"So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another " (Romans 12:5).
What Does it Mean to be Christian?
By definition: “a Christian is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.” To be more precise: One who believes, “…all that is promised us in the Gospel, which the articles of our catholic, undoubted faith teach us in summary.” (HC 22)
Those articles of our catholic (universal), undoubted faith (the Gospel) are summed in the historic church document know as the Apostle’s Creed:
“I believe in God the Father Almighty
Maker of heaven and earth.
and in Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into Hell;
the third day He rose from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
the holy catholic Church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
To become a member of Covenant Reformed, you must make a public profession of faith and submit to the government and discipline of the church. This involves wholeheartedly answering “yes” to four questions that we ask of all those seeking to join an RCUS congregation. The focus of the first question is on your personal view of the Bible.
Q. 1 - Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the inerrant and infallible Word of God, and its doctrine, summarized in the confessions of this church, to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?
God has shown us both in his Word and through-out history that when any human philosophies are allowed to take the place of or even supplement God’s Word, Jesus and His Gospel are soon abandoned.
Though constantly assaulted from every front, the Bible still stands inerrant and infallible in all that it teaches to this very day.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
Since the creeds, confessions, and catechisms of the RCUS are but summaries of the sound doctrines taught to us in the Bible, they serve as subordinate but authoritative documents within the RCUS as well.
The focus of the second question is upon your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Sin & Salvation
Q. 2 - Do you confess that because of your sinfulness, you abhor and humble yourself before God, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?
The Bible clearly teaches what God requires of us in His Law.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37–40)
The Bible also teaches us that any violation of or neglect to do God’s Law is sin.
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4)
Furthermore, the Bible teaches us that sin is so bad that a just and righteous God must deal with it.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
The Bad News
According to the Bible, you are a sinner on two accounts:
You were born a sinner.
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”(Romans 5:12)
You actively sin in your daily life.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23)
The worst news of all…there’s nothing we can do about our situation.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked,… by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:1–3)
Things are pretty bad for mankind after the fall (Genesis 3). All people since have lived in spiritual death with only the everlasting punishment of both body and soul in Hell to look forward to. There is no possibility of us ever rescuing ourselves nor others from our sinful condition and the miseries that attend it. However, God has done what man could not do.
The Good News
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, Immanuel, one person who is both fully man and fully God at the same time (John 1:1, 14).
You must believe that Jesus is the Christ; the Savior. The Messiah sent from God to save his people from their sins and bring them back into relationship with Him (Isaiah 53; Acts 2:36).
You must believe what the Bible teaches about what Jesus came to do; to live a life of perfect obedience for God’s people and to die on the cross as a substitute for sinners (2 Cor 5:21).
When you do this and transfer your trust in self to Jesus Christ, the following will happen:
You will be given new life now and into eternity (John 6:47; 1John 5:12; Rom 6:23).
You will become a new person in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
You will be adopted into the family of God with all the rights and privileges of a child of God (John 1:12; Eph 1:3-6).
The focus of the final two questions is upon your allegiance to Jesus and to His government of His Church.
Q. 3 - Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord; and do you promise, in reliance on the grace of God, to serve Him with your whole heart, to forsake the world, to mortify your old nature, and to lead a godly life?
Q. 4 - Do you agree to submit in the Lord to the government of this church, and in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life, to obey its discipline?
Putting your trust in Christ means following Him with your whole heart; turning away from sin and to righteousness; growing in your love for God through His means of grace: the reading & preaching of the Bible, the fellowship of the saints, prayer, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. In sum, endeavoring to live your whole life in obedience to God; knowing Him more and more through Christ as you grow more and more within His family, the church, glorifying Him in all that you do.