This congregation St. John’s Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod is part of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS or Synod). The LCMS is a mission-oriented and Bible-based denomination that confesses the historic, orthodox Christian faith built on “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). With the universal Christian Church, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God, who created all that exists; became man to suffer, die, and rise again for the world’s redemption; and brings people to faith and new life through His Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – are coequal and coeternal, one God. In addition, the St. John’s Lutheran Church accepts without reservation the writings contained in the Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Believing in the authority of Holy Scripture and that the Lutheran Confessions are a correct interpretation and presentation of biblical doctrine, our congregations agree to conform all their teaching and practice to the Scriptures and the Confessions.
All of us have the same problem: from the moment we are conceived, we are enemies of God (Psalm 51:5). We rebel against the love He has for us, His creation. We do not do what God desires. We think we know what is best for us. This is called sin. We are each sinners. That is why all of us physically die. (Romans 6:23)
The word grace means “favor.” Though our sin separates us from our Creator, He is a gracious God. In His grace, He gives us the gift of a relationship with Him, even though we don’t deserve it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Reflecting His gracious nature, our God has a solution for our sin problem. God Himself entered the world, taking on human form, just like us. But He was still God, too. While He lived on earth, He laughed, cried, got hungry and tired, was tempted to sin, just like all human beings. But because He was God, He never sinned. He led a perfect life. His name is Jesus. (John 1:1-14)
Our rebellion against God can’t go unpunished, because He is holy. Instead of punishing us as we deserve, God punished Jesus. This happened on a wooden cross to which Jesus was nailed, some 2,000 years ago. God punished Jesus for the sins of all people. Jesus died, physically and spiritually, on the cross for all people. (II Cor. 5:21)
Jesus did not remain in the grave, however. On the third day, God raised him from the dead, to show that He has ultimate power over sin and death. Because Jesus lives, we, too, can have eternal life with God in heaven. (Luke 24:1-12)
This eternal life becomes ours when we personally receive Jesus as our Savior, by faith (John 1:12-13). The Bible says that faith is a gift of God. Faith is the vehicle that makes God’s promises ours. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, the Bible (Romans 10:17). Faith is the thing that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).
Scripture, or the Bible, is the inspired Word of God (II Timothy 3:16). It is the only source of spiritual truth for Lutherans. The Bible contains all that we need to know about and receive God’s plan of salvation. It is the source and norm for our teaching and preaching.
Because we are physical creatures, God has given us physical ways to receive grace and forgiveness. These are the “means of grace.” One is hearing the Word of God, which lets us hear God’s promises and grows our faith (Acts 20:24; Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23; Gal. 3:2). Another is Baptism, which is a physical way that anyone—young or old—can receive the gift of faith and have their sins washed away by the water (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Titus 3:5). The last means of grace is The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, in which we eat bread and blood, but also Jesus’ Body and Blood, which Christ promised would forgive sins (Luke 22:19, 20; Matt. 26:28, 1 Cor. 11:23; Jer. 31:31-34)
Want to know more? Read the Confessions for yourself!