One growing sentiment you hear now more than ever is that people don’t need the church to be a Christian. When people say things like this, they reveal that they don’t know or understand Christ. They think they are saying that the only thing that matters is their vertical relationship with God. Of course, the vertical connection is important, but God did not stop there. The great commandment made this clear. But people are still left to ask, is it a sin not to go to church?
Matthew 22: 37-39
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
If the only thing that mattered to God were our vertical relationship, he would never have said that we should love our neighbor. The focus would 100% be on keeping God first. This does not prove that church is important, but it should make us wonder enough to dig forward.
You Must Know What The Church is Before Deciding Its a Sin to Not Go
Too many people think of the church as a building you go to. But it’s deeper than that. In the Old Testament, God’s people were the Israelites. The way you became an Israelite was by being born into the family. God chose a specific bloodline to make his people. Then Jesus comes on the scene talking about how being God’s people is no longer just for the Jews. He commissions us to “Go and make disciples of all nation.”
What does this mean? It means that everyone can be in the family of God if they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The people who decide to do this will be called the church. The church is now God’s chosen people. Anyone can go to church but the function of the church is to bring the new family of God together.
And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
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. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[d] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
The question becomes, how can you function with Christ being the church and you being his full body? It would mean that you would need to be the eye, ear, nose, mouth, and every other body part. It would mean you would need to do it all and never have a need for others.
Our Individualistic Society Scews, Our Answer to, is it a Sin to Not Go To Church.
In America, it’s all about me, myself, and I. Everyone is telling you to do you and get yours while forgetting about the next man. Then when it comes to walking with God, people want to find a way to do it without other people, but it fails every time.
True Christianity means you recognize how dependent you are. Yes, dare I say that D-word. The Day I suggest that you need other people, and that is how God designed us. It humbles us all and never lets us get too high on ourselves.
You need a local church because it gives you regular Christians you can meet with, hold accountable, be under the leadership of the elders, serve, worship, and grow together with others.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
How in the world can you fulfill the verse above if you are not a part of a local church? People will try and say that they do all of these things at home, but that is just foolish talk. God’s plans are better than ours. God designed the church to withstand the devil’s schemes and give us what we need to endure our walks with Christ in this world.
Is it a Sin To Go to Church? Well.. Don’t Neglect to Meet
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Let me say this, I used to be one of those people who hated church but loved to read my Bible. Hebrews 10 blew this up for me. How can I say I love the Bible but don’t want to be a part of the Body of Christ? How can I neglect to meet together and encourage others?
There is no way around this. Now, this does not mean that you have to attend a megachurch. Maybe all you need is a small local church where you can be with a few people to hear the preaching of the word and partake in the sacraments. To say that not going to church at all is God’s plan for us is inaccurate.
It’s not ok to say that the church hurt me or you saw a pastor do something stupid. We can all make that argument for any group. I once had a teacher that was racist and treated me horribly. Does that mean she represents every teacher? Of course not! There is no better place to be healed from hurt than in a healthy church body.
Is it a Sin Not to Go to Church? Start with Obedience
To answer these questions, you must understand that grace and obedience are linked. In the OT, because Jesus was not here yet, people had to be obedient at the expense of facing the wrath of God. In the New Testament, we get to step into the grace of Jesus. We don’t have to keep making sacrifices to be his people. Out of that should naturally flow obedience to him.
Obedience is not a word most people love today. It’s cool to be skeptical and not trust people. It’s cool to say that you’re a rule breaker. The problem with living like this is that you lose sight of what God wants and think living for earthly desires is all that matters.
When you begin to follow Jesus, you get to be obedient to him, but you don’t have to. If you don’t attend church, it does not mean you are not a Christian. In the same way, not being baptized does not mean you are not saved. You get baptized because you want to be obedient to Christ. You got to church for the same reasons. You are now a new creation and what pleases him is what now pleases you.