Q. I have truly been blessed through your ministry, and find the information on your website very helpful in my walk with God. please help me understand the difference between the Church and the bride of Christ. Apparently, some think there is a difference between the two. They say faith in Jesus does save us… but to attend the wedding (i.e. get caught up in the rapture to meet Jesus) we must complete the mission God has for us. I just want clarification because I do want to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
A. Lately there’s been a reemergence of a “grace plus works” theology that tries to separate good believers from bad ones, saying only the good ones will inherit the promised blessings. Bad ones will still be saved, according to this view, but won’t enter the kingdom and live in the light of the Lord. Some even say they won’t be taken in the Rapture but will have to be purified in the Great Tribulation before they’re worthy of the Kingdom.
You may hear these folks talk about salvation righteousness versus kingdom righteousness, but these are terms you won’t find anywhere in the Bible. Talk like this turns our blessed hope into a source of fear, because there is no level of behavior sin infested man can maintain that’s sufficient to earn the blessings of God. The only way our so-called good works are acceptable at all is if they’re done solely out of gratitude for what we’ve been freely given.
2 Cor. 11:2 and Ephesians 5:25-27 are two examples that show the Bible considers the Church and the Bride to be one and the same.