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In the words of the classic Lutheran summary of faith, we believe that we are saved 'by grace, for Christ's sake, through faith'. In other words, there is nothing we can do to earn God's favour or to gain eternal life. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has won all this and more for us. We also believe that only the Bible is the source of inspiration and teaching.
Lutherans worldwide also believe that the Lutheran Confessions, contained in the Book of Concord of 1580, are true expositions of the word of God. These confessional documents are:
- the three ecumenical creeds (confessed by Christians around the world): the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed
- the Augsburg Confession
- the Apology of the Augsburg Confession
- the Smalcald Articles
- the Small Cathechism of Luther
- the Large Catechism of Luther
- the Formula of Concord
- that God created the universe and everything in it, and that he created humans as the crown of creation and as moral beings for a life of worship and service to God (Isaiah 43:7, Psalm 100).
- that we turned our back on God's will and purposes (that is, we 'sinned'), and in our rebellious and sinful condition, we stand helpless and hopeless under the judgement of God (Romans 3:12,23).
- that God gave his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of all of us, and that the good news of his love in Christ is for all people everywhere (John 3:16, Romans 3:24).
- that everyone who, by the working of the Holy Spirit, accepts in personal faith what Jesus Christ has done by his death on the cross and by his resurrection, receives forgiveness from God, becomes a child of God and a member of his church (Acts 16:31, Romans 3:22).
- that God has revealed eternal truth to us in his inspired, inerrant word, the Bible, and that it alone is the basis of the Christian faith (2 Timothy 3:15-17, John 17:17).
- that God offers his grace and forgiveness to all people, including infants, in the sacrament of baptism. We also believe that in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, the body and blood of Christ are given in, with and under bread and wine, as a further assurance of personal forgiveness to believers.
- that the word of God and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper are the means through which the Holy Spirit can work in people to give faith and spiritual life to them and to the church.
- that Christians, though still subject to sin and failure, will show love to God in a life of loving service to other people, practising forgiveness, kindness, patience, humility and unselfish service of others for Christ's sake.
- that Christians are called into the church to praise and worship God, to receive the Spirit's renewal for their faith, to strengthen their fellow believers, and to carry out God's mission of taking the good news of his saving love to all people.
- that God will raise up all people on the last day and that every person who believes in Jesus as Saviour will be given eternal life.
what we know from God's word as expressed in the Lutheran Confessions, which include the historic creeds (Nicene, Apostles and Athanasian), the Augsburg Confession and Luther's Small Catechism.