What we Believe
What’s the problem?
Look around. Things are not as they should be. Suffering and death are not a natural part of God’s creation. When the Triune God created everything, it was very good, even perfect. What happened? Sin.
Our first parents, Adam and Eve rebelled against God, preferred to be their own gods. Their sin corrupted all creation. Instead of living, then everything was dying. Since sin is rebellion against God, who is Life, sin naturally means death. All Adam’s and Eve’s descendents inherited their sin and their death.
Not only have we been born with original sin, but we sin every day, every hour. The Ten Commandments are a description of God’s perfect will for our lives, but it’s impossible to keep even one commandment.
The proof of sin’s corruption is all around us. Suffering and death are not part of God’s design.
How bad is it?
Sin kills. And it damns.
Not only are sin’s physical consequences apparent all around us, but its spiritual effects are looming, as well. Sin—the sin we’ve inherited from Adam and Eve and the sin we commit every day—earns us what Adam and Eve were seeking in the first place: separation from God. Eternal separation from God is hell, and it’s what we deserve.
But there’s hope.
What’s our hope?
Death is powerful. Suffering seems to overwhelm us. Hope is hard to come by these days. What can we do? Not much. One writer of Holy Scripture calls us “dead in our sins.” Dead people don’t do very much. Apart from God’s intervention, we can only sin.
God could have let the world go to hell. It would have been fair. But “fair” is not how God describes Himself; instead, He calls Himself “merciful” and “Abounding in steadfast love.”
In order to save His creation from sin and death, God sent His Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, to take human flesh in order to be our savior. Jesus was born to take away our sin and to deal with sin’s consequences in our place.
Jesus didn’t come merely to be a good teacher or a moral example. He came to be our Savior. He came to die on the cross, to endure separation from God in our place. Having died to defeat death, to take our sins from us, Jesus rose victoriously from the grave. He alone is our hope in the midst of a world broken by sin and death.
What do you have to do?
How do the benefits of Jesus’ death on the cross get delivered to you? What must you do? Nothing.
God does it all. He delivers His mercy and forgiveness through various instruments: His Word, Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. Even faith which is required God gives purely as a gift in the hearing of His Word.
People dead in their sins can’t raise themselves, but Jesus is the Lord who rose from the dead. He gives life that endures beyond the grave, life that is fully revealed when He returns.
In order to save us, God gathers us in His Church, where He gives us His gifts of forgiveness and mercy. Christians live because God gives them life. Sometimes people complain that congregations are full of sinners. You’ll find no argument with that among us. We’re sinners, plain and simple, which is why we allow God to gather us where and when He gives forgiveness.