Wherever you are in your faith walk, we understand there are many questions along the way, and those questions are worthy of being answered. While it’s impossible to address every question you might have on this website, we hope this overview will at least provide a start.
About the BIBLE
Everything Lutherans believe comes from the Bible, God’s message of love and hope for all people. The Bible is the written Word of God, handed down to us in order to point us to the truth that we are saved from our sin and eternal death by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe that the Bible is completely reliable and without error. In it we learn everything we need to know about God’s love and His gifts to us.
There is only one true God — the Triune God — who exists in three separate but equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God the Father is our maker and the creator of all things. By the Father’s word, all things were made, and we are His most beloved creation; we are closest to His heart. The Son is Jesus Christ, who came to earth as the perfect “go-between” between God and humanity. He has redeemed us and is the voice to the Father on our behalf. The Holy Spirit calls us to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, and equips and guides our journey of faith.
We all fall short of God’s expectations because we are born “sinful”— and we aren’t talking about “sinfully” rich desserts, we’re talking about the behavior that is contrary to God's highest desires for His children. Sin can be summed up as all the things we say, think, do, and don’t do, that fall outside of God’s holy will for our lives and end up separating us from God.
Sin was brought into the world when Satan lured the first people God created, Adam and Eve, to act specifically against God's wishes for them. This broke the perfect relationship between God and His creation. From that point on, sin became part of our very existence. Sin erects a barrier between us and God, and unless something was done about this, we would be forever separated from Him.
God acted to destroy the barrier that had been created by sin, and to restore our relationship with Him. That’s why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect life He requires and to become our substitute. Christ never sinned — not even once — and then He took our sin upon Himself and died on the cross on our behalf. When we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, He bears our sin and gives us His forgiveness. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we can enjoy a joyful relationship with Him both now and into eternity.
Without faith in Jesus Christ, a person is separated from a relationship with God, and upon death denied entrance into Heaven.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
About BEING SAVED
There is absolutely nothing we can do to “be saved” — Jesus Christ has already done everything necessary. In His death and resurrection, everyone who believes in Jesus as Savior has been brought back into a right relationship with God. That means that, on account of Jesus, everyone who believes is “justified,” or declared innocent by God. God has done justice to the world’s sins; because of Jesus, all who believe are forgiven and will live eternally.
We do not cooperate in our salvation and there is nothing we could do on our own to earn God's favor. We cannot reason our way to salvation, nor can we earn it. All we can do is to believe in Him, trusting that all that is necessary has been done for us through Jesus.
It is through faith in Jesus that we receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life — by believing that He has freed us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin. Faith is a gift worked in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We simply receive what is already being offered out of God’s great love.
Lutherans often refer to "grace". The word itself might remind you of the grace period you are given when paying bills — when your debt can be paid without further penalty. God’s grace is even more wonderful; that’s why it’s called “amazing grace.” While we deserved to pay the penalty for our sins, God had a different plan. Christ paid the debt and we receive forgiveness and eternal life from Him that is offered out of unconditional love. It’s called grace because it is truly undeserved.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).
God has provided tangible ways through which He delivers His grace to those who believe, assuring us that the sins we commit are forgiven for Jesus’ sake. These are called the “means of grace” and are God’s Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion). Through these means, God makes Himself known to us in very personal ways: God’s Word reveals His faithfulness and love; Baptism is our rebirth and renewal in Jesus; the Lord’s Supper is our closest communion with Christ as we receive His body and blood.
About GOOD WORKS
Since there is nothing we can ever do to earn salvation, we do not do good works in order to be saved; good works are done out of praise and thanks because we are saved. It is the way we show God's love to each other.
"So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:17 (ESV)
If You Would Like to Know More . . . .
Get in-depth information on the Lutheran Church.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod features information on Lutheran Belief & Practice online at www.lcms.org, including Lutheran Confessions, Doctrine, and a Christian Cyclopedia. This site also includes a Frequently Asked Questions section with FAQs on Denominational Differences, The Bible, Moral and Ethical Issues, LCMS Views, Doctrinal Issues, and Worship/Congregational Life.