The most important thing about any church is what it teaches. Is it true? Is it from God? Or is it merely human philosophy or interpretation? You’re about to read a whole bunch of statements that each begin “We believe …” Our definition of that word (believe) is to know, accept as true, and trust.
What we know – we know from the Scriptures alone. If we don’t understand something God says, we let him explain himself in parallel scriptures. We’d never presume to tell God what he meant to say.
We accept all 66 books of the Bible as God’s inerrant, verbally inspired Word. That is the claim he makes himself in the same book in which he tells us about his undeserved love for us in Jesus Christ. You can’t pick and choose which pages you happen to think are rational or true without calling the trustworthiness of the parts you like into question.
Finally, we do just that – we trust. Not by our own strength or power, but by his. God speaks through his Word, commands and works confidence in his teaching in our hearts, and comforts us a parent comforts a child – assuring us that what we can’t understand is certain and what we can’t see exists. This is the miracle of which we speak when we say, “We believe…”
We believe . . . that we cannot get to Heaven by our own efforts.
- God demands that we be perfect.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
- We are all sinners.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
- We deserve both physical death and eternal death in Hell.
For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a)
We believe . . . that God has provided a way for us to get to Heaven.
- God the Father sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to bear the punishment that we deserve.
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)
- By faith we believe in Jesus as our Savior from sin.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- We receive the gift of faith through the Word of God.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
We believe . . . that our lives have meaning because of God’s love for us.
- Now we can live life to its fullest.
I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
- God will hear and answer our prayers.
Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:15)
- Now we can live for God and do good works to his glory.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
We believe . . . that the Bible is the Word of God and the only source of spiritual life.
- The Bible is the unchanging and error-free Word of God.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- The Bible centers on Jesus Christ.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)
- The Bible is our guide in everything we think, say, and do.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
St. John’s is a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. To inquire further about the miracle of belief, please contact one of our pastors, or read a more thorough explanation of our confidence here.