The Curious Case of the Decapitated Savior
I unashamedly stole the title of this article from Jim Savastio, pastor of Reformed Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. But what in the world does it mean?
This is an article written directly to those who want Christ but not the church—the head without the body.
Paul teaches us in places like Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:18 that Christ is the head of the church. We are told in places like 1 Corinthians 12:27 and Ephesians 4:12 that the church is the body of Christ.
Now, typically, heads and bodies are supposed to go together. In fact, common sense tells us they are inseparable. Yet, in modern Christianity, we have a curious case where many believe they can have the head without the body. They want a decapitated Savior. This can manifest in one’s life in a number of ways. Here, I would like to focus on one in particular: infrequently or never gathering with the church.
I am speaking directly to those who call themselves Christians, and believe they are saved, yet rarely or never gather with the body of Christ. This does not include those who cannot gather because of health reasons. Almost every church has members we would call “shut-ins,” who desperately wish they could gather with the church but cannot. Those are precious souls who need and deserve the church’s care, attention, and ministry. This article, however, is directed to those who could very well gather with the church each week, yet choose not to do so.
Be honest with yourself… what is the real reason why you rarely or never attend the weekly gathering of the body of Christ? Not the reason you would give the minister if he asked you, but the one that you might be ashamed to say out loud. What’s the real reason? Is it laziness? Is it because you find church boring? Is it because recreation or kids sports is honestly more important? Is it because you simply don’t want to have to deal with people asking where you’ve been?
Now ask yourself this question… Would you be willing to give that same reason to Jesus if he asked you to your face why you chose not to gather with his body? Let me tell you something… he already knows.
Does it take more than church attendance for someone to be saved? Sure it does. There are people all over the world sitting in the pews week after week who are actually separated from God. BUT… if someone claims they are genuinely saved, and is physically able to gather with a local church, but refuses, I could not give that person assurance of their salvation.
Let me say that again… if you refuse to gather with a local church, I cannot assure you that you will go to heaven. In fact, I think you have reason to be seriously concerned about your salvation. It’s technically possible, but the probability falls the other way. It is much more likely that such a person is self-deceived and lost, than that they are a true believer. Again, this is for those who are physically able to gather with the body of Christ but regularly choose not to.
If this article describes you, let me end with a plea to you, because your eternity is at stake. Whatever reason you have for refusing to gather with the local church when you are able, it will not be sufficient when you stand before the judgment seat of Jesus, the head of the church. If you cannot bring yourself to gather regularly with a local church to worship God, you are risking being separated from him for all eternity. Please, please do not let your personal issues keep you out of heaven for all eternity. Head and body go together. We need the church. There is no such thing as a decapitated Savior.