What Does It Mean to be a Presbyterian?

Our Profession of Faith…

The church nurtures those seeking baptism, those baptized as children, and those transferring their church membership and calls them to make public their personal profession or reaffirmation of faith and their acceptance of responsibility in the life of the church by:

  • Professing their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,
  • Renouncing evil and affirming their reliance on God’s grace,
  • Declaring their intention to participate actively and responsibly in the worship and mission of the church.
So, what does this mean?

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matt. 18:20) Christians are supposed to meet together in fellowship. 1 Timothy 3:15 tells us that Christians are the “household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.”

But, before we get too swelled a head over all these blessings of truth, we should remember that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) If we try to say we are not sinners, this truth of the God we seek so ardently will elude us. (1 John 1:8) In many ways this is an unpopular teaching of orthodox Christianity. Aren’t we the “good ones?” Aren’t all those other people who sleep in on Sunday mornings the “bad ones?” Well, no. Our way to the truth we seek lies through our sinful nature, not around it. If we deny we are sinners, the Gospel of Jesus Christ makes no sense. “Repent” from what? “Be saved” from what?

Since we are sinners, God’s judgment rightly should fall on us. Think about this. If someone were to speak lies about us, if others steal our possessions, if they hurt our sons and daughters, wouldn’t we want a righteous judgment? How much more so does God demand justice from us who are sinners against God and our neighbor. Since the problem is our sinful nature, the problem is us, not anyone else. The problem is in us, not outside of us. And, if the problem is in us, the solution must be outside of us.

“God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) We can’t save ourselves from the judgment of God for our sins. No self-righteousness, no amount of “good works,” no matter how much “want-to” we have, we are without hope apart from the saving mercy freely given by the sovereign God.

Therefore, “believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) Easy enough, right? Just believe everything in the Bible and we’re in. Well, acceptance of the divine inspiration and the truth of the scriptures is an important step, but “believing” in Jesus is more than accepting the truth of things about Jesus.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:15) We can believe, like Peter, that Jesus is the Messiah and is Lord, but, if we do not trust him to be Lord of our lives, we remain lost.

“The next day (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29) We can believe, like John the Baptist, that Jesus is the Savior, but, if we don’t trust that Jesus can take away our sins, we remain lost.

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) We can believe, like Peter again, that Jesus alone is the way to salvation, but, if we continue to seek after our own efforts, our own righteousness, or false spiritualism, we will remain lost.