Can I love Christ without loving the Church?
The simple, straightforward answer is “No!”
Here are a few verses in 1 John 4:20 it says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen.” And chapter 5 verse 1 says “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well,” and here child is translated with a small ‘c’ talking about the children of God. Even the Apostle Paul as soon as he talks about faith in Christ Jesus said, you all have received the love of the saints or love for the saints. So one of the first fruits he would look for in a community that says that we’ve come to saving faith in Christ Jesus is the love for the saints, love that is sacrificial, and love at is spirit-produced in our life.
And so when we say that we have this spirit-produced love, love for God, his word, and his people as true believers, and say I don’t love the church, that is a strange thing. It cannot go together. Now, are there challenges in church life? There are. Are there disappointments and discouragements with other brothers and sisters? Yes, there are, but that is no reason to forget the big picture. The big picture is we are one new spiritual family of God, chosen from eternity past.
It was not some late plan of God, a plan of God was that people from every tribe and tongue, and nation would together be presented before God, and Jesus would say me and the children whom you have given me according to Hebrews. And so according to the big picture of the Bible, we have been knit together, we have been united by the Spirit and so it’s impossible to say for a believer that I do not love the church of God. Now, of course, there are some apostate churches that have forsaken the true gospel and they have gone after another gospel and definitely, we are not to say that we love them. We are called to be separate. How can light and darkness be together? But even if it’s a weak church, but if it is looking to a great Christ and a great gospel and seeking to grow and walk in his word we are called to be part and love those body of believers there because they are our spiritual family in Christ. They are our band of brothers. we are behind enemy lines and then we are the ones who stay together as the soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ.