We are a community of people united to one another and to God through our common faith in the Gospel message, which is “the power of God unto salvation for all who believe” (Romans 1:16).  Although pastors, elders, and deacons at FPC take vows affirming their embrace of the particular beliefs of our Reformed and Presbyterian theology, the only requirement for those seeking to join our fellowship is an embrace of the Gospel.  The Gospel might be summarized in 4 P’s: Purpose, Problem, Provision, Promise. 

1. Purpose

God made this world and all that is in it: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:1,27). He created human beings to be like Him and to have unhindered fellowship with Him. The original creation was all “very good” (Gen. 1:31).

2. Problem

Although the first people God created, Adam and Eve, had complete freedom to live in friendship and trust with Him, they chose to rebel (Gen. 3:1-7). Because God chose Adam to represent the entire human race, his sin was catastrophic for us as much as him: “one trespass led to condemnation for all men” (Rom. 5:18). Our fellowship with God was broken. Instead of enjoying His holy pleasure, we instead face His righteous wrath. Through this sin, we all died spiritually (see Rom. 3:1-20; Eph. 2:1-10) and the entire world was subjected to death and decay. We sin because we are sinners; we do not become sinners when we sin. 

3. Provision

God would have been perfectly just to leave matters there, with all people under His righteous judgment, but He didn’t. Instead God, in his love, set in motion His eternal plan to save His people from sin and judgment and set free the entire creation from its bondage to sin. How? By sending His Son to deal with sin and bring people back to God.  Through his perfect life, sacrificial death on the cross, and resurrection on the third day, Jesus made a way for sinners to be brought into the relationship with God for which we were created.

4. Promise 

The best-known verse in the Bible summarizes the required response to this 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).

To “believe in” Jesus entails two acts: repentance and faith.  To “repent” is to grieve for and hate your sin and turn from it unto God. To have “faith” is to receive and rest upon Christ alone as he is offered to us in the Gospel. All who believe in him truly are saved from the curse, forgiven of sins, adopted into God’s family, given the Holy Spirit, and secured for all eternity. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone, and not on the basis of our works. 

Have you responded to the promise of the Gospel? If you feel God calling you to himself, simply pray to Him something like this prayer: “God, I agree with you that I am a sinner deserving of your wrath and judgment. I deserve your hell. I am helpless to adequately atone for my sin and make myself acceptable to you, the only holy God. I believe in the One you have sent, your only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  I plead his blood, poured out for the forgiveness of sins, as my only hope to be made right with you. I trust in him whom you raised from the dead so that might inherit eternal life. Accept my prayer of faith and pour out your Holy Spirit upon me. Give me power to walk with you and live for you all the days of my life, and bring me into your eternal kingdom in the Day of Jesus’s return. Amen.”