When God saves us there are many wonderful and remarkable things that happen to us as individuals. First of all, we’re born again with a new principle of life which we never had before (John 3:1-8). Second of all, with the new birth, we receive a new nature – a new heart – that pulsates with new affections and drives that are centered on Christ and wanting to follow Him in full obedience (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Luke 9:23; Colossians 3:5-10). Third of all, our personal standing with God has radically changed. While before we were under condemnation and wrath due to our sin, now we are forgiven, declared righteous, and forever accepted by God because of everything Christ achieved by His life and death in our place (Romans 3:21-28; 8:1-2; Ephesians 1:7).
But not only has God justified us in Christ, we have also been united with Christ in spiritual union, where He is now our life (Romans 6:1-6; Colossians 3:4). In fact, what the apostle Paul writes to the Galatians as his own testimony, is true of every Christian: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”(Galatians 2:20). These words of truth speak to the reality of spiritual union all Christians have with Jesus Christ our Lord. They testify to the life transformation that God has brought to every sinner He has chosen to save.
In addition to these blessings though, a Christian has become someone who is supernaturally indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). And through the power of the Holy Spirit working in a believer, they are being sanctified in the very image of Christ Himself (2 Corinthians 3:18). Needless to say, the point of all these examples is simply to give proof to the fact that when God’s saving grace comes to us as individuals, there are an astounding number of personal blessings we receive (cf. Ephesians 1:3)
However, while God saves us as individuals, yet He does not leave us in our individualism. What does this mean? It means that the Christian and the life he lives is not as one who is isolated from other Christians. To put it in the vernacular: God does not save sinners to live as “lone rangers.” He redeems us and gives us a new life to be lived with fellow Christians (Hebrews 10:24-25). In other words, our personal walk with God is not a private walk but a corporate, collective, public walk with other believers in Jesus Christ.
This is why, for instance, when you read in Acts 2:41 and following, about the three thousand sinners God saved on the day of Pentecost – it says, proceeding their conversion, they collectively “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). They did not separate from each other but united together as the church of Jesus Christ. Acts 2:44 states this with more plainness: “And all who believed were TOGETHER and had all things in common” (emphasis mine).
If you might be wondering why all these people stayed together, who before their conversion were strangers – 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 gives us the theological and spiritual reason: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we are all baptized into one body – Jews and Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” Based on this passage, here is another remarkable blessing God brings when He saves us in Christ. By the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit we are all placed TOGETHER in the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. No matter our cultural background, our ethnic distinctions, or our social class – when God saves us He unites us, not only with Christ, but with the body of Christ – who is the church.