5. Testimony - includes the person in an outward relationship to God's covenant promises, a personal encouragement to seek the confirmation of his baptism promises by experiential grace
6. Unity - places God's Name and mark on the person externally in baptism, outwardly separating him from the world and bringing him in personal contact with God and the Lord's family
7. Discipline - brings one under the church's warnings and discipline which are a means to restrain sin
Being an outward church member, a member of the Church Visible, is not saving, but it includes the seven previously stated benefits, which is a great blessing. God is making a gracious distinction when including us in an outward relationship to His church. By nature, we are not better than others to whom God has not granted the blessing of Church Visible membership.
However, all blessings include their attached responsibilities: the greater the privilege, the greater the accountability; the more God gives, the more He requires. All Church Visible members must answer to God for what they have done with their great blessing of Church Visible membership. How does the following example illustrate this truth?
Read the following warning of the Lord Jesus:
Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not:
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
- Matthew 11:20-24
How does this powerful warning apply to those who ignore or despise the God-given blessings of Church Visible membership?
And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
And when ye come into an house, salute it.
And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your I words, when ye depart out of ! that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the !and of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
- Matthew 10:11-15
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.