We believe in one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one divine essence, eternal, unchanging, almighty, good, and infinite. God in His love created this earth and all that exists and continues to care for and sustain His creation.
Man and woman are the crown of God’s creation, created in His image, to love Him and know Him perfectly, but our first parents fell into sin and plunged the entire human race into corruption and the condemnation of the righteous God. From the fall of the first man and woman till now, all who are born into this world are sinners by nature, without true fear, love, and trust in God or true knowledge of Him.
God, in His infinite love, saw our wretched state and sent His Son into the world to take on our body and soul, live and die in the place of sinful man, and rise again to win us life from the dead. Jesus Christ is true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true Man, born of the virgin Mary, as the Scriptures clearly teach.
Because the Son of God has taken our place and, by His bitter suffering and death, borne the punishment our sin deserved, we are justified, that is, declared righteous, innocent, and holy before God, by faith in Him, when we believe that we are received into God’s favor and our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who by His death has made satisfaction for our sins (Romans 3-4).
In order for us to obtain faith and believe, God has instituted the ministry of the Word, given us the Gospel and the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, so that by these the Holy Spirit may create and sustain faith in us. The Word of God creates believers by the power of the Holy Spirit, who works through the Word of God to convict us of our sins and present to us our Savior and God’s eternal love for us in Him and His cross.
Our own good works do not make us holy. Faith lays hold on Jesus’ work, points to Him and says, “There is my righteousness.” But at the same time, faith is a living, active thing, which joyfully and constantly produces good works. Good works are necessary for Christians, because God commands them and we as God’s children desire to do what our God commands. But we must always remember that we are saved alone by faith in Christ, that even when our works fail, Christ Himself is our perfect righteousness before God in heaven and the guarantee of our everlasting life.
Christ established His Church on earth by the preaching of Christ crucified and the administration of the Sacraments. Where God’s Word is taught purely and His Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are administered rightly, there is Christ’s Church.
Baptism is not mere water, but the water connected and included in God’s Word and command. The Word of Christ in Baptism gives the Holy Spirit, creates faith, and forgives sins. Because babies are also sinners and God wishes all to be saved and come to the true faith, babies too should be baptized.
The Holy Communion is Christ’s true body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins. Because it is not simply bread and wine, it should be given only to those who confess and believe it to be what Jesus Himself says it is, His own body and blood, given up and shed for our salvation.
This brief account of the Lutheran and Christian faith summarizes the first ten articles of the Augsburg Confession, which you can find HERE for further reading on what we believe and confess according to Holy Scripture. Please don’t hesitate to contact Pastor Preus with any questions you may have. We’d love to see you at Mount Hope Lutheran Church!