KEY LUTHERAN TEACHINGS
On this 502th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, let’s review some key Lutheran teachings:
Grace Alone: Luther insisted that we are “justified by God’s grace as a gift” (Romans 3:24) rather than by good works. We do not make ourselves righteous before God.
Faith Alone: Echoes the line above, where salvation is purely God’s gift, which we can embrace through our trust in the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. We are “saved by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
Word Alone: The written Word of God is the source for Christian belief, teaching, and practice. It is inspired by God for our benefit (2 Timothy 3:16).
Sinner AND Saint: Luther noted that we are at the same time sinners-unable NOT to sin, and also we are forgiven and beloved children of God.
Law AND Gospel: God’s Word acts on us in two ways: 1. It shows us God’s commands (law), and how we fall short, therefore driving us to Christ; and 2. It offers the promise of forgiveness, freedom, and new life to all (gospel=good news).
Priesthood of All Believers: Luther’s way of teaching that each person has direct access to Christ in prayer, in the Word, and in the Sacraments, and does not need a third person (a priest or a saint) as a mediator. It’s also each person’s calling to represent Christ daily. We are all “ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
The Sacraments of Baptism and Communion: Lutherans practice two sacraments, commanded by Christ, which help us experience God’s grace and Christ’s presence. “In Holy Baptism, God forgives sin; redeems from death and the devil; and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe.” In Holy Communion, we believe that Christ is really present in the bread and wine.
The Freedom of the Christian: One of Luther’s insights was that “The Christian is the perfectly free lord of all, subject to none; and is also the perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all!”