church is identified verses will be presented showing how a person enters into it.

A.The Bible teaches that the Church is the Lord’s body.  A few are presented here.
i.(Eph 1:22-23) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, {23} Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
ii.(Col 1:24) Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.

B.The scriptures teach that we enter “into” Christ by baptism.  This is clearly taught in Romans chapter six.  The verse given teaches how we enter “into” Christ.  We are baptized “into” Christ.  By baptism we put our old ways of living to death in exchange for the new ways of Christ.  This is the only reasonable action for the born-again child of God.  They have the possession of the Holy Spirit within, so they follow through by putting the outer-man off.  They bury the outer-man by entering the Lord’s body by baptism.  In the new birth discussion under point one, it was noticed how Christ enters “into” a person when they become a child of God.  Then, as taught in Romans 6:3, we enter “into” Christ by baptism.  So then, entering Christ does NOT occur in the new birth, it occurs by baptism.  When we enter Christ we are entering His body which is the Church.

– (Rom 6:3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

C.The Bible teaches the difference between the new birth and Church membership in the letter to the Galatians in the third chapter.  In these verses there is found the clear difference between Christ entering a child of God and a child of God entering into Him.  First, people become children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  Recall that Galatians 4:6 states, “because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts.”  When a person becomes a child of God, by faith in Christ Jesus, the Lord enters into their heart.  Then, as mentioned in Galatians 3:27, those who enter into Christ do so by baptism.  So then, there is an obvious difference in Christ entering into a person and a person entering into Christ.  These verses from Galatians clearly teach this difference. Furthermore, this is the difference in being born-again then uniting with the Lord’s Church body compared to being born-again and remaining out of the Lord’s Church body.

(Gal 3:26-27) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. {27} For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

In conclusion, the Church is the body of the Lord.  The way we enter into the body of the Lord is by baptism.  The scriptures given teach this to be true.  As this is taught, it becomes clear that there is an order by which this is to take place.  Gal 3:26:27 is one of the places that present this order.  The order is: 1) to become a child of God by faith in Christ and 2) to enter into Christ by baptism.  This order expresses the plan of God as it applies to both parts of man: both the inward and outward parts.  The inward part of man is regenerated by faith in Christ.  The outward man is then buried into Christ to start walking in the good ways of God.  As mankind is a two-fold being, we should all expect that God’s plan would take into consideration and affect both parts.