As a congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, we are Christ-centered and hold the Bible (Scriptures alone) as the true, inspired, authoritative Word of God and the sole norm for all matters of faith and life (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Jesus also said, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10;35b). We believe we are saved from sin, death, the devil, and hell by grace alone through faith alone in the person and work of Christ alone, not because of anything we have done or earned (Eph. 2:8-9). “God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus lived a perfect life for us and took upon Himself the punishment we deserve for our sins when He suffered and died on the cross. He then rose from the dead and holds the victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell forever! Through faith we are united with Him in His life and victory!
We believe God delivers His grace to us through the means of grace called the Word and Sacraments. Since we are dead in our sin on our own (Eph 2:1), God comes to us and makes us alive (Eph. 2:4-5) and teaches us how to live and rejoice in this new life in Him. We practice the sacrament of Holy Baptism for the forgiveness of the sins, rescue from death and the devil, eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit. We practice Holy Communion for the forgiveness of our sins, strengthening of our faith, and to remember Jesus death and resurrection! We believe that in communion we receive not only bread and wine, but the true presence of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus. We also hold to the teachings of the Creeds (Apostle’s, Nicene, and Athanasian) and the Lutheran Confessions because they are a true interpretation of God’s Word, and we want to preserve the beautiful Gospel and teachings of Jesus and the first Christians. A summary of our basic beliefs is found in Luther’s Small Catechism.
The following is a summary of God’s grand story of salvation towards us! By grace through faith, you too play a part in God’s story!
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). God is a Triune God, one being in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Everything was created good and without evil, being in perfect relationship with their Creator, including humans, who were created in His image (Gen. 1:27). It was paradise!
Adam and Eve (the first humans) fell into sin at the Garden of Eden by rebelling against God’s will and so brought sin, death, and a broken relationship with God to all people from then on. Without Jesus we are spiritually dead (Ps. 51:5, Eph. 2:1) a slave to our sins , helpless to come to God or love Him on our own (Jn. 6:44, 15:16) and are under condemnation (Jn. 3:18, 36). God sees every thought, word, and action of sin and selfishness we do and will one day judge us for it (Rom. 14:10-12). He demands that we be perfect and holy, as He is (Lev.19:2, Matt. 5:48).
OUR SAVIOR AND DELIVERER
Because God’s love and mercy is so incredible, while we were yet sinners, He sent His Son Jesus Christ into our world as one of us, who lived the perfect life for us, and suffered and died on the cross, taking our deserved punishment for our sins upon Himself. He did this to forgive and free us from our sins and to restore our relationship with Him forever so we would have a new and eternal life (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 6:14; 2 Cor. 5:17, 21). That is the Gospel, which literally means, “good news”. We believe that one recieves salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and not because of anything we do (Eph. 2:8-9). Instead of being covered with our sins, through faith we are covered with the righteousness and perfection of Jesus! We are justified, or ‘declared righteous’ and sinless in God’s eyes because of the forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross! (Rom. 3:23-24; 2 Cor. 5:21).
Jesus didn’t stay dead but rose from the grave! He then asceneded into heaven and sends us the gift of His Holy Spirit. God delivers His grace (forgiveness) to us through His Word and Sacraments (Holy Baptism (Acts 2:38) and Holy Communion (Matt. 26:28)). God sends to us the gift of the Holy Spirit through the hearing of the Gospel (Rom. 10:17) and through our baptism (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit ‘sanctifies us’, which means He makes us holy (sinless) and creates and sustains faith in us so we recieve God’s grace, trust in Jesus and live according to His Word. (Phil. 2:13). The Spirit also continually makes us more holy, or more and more like Jesus through God’s Word.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we recieve the forgiveness of all of our sins and so become members of God’s family (Jn. 1:12) and heirs of eternal life and the heavenly kingdom (Gal. 4:7).When Christ rose from the dead, He proclaimed His victory over sin, death, the devil, and hell! Through faith, we are united with Him, His victory is our victory! We have overcome! When we come to know Jesus and recieve His salvation, we realize are lives aren’t about us but are about making God’s great love known through loving others and bringing glory to Jesus. We are witnesses to the world of God’s great love and power! (Acts 1:8) This is God’s story and we have the great privilege through faith to be a part of it! Because we have been freed from the power of sin (Rom. 6:14-18), death (1 Cor.15:55-57), and the devil (1 Jn. 2:14) through faith in Jesus, we can live lives that are pleasing to Him. Our lives are a response to God’s great love for us!
(1 Jn. 4:19). God has crafted us in the womb wonderfully and uniquely (Ps. 139:13-14) and prepared good works for us to do (Eph. 2:10) here on earth so people might know Him and His great love and that His name will be glorified (Mt. 5:16, Jn. 15:8). It is His plan to get us to live and experience life the way He originally created us to live (Jn. 10:10).
While we have been forgiven, made new, and overcome, this has not yet been completely fulfilled while we are in this life. Sin, brokenness, and the devil are still in the world and the consequences are seen and experienced all around us through pain, weakness, grief, natural disasters, and death. We must still battle against our sinful desires, but God always provides us the strength to overcome temptation by His Spirit (I Cor. 10:13).
OUR ENDING (AND NEW BEGINNING)
We have hope though! There will be a day when evil, sin, sadness, suffering, and death are removed forever!(Rev. 21:1-5). Jesus will return on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. He will make the new heavens and the new earth as one. All of creation will be restored to perfection forever, along with all people who have believed in Him as their Lord and Savior. Unbelievers will be judged according to their sins and condemned to eternal punishment and hell, because they lack the forgiveness only found through faith in Jesus (Matt. 25:41-46). However, those who have had faith in Him have their sins washed away by the death and resurrection of Jesus and do not need to fear the Last Day, but will rejoice in seeing their Lord and Savior and be rewarded for their good deeds done by His grace!
Sin leads to death and separation from God, but Jesus brings life eternal and restores our relationship with Him forever! Thanks be to God for this victory! It’s never too late to believe in Jesus and to recieve forgiveness and eternal life!