What We Believe
Who are we?
St. Thomas Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). More information on the LCMS can be found here: www.lcms.org
What do Lutherans believe, teach, and confess?
According to the inspired, inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and efficacious words of Holy Scripture and in the unity of the one, holy Christian faith, Lutherans believe, teach, and confess:
The Holy Trinity
The one and only true God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; three distinct Persons in one Divine Essence/Substance (Matthew 3:13-17; 17:1-13; 28:19-20; Luke 2:26-32; John 10:30; 14:15-17). The Holy Trinity is a mystery beyond comprehension and is best confessed in the words of the Athanasian Creed: We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.
In the beginning God created all that there is in existence (Genesis 1, 2). He created mankind, male and female, in His image. Mankind was the crown of creation and to bear the image of God, their Creator, to the rest of creation. Mankind was given meaning and purpose through God’s Word to them. However, mankind rebelled against God’s Word to them (Genesis 3), and ruptured that perfect relationship with God.
Because of mankind’s rebellion against God, all are conceived and born in sin (Psalm 51:5, Ephesians 2:1). Every human being ever born is corrupted with that original sin - that is, born with proper fear, love and trust in God; born out of right relationship (righteousness) with God; born without the ability to turn toward God. The consequence of this sin is death - both physically and spiritually. Yet, in God’s great mercy toward His rebellious people, He promised a Savior (Genesis 3:15), Jesus Christ, who would deliver His creation from this sinful state.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Incarnate Second Person of the Holy Trinity (John 1:14). He is “true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and true man, born of the Virgin Mary” (Luther’s Small Catechism) always, at the same. He lived a life of obedience and without sin before His Father on behalf of all sinful mankind. He offered His life on the cross as an atoning sacrifice to reconcile the world to God through the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:44-48; John 3:16-17; Romans 3:23-25; Philippians 2:6-8; Hebrews 9:11-22 1 John 2:1-2). On the third day after His death, Jesus rose bodily from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:3-5) to prove all He had said and done was true. He ascended bodily into heaven (Acts 1:6-11; Ephesians 4:8-10) and now reigns as Lord over all at the Father’s right hand. He will return visibly on the Last Day to raise the bodies of all the dead (John 5:28-29). He will give eternal life to all who trust in Him and He will condemn to eternal death those who have rejected Him in unbelief.
A human being cannot be made right with God (justified) by any works or choices of his or her own (Romans 3:9-20). Rather, for Christ’s sake, a person is justified through faith in Christ’s atoning death and bodily resurrection that wins the forgiveness of sin. This faith is a gift from God with no merit or worthiness in any person to attain it (Ephesians 2:8). This gift is brought about in a person by the Holy Spirit's working through the Gospel in all its forms.
The Gospel, literally “good news” or “good message,” is the justification of the sinner on account of Jesus Christ alone. The Gospel is delivered to a person through means instituted by Christ Himself: the preached and written Word of God, Holy Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper/Holy Communion (Matthew 28:19, Luke 10:16; John 20:21-23).
The Means of Grace
In these means, God gives the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. To give out these gifts, Christ Himself instituted the office of the Holy Ministry. (For more information on these Means of Grace, click here.)