Christ affirmed the truth that He would build His Church on the rock solid truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). While the truth has never changed, men have tried to reinterpret it. The reinterpretation has led to a host of errors.
The revelation of the truth to the apostle Peter came from God the Father, not by earthly wisdom. So when Peter declared that Jesus was the Son of the living God, it was truth. Jesus recognized that the Father had revealed this truth to Peter and blessed Peter.
Jesus then declared that He would build His Church and hell would have no power over it. In spite of Christ’s declaration, some people through the years that followed decided to build an organization which they called “the Church” but is not the Church to which Jesus referred. Any organization that says they are the Church and that they have the power to determine who can go to heaven has completely missed the truth. It seems they have a form of godliness but are actually denying the power of God (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
Jesus makes it clear that He is the builder and those who transfer their allegiance from the path of our sinful nature to the Kingdom of God are members of the Church built by Christ. Those who accept Christ’s salvation provided by His sacrifice and resurrection are those who become members of His Body, the Church. Salvation is by Christ alone – no amount of works or keeping of the sacraments is able to save.
The keys of the Kingdom are given to those in the Church – not the earthly organization that calls themselves “the Church” – the keys are given to those who have been redeemed by Christ alone. The keys are not to be used to prevent someone from entering heaven, as though any organization was granted this right to be a gatekeeper. No! The keys refer to the spiritual authority granted to the redeemed in the Church to bind the works of Satan as he interferes with the Church and to loose the blessings of God in the lives of those who are bound by Satan (Matthew 16:19).
I’ve heard someone say that a local church organization could never fail because Jesus has said Hades will not overpower the Church. False! If a local church disobeys the Lord, Christ said He will remove the church if they do not repent (Revelation 2:5). A church that has been removed by the Lord may continue to exist as a man-made organization, but it no longer declares truth, and obeys and loves the Lord. The last book of the Bible is a letter written to seven churches to warn them of the danger of being removed. Chapters 2 and 3 give the specifics.
It is true that hell and all its host can never overpower the Church built by Christ. Don’t confuse the real Church with human imitations that have rituals that seem godly but are useless empty shells. Any church not built by Christ and obedient to Him will fail.
Are you a member of the living Church built by Christ?