Who are Members of the Invisible Church

Devotion – Who is a member of the Invisible Church?
James Bannerman, “The Church of Christ”, pages 73-74

To answer this question, it is necessary to make the important distinction in what is necessary to constitute a man a member of the invisible church and what is necessary to constitute a man a member of the visible Church of Christ. Let us in the first place, answer the question: What is necessary to make one a member of the invisible church? Now, in answering the question, Who are and who are not members of the invisible Church of Christ? all that is necessary to keep distinctly in view the true nature and real character of that society. The Scriptures assure us that there is a Church which is the holy Bride of Christ, united to Him in an everlasting covenant, – a society which he calls His spiritual Body, and of which He is the exalted Head,- a community described as the ‘temple of the Holy Ghost’, the members of which are ‘lively and spiritual stones’ in the building. Such marks and privileges as these belong to no visible and outward society, whose features can be traced, and whose character read, by man. In such statements of Scripture, we recognize the invisible Church of Christ, known only to Himself, the members of which are included within the bonds of His electing grace. ‘The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible,’ says the Confession of Faith, ‘consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered in one under Christ, the head thereof.’ It is restricted to no one time and no one place, but embraces the elect of all times and all places, without distinction and without exception. In the history of the past, it comprehends all who from the beginning, have been chosen unto salvation, and effectually called by the Spirit; and in the history of the future, it embraces all who, till the dispensation of grace is brought to a close, shall be numbered with those who are adopted into the house and family of Christ. In heaven it can count a multitude, which no man can number, of those who have already been redeemed from the earth; and in this world it can reckon up another multitude, one with the family in heaven, who are either already believers, or who shall yet believe until life eternal. The Church invisible consists, in short, of the whole number of the elect; and the terms of membership in the Church invisible are, to have a place and name within the bonds and privileges of the everlasting covenant.

1 Peter 2:1-10