“And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body” (Ephesians 2:16).
God has been working through Christ since Jesus came from heaven reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). And for people to take advantage of this supreme opportunity to “be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20), the reconciliation must take place God’s way. Notice in Ephesians 2:16 that the plan of reconciliation is for “both.” The context explains “both” as being “Jews and Gentiles” (vs. 11-13), meaning reconciliation is possible for everyone since Jews and Gentiles represent all people. However, observe how all reconciled persons must be reconciled into the “one body.”
There is just ONE body (Eph. 4:4). The church is His body and the body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). So, to be reconciled into the one body is to be reconciled into the one church. Jesus only established one church (Matt. 16:18), purchased one church (Acts 20:28) and gave Himself for one church (Eph. 5:25). The one church of our Lord, only soul-saving institution on the face of the earth, has many congregations in various communities all over the world with the same doctrine (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 1:3), same worship (John 4:23-24; Acts 20:7) and same practices (1 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 3:16). It is like there is only one McDonald’s, but many McDonald’s stores in various communities that all have the same menu and all makeup the one McDonald’s restaurant.
This one authorized church of the Bible is the only church that people can be reconciled to God through because it is the only church they can be saved through! “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). When people correctly respond to the gospel invitation through belief (John 8:24), repentance (Luke 13:3,5), confession (Matt. 10:32-33) and water baptism (Acts 2:38,41; 8:36-39; 10:47-48; 22:16), the Lord reconciles them by “adding” them to the one body, which is His church (Acts 2:41,47; 5:14; 11:24).
May God continue to bless us all!
Richard Stevens, III