Profession - Confession; declaration; testimony by one's words and actions
are spiritually united to Christ the Head of the Church. This view of the church is termed the "Church Invisible"; it is not invisible to God, but as a spiritual body, it is invisible to man.
The second view of the church emphasizes man's perspective. Man sees all those who outwardly separate themselves from the world to gather together to worship God. Man cannot look into another's heart, but can see another's outward profession of faith. He sees all those who are outwardly called by the Spirit and are in an external relationship with God's church. The church gathering, worship, preaching, sacraments, ordinances, and government all have an outward, visible aspect to them. This view of the church is termed the "Church Visible"; it is visible to man.
The following chart distinguishes Church Visible from Church Invisible membership according to their differing characteristics.
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP - THE CHURCH VISIBLE CONTRASTED WITH THE CHURCH INVISIBLE
The inwardly (effectually) called; those to whom God's Word has been savingly applied - the saved only
The outwardly called; all those who hear God's Word - the saved and unsaved
2. Relationship to Christ
Inward and spiritual - saving
Outward and visible - non-saving
3. Relationship to God's Covenant of Grace
Saving, eternal, unbreakable
Non-saving, temporary, breakable
4. Separation from the world to worship God
Inwardly, in the new nature; by grace, obeying the inward call to worship God in Spirit and in truth
Outwardly; obeying the outward call to worship God
5. Entrance method
By spiritual birth and saving confession; the inward reality of baptism - entrance into the Church Invisible with all its benefits
By natural birth (born of church parents) and by personal confession; the outward reality of baptism - entrance into the Church Visible with its benefits
Eternal and saving - regeneration, conversion, justification, sanctification, and glorification
Temporary and non-saving - placed under God's Word (the means God does bless to save sinners), and the teachings, prayers, and government of the church