Sometimes it is good to review the basics – for our own understanding of what we believe, and to help others understand also. The message of the Bible can be summed up in the three-fold motto of the Lutheran Reformation:
By Grace Alone
By Faith Alone
By Scripture Alone
We believe that all people are by birth and nature sinful, alienated from God. We believe that God saves us by His free grace, His undeserved love.
God showed this love by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, into a world broken by man’s sin (John 3:16).
Jesus Christ lived the perfect life that we have failed to live. He suffered the punishment for sin which we deserve to suffer. He rose physically from the grave on Easter to conquer death itself. The Bible says: “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
We are not saved by what we do. We are saved by what Christ did for us.
The good news (gospel) of forgiveness which Jesus won for all people is personally received by faith alone. This faith is not a decision we make. Faith is a child-like trust in Jesus which the Holy Spirit creates in the human heart through the Gospel (John 15:16; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:3).
This is why the Bible says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This God-given faith in Jesus brings forth the fruit of Christian living (John 15:5; Romans 6; Ephesians 2:10).
This good news (gospel) comes to us in God’s word and sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion). These two sacraments are simply visible expressions of the gospel. (Communion is a special form of the gospel given to baptized Christians who have been instructed and have confessed their unity in the teachings of the Bible – 1 Corinthians 11:27-29). The Word and Sacraments are the “means of grace” or tools which the Holy Spirit uses to create and then sustain faith in Jesus.
This good news about Jesus is revealed only in the Bible. The Bible is God’s own Word. Every word of Scripture is God-breathed and without error. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:21). We want to teach all of God’s Word correctly.
In the Bible, the one true, triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) reveals the law and the gospel. God’s law, like a mirror, shows us our sin. God’s gospel shows us our Savior (Romans 6:23).