The following is a public confession of faith from a member of Faith Lutheran Church.
It was a struggle to admit that the Lutheran view was more sharply focused than any view I had ever found regarding the doctrine of God and His revealing Himself to man. I believe more certainly that salvation is by FAITH alone.
I will simply list some of the teachings that I have come to see and believe.
- I believe that I am saved by GRACE alone, through FAITH alone. That is, I do not believe in WORKS righteousness.
- That is not to say that good works are not necessary, but that they come DOWN FROM ABOVE and not UP FROM BELOW. Otherwise, they would be DEAD works. The ONLY good work I can offer is PRAISE and THANKSGIVING to God for saving me (i.e. nothing that I DO on my own pleases our Lord).
- Why? Because the Word tells me I am DEAD in trespasses and sins due to my OLD man, ADAM, from whom I inherited my CARNAL nature (original sin) which is dead and destined for the GRAVE. (Can a corpse rise up on it’s own?) To be saved, I must be BORN ANEW.
- The new birth is entirely GOD'S work and NONE of mine. Being DEAD, I cannot make a DECISION.
- God has divine MEANS through which He works to CREATE a new heart within me and to RENEW a right Spirit within me. (Electricity comes to me by MEANS of a wire: I mow my lawn by MEANS of a mower, etc.)
- JESUS CHRIST, Who is both GOD and MAN, is the foremost MEANS of God's grace.
- Jesus has instituted MEANS to KEEP ME IN THE TRUE FAITH: BAPTISM, when I am WASHED by the WORD spoken OVER THE WATER by God's CALLED and Ordained Servant of the WORD. Since it is done by GOD alone, it makes no difference WHEN, how MUCH water, or HOW it was applied. I now have a heavenly BIRTH CERTIFICATE and CITIZENSHIP to Heaven. God knows me by name. OT = circumcision / NT = BAPTISM. In the Tabernacle, sacrifices were WASHED before being sacrificed.
- God has required in His Ten Commandments that I HONOR MY FATHER AND MOTHER; they teach me WHOSE I am. Eventually, if a babe, I will come to understand via the WORD, but God knows and will never abandon me.
- God feeds me CHRIST'S TRUE BODY AND BLOOD—IN, UNDER, AND WITH—the bread and the wine in Holy Communion. This is a MYSTERY or Sacrament, which was foreshadowed in the worship of the OT Tabernacle.
- God has given us His LAW, the 10 Commandments, which show His will. They are so high and perfect that no person but CHRIST has ever BEEN ABLE TO KEEP THEM. To break the LAW demands DEATH, but the Law provides no means for keeping them. So why give them? They cause the sinner to cry out , GOD HELP ME!
- And He does! He sent His only BEGOTTEN SON, JESUS CHRIST, to be my SUBSTITUTE and die in MY PLACE. Jesus Christ has been made the world's SINNER.
- So by FAITH ALONE I am saved from the eternal DAMNATION of the broken LAW and Heaven is OPEN to me!
- We examine Scripture through GRAMMATICAL HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION, not by the RATIONAL HISTORICAL METHOD; i.e, “What does the GRAMMAR actually say?”
- Worship in the Old Testament Tabernacle presented TYPES which became the ANTITYPES fulfilled in the NT.
The “means of grace” was the barrier the Lord had to break down for me, but now that He has, I find the MEANS to be the source of great comfort and assurance. I confess my sins and “wash daily” in my baptismal water, and look forward to the Lord's Holy Table. Yes, the Lord has given me what I always longed for.
PICTURED ABOVE: “Dawn: Luther at Erfurt – Justification by Faith” by Joseph Noel Paton, 1861.