Why should you have the privilege of an insider when you determine to remain as an outsider? I say this in the context of the church and committing to a church. The New Testament clearly makes the great division between those who are for Christ and those who are not Christ’s. There are only two camps. We show that we are committed to Christ by committing to a church.
The Word in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 gives some interesting insights here. There is a man who is in fellowship in the Church at Corinth, but he is having an affair with his step-mother. Paul clearly says that this man should be put out of fellowship so that he is not in fellowship. And in putting him out of fellowship they hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 cor. 5:5a). From this we learn there are two realms, a realm where God is – the Church, and a realm where Satan is – the world.
So what are we to make of Christians who decide that they won’t take on the commitment and responsibility of being in a church? Is it not reasonable that we actually treat them as unbelievers? They have chosen the realm of unbelievers, because, as we have already indicated, there is only the church and the world. Therefore, should we not treat them as those of the world.
Of course we have to be thoughtful in all this because many are on a journey that is leading them to commit to a church. Perhaps they are moving to a new area or they have been baptised and are now considering committing to a church. Others have just not been taught about the importance of church membership. Notwithstanding these situations though, what are we to make of those who profess Christ, but won’t commit? Have they not willfully placed themselves in a situation where they have no right to be treated as believers.
This may all sound harsh. However, should not love on our part lead us to challenge the so-called people of Christ who refuse to affiliate with a local representation of the body of Christ. By their actions such people forfeit the right to be treated as believers.