About the Bible
We believe the Bible is God's message of love and hope for all people -- the written Word of God that declares that we are forgiven of all sin and saved from eternal death by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe that the Bible is completely reliable and without error. In it we learn everything we need to know about God's love for us.
We believe there is only one true God--the Triune God -- three separate but equal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God the Father is our maker and the creator of all things. By His powerful word, all things were called into being, and we humans are His most beloved creation. The Son is Jesus Christ, who came to earth as the perfect mediator between God and humanity. He has redeemed us and is the voice to the Father on our behalf. The Holy Spirit calls us to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, keeps us in the one true faith, and equips us for living out our faith.
We believe we are all born "sinful." Sin is a condition. It affects all the things we say, think, and do, as well as those things we should do but don't do, that fall outside of God's holy will for our lives and ends up separating us from God. Sin was brought into the world when Satan deceived the first people (Adam and Eve). God created, and led them into temptation. From that point on, sin became part of all humankind. Because God also demands perfect obedience, the ultimate punishment for all mankind became death.
Yet God has revealed Himself as a loving God. That's why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect life He requires and to become our substitute. Christ never sinned. He took our sin upon Himself and died on the cross, on our behalf. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
About Being Saved
We believe there is absolutely nothing we can do to "be saved" on our own -- Jesus Christ has already done everything necessary. In His death and resurrection, everyone who believes in Jesus as Savior has been brought back into a right relationship with God. By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for them. Those who hear this Good News and take God at His Word, have the eternal life that it offers. Everyone who believes in Jesus is "justified" or declared innocent by God. Thanks to Jesus, all who believe are forgiven and will live eternally.
We do not cooperate in our salvation and there is nothing we could ever give God to earn our way into eternal life. All we can do is to believe in Him, trusting that all that is necessary has been done for us through God's Son.
We believe it is through faith in Jesus, our Rescuer, that we receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life -- taking Him at His word -- that He has freed us from the guilt, rightful punishment and power of sin. Faith is a gift worked in us by the power of the Holy Spirit; it doesn't come to us through anything we are capable of, but through what God does for us and in us. We simply receive what is already being offered out of God's great love.
We believe that although we deserved to pay the penalty for our sin, God had a different plan. Christ paid the debt and we receive forgiveness and eternal life from Him that is offered out of God's unconditional love. That's why it's called "grace" -- because it is undeserved.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9).
God has provided ways through which He delivers His grace to those who believe, assuring us that the sins we commit are forgiven for Jesus' sake. These are called the "means of grace" and they are God's Word, Holy Baptism, and the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion). Through these means, God makes Himself known to us in a very personal way. God's Word reveals His faithfulness and love throughout history. Baptism is our rebirth and renewal in Jesus. The Lord's Supper is our closest communion with Christ as we receive His true body and blood. Through these means, the Holy Spirit grants us forgiveness and strengthens us in our faith and our faith walk.
Because God has saved us in Jesus, we are enabled to return praise and thanks to Him by our good works. Our works are our expression of faith and appreciation for what He has done for us in Jesus. When we have faith we will "bear fruit" -- that faith will show in our lives -- it will be apparent in our thoughts, deeds and actions.
St. Andrew Lutheran's congregation is a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.