A Solemn Covenant with God and His Church—Part II



People in the United States join groups quite often. They join health clubs, book clubs, Parent/Teacher organizations, Classical Music Clubs, political parties, Neighborhood Watch groups, Educational Cooperatives, and the list could go on and on and on. In most of these groups there are some minimum requirements to join and at times there are some penalties when one walks away.

However, when one joins a local church, it is a sacred bond which should be a “cord that it not easily broken.” Much like the vows taken when a man and a woman become a husband and a wife, the vows taken when one joins a congregation are made with God and His Church. The first two vows that new members take when they become a part of a congregation in the Presbyterian Church in America, are at the heart of what is “a credible profession of faith.” These two vows are all about the Gospel.

Vow #1 is a positive affirmation to the following question, “Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save in His sovereign mercy?” It is an admission that apart from the grace of God, we have no hope. Because of the fact that we are “dead in our trespasses and sins,” and “by nature, children of wrath,” we cannot earn a right standing before Him, and could never deserve eternal life. Our only recourse is to trust in His mercy alone as our only hope of salvation.

Vow #2 is a positive affirmation to the next question, “Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?” This vow is saying that we are not trusting in anything that we can do to merit our salvation, and that we are trusting entirely in what Jesus has done for our salvation. He lived a perfect life that we could never live, He died a sacrificial death as our substitute, and we understand that “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) All we can do is receive this precious gift of salvation with the empty hands of faith.

Maybe the Apostle Paul does the best job of summarizing the heart of these two vows in Romans 11:36, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”


1 Comment

  1. jacarroll71 said,

    May 25, 2016 at 6:53 AM

    Good reflections on our vows. Too many treat the church as if it were a supermarket. You go to the one with the best deals and when you find a better one you move on. No commitment. Consumer mentality. God is not honored. The PCA does not encourage this kind of thinking and your blog is a good reminder of this.

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