What Lutherans Believe
Lutherans, along with Christians who worship in many other traditions, are part of the one, holy, catholic (meaning “universal”) church. We believe in God who is revealed to us in three persons: as our Creator who made the heavens and earth and all things in the earth; as Jesus Christ, God’s son, who came to us as both divine and as a human being to share our experience, suffer with us and for us on the cross, died, and rose from the dead; and as the Holy Spirit who continues to lead, guide, and inspire us in our daily lives. We baptize in the name of the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Bible is central to our faith. It provides us with the history that ties Christianity to its roots in the early Jewish tradition, gives us the prophecy that foretold the coming of Jesus as our Savior, includes the law that guides us in knowing how to live in a way that is pleasing to God and respectful of each other and God’s creation, and brings us the good news (gospel) that our frail and failing human condition finds its help and strength through Jesus.
We acknowledge that we are all sinners and fall short of God’s expectations for us…but also know that we are forgiven by God. It is not by any act of our own that we earn this forgiveness, but it is a gift to us from God who loves us and comes to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, the price of our sin was paid. Our faith in Jesus Christ assures that we will share in the promise of eternal life.
Jesus said, “Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
The concept of being set right with God through faith in Jesus Christ is called “justification by grace through faith.”
Our faith can be summed up as: We are saved by the grace of God alone — not by anything we do; Our salvation is through faith alone — we only need to believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who died to redeem us; The Bible is the only norm of doctrine and life — the only true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.
More information on this topic is available at the ELCA website.