Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone
What It Means to be “Lutheran”
There are so many churches in our day, sorting them all out can be quite confusing! There are also different kinds of “Lutherans” because the term means different things to different people. What “Lutheran” originally meant – and what it still means here at Gethsemane Lutheran Church of Saginaw Township – can be briefly summed up with three basic Scriptural truths about how we are saved:
Grace Alone…Because we are sinners we do not deserve God’s love. Instead we deserve punishment and separation from God and His goodness, forever. But, in an unprecedented act of grace, God showered his love on undeserving sinners. God the Father sent God the Son to suffer the full punishment for our sins, and to die in our place. Heaven’s doors are open to us, not because of what we do for God, but because of what He has done for us through Jesus. Sinners are saved by God’s undeserved love – by grace alone.
Faith Alone…Jesus has suffered the full punishment for all people’s sins. But this doesn’t mean that all people will end up in heaven. The gift of salvation is free, but is received only through faith. Faith isn’t just acknowledging that God exists. Faith isn’t trying to follow a bunch of rules and commandments. Faith means trust. Christian faith means having a heart which trusts that God kept His promise to send a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus.
Scripture Alone…The only reliable way to find out what God says is through the Bible. The Bible was written by men, but authored by God. Human ideas change. Logical conclusions can be wrong. Traditions can become outdated and unprofitable. Only the testimony of the eternal and all-knowing God is completely reliable. “Scripture alone” means that the Bible stands as the foundation for our thinking in every area.