The Good News – The Gospel
All of us have sinned. Because of our sin, we deserve eternal death and cannot save ourselves. We cannot remove our sinfulness and make ourselves right with God. Jesus, true man and true God, took our sins upon Himself and suffered the punishment for our sins when He died on the cross. Then, in victory over death, He rose and was seen by hundreds of people before He ascended to heaven. Some day He will return to call home to heaven all who believe in His Name.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
What We Believe
We believe in God, the Father Almighty who created heaven and earth.
We believe in God, the Son Jesus Christ, who is both man and God, who died, was buried and rose from the dead to pay for the sins of everyone, who ascended into heaven and who will return to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in God, the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life and faith.
We believe the three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is coequal and coeternal God.
We believe that the Bible is Holy Scripture and is the inspired Word of God and is true and without error.
As Lutherans, we accept and preach the Bible-based teachings that inspired the reforming of the Christian church in the 16th century.
The reformation teaching can be summarized Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone.
“For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:28
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
“Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:15b-17
(Jesus said:) “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:1-6
(Jesus said:) “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” John 6:47
The Articles of Faith from the Augsburg Confession
|I||God||Lutherans believe in the Triune God and reject other interpretations regarding the nature of God.|
|II||Original Sin||Lutherans believe that the nature of man is sinful, described as being without fear of God, without trust of God and with concupiscience. Sin is redeemed through Baptism and the Holy Spirit.|
|III||The Son of God||Lutherans believe in the incarnation, that is, the union of the fully human with the fully divine in the person of Jesus. Jesus Christ alone brings about the reconciliation of humanity with God.|
|IV||Justification by Faith||Man cannot be justified before God through our own abilities; we are wholly reliant on Jesus Christ for reconciliation with God. (This is often described as the one article by which the “Lutheran church stands or falls”.)|
|V||The Office of Preaching||Lutherans believe that to ensure that the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed throughout the world, Christ has established His office of the holy ministry.|
|VI||Of The New Obedience||Lutherans believe that good deeds of Christians are the fruits of faith and salvation, not a price paid for them.|
|VII||Of The Church||Lutherans believe that there is one holy Christian church, and it is found wherever the gospel is preached in its truth and purity and the sacraments are administered according to the gospel.|
|VIII||What The Church Is||Despite what hypocrisy may exist in the church (and among men), the Word and the Sacraments are always valid because they are instituted by Christ, no matter what the sins may be of the one who administers them.|
|IX||Of Baptism||Lutherans believe that Baptism is necessary, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God. Children are baptized as an offering to them of God’s grace.|
|X||Of the Lord’s Supper||Lutherans believe that Christ’s body and blood is truly present in, with, and under the bread and wine of the sacrament and reject those that teach otherwise.|
|XI||Of Confession||Lutherans believe that private absolution should remain in the church, though a believer does not need to enumerate all of his sins as it is impossible for a man to enumerate all of the sins for which he should be forgiven.|
|XII||Of Repentance||Repentance comes in two parts: in contrition for sins committed according to the Law and through faith offered through the Gospel. A believer can never be free from sin, nor live outside of the grace of God.|
|XIII||Of the Use of the Sacraments||The Sacraments (Baptism and the Eucharist) are physical manifestations of God’s Word and His commitment to us. The Sacraments are never just physical elements, but have God’s word and promises bound to them.|
|XIV||Of Ecclesiastical Order||Lutherans allow only those who are “rightly called” to administer the Sacraments.|
|XV||Of Ecclesiastical Usages||Lutherans believe that church holidays, calendars and festivals are useful for religious observance, but that observance and ritual is not necessary for salvation. Human traditions (such as observances, fasts, distinctions in eating meats) that are taught as a way to “merit” grace work in opposition to the Gospel.|
|XVI||Of Civil Affairs||Secular governments and vocations are considered to be part of God’s natural orders; Christians are free to serve in government and the military and to engage in the business and vocations of the world. Laws are to be followed unless they are commandments to sin.|
|XVII||Of Christ’s Return to Judgment||Lutherans believe that Christ will return to raise the dead and judge the world; the godly will be given everlasting joy, and the ungodly will be “tormented without end”. This article rejects notions of a millennial kingdom before the resurrection of the dead.|
|XVIII||Of Free Will||Lutherans believe that we have free will in the realm of “civil righteousness” (or “things subject to reason”), but that we do not have free will in “spiritual righteousness”. In other words, we are free to choose and act in every regard except for the choice of salvation. Faith is not the work of men, but of the Holy Spirit.|
|XIX||Of the Cause of Sin||Lutherans believe that sin is caused not by God but by “the will of the wicked”, turning away from God.|
|XX||Of Good Works||The Lutheran notion of justification by faith does not somehow condemn good works; faith causes them to do good works as a sign of our justification (or salvation), not a requirement for salvation.|
|XXI||Of the Worship of the Saints||Lutherans keep the saints, not as saviors or intercessors to God, but rather as examples and inspirations to our own faith and life.|
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.