Continuing a brief sermon series looking at the five membership questions or vows that we take as part of joining a PCA church (meant as both an opportunity for prospective members and those who are checking us out to examine the the most basic aspects of what we believe–the essentials that we all affirm as members–and also for members to remind ourselves of what those basics are and what it means to live out these vows in community), we come to question 3:

“Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?”

This question addresses the Christian doctrine of sanctification. James’ explanation of that doctrine makes clear that we have to live in response to our beliefs, or our beliefs show themselves to not really rise to the level of real “beliefs.” He also, however, eludes to how it is possible to do something so difficult.

The image is a depiction of the execution of Nathan Hale during the American Revolutionary War; while the war was obviously more complex than most popular depictions, the crisis pressed many individuals–both loyalist and patriot–to confront the reality that we must live outwardly in response to our inward convictions.