Every organization, every people, must have a base on which to stand. For us in the Missouri Synod it is God’s Word, the Bible, which is without error or contradiction.
In the 16th century, Martin Luther, a German monk, made his stand on the Word, stripping away human traditions and requirements that had drawn attention away from God’s truth. Our beliefs on what the Scriptures teach are explained in the Lutheran confessional writings in the Book of Concord.
From the Word, we know there is one God, but that He has three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are of the same essence—equal in power, in eternity, and in majesty.
The Scriptures tell us that human beings chose to follow their own way and fell into sin—direct disobedience to God.
He lived in perfect obedience to God. He was without sin. It is only because of Him — not because of anything we can do—that our perfect relationship with God is restored through the forgiveness of sin. Then God counts the righteous life of Jesus as if we lived it.
... and through the Word and the Sacraments — Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper — He also keeps us in faith.
Three principles undergird our beliefs: Scripture, Faith, and Grace. The Scripture is the only source of knowledge about God and His will for us. Grace tells us that as human beings we cannot earn God’s love, forgiveness, or everlasting life. It is all a gift of His love. Only by Faith in Jesus Christ do we receive forgiveness. Through faith in Him we come into a relationship of peace with God.
As people of the Word, we Missouri Synod Lutherans, while we often speak of “the cross,” focus more on the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus died on the cross—but He rose from the dead to assure us that God accepted His sacrifice. He lives and we too will live with Him forever. And that is reason for celebration!