God has revealed Himself to be the Holy Trinity, one God in three eternally distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; John 14-16; 2 Corinthians 13:12).
All that exists, visible and invisible, has been brought into being by God, and is sustained by Him (Genesis 1-2; Hebrews 11:3).
Since the fall of Adam all people are conceived and born in sin (Romans 5:12); this is called original sin. Because of this first disobedience, all people cannot fear, love, and trust in God above all things; all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:11-18,23).
Jesus of Nazareth is the Eternal Son of God. God the Father sent His Son to be Savior of the world (1 John 4:14), to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). He assumed the flesh of man (John 1:1-14); lived a blameless life, obedient to the Father (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5); fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17; Romans 8:2,3); was crucified and died on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the whole world (John 19:30; 1 John 2:2); was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1-10); ascended into heaven (Acts 1:6-11); sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty (Ephesians 1:20-23); and will judge the living and the dead (Matthew 24:29-31; Acts 10:42; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Jesus of Nazareth is the propitiation for our sins and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (Romans 5:6,8; 1 John 2:2; Romans 5:6, 8). He appeased the wrath of God for us (Romans 5:9). He destroyed the devil through His death for us (Hebrew 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:54-56). He was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25). No other name has been revealed under heaven by which we must be saved. We are saved by Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12). Faith is the means by which this truth is grasped by the individual and becomes one’s personal hope and belief (Romans 4:13-16, 22-25). God’s desire is that all people be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:3-6).
God the Holy Spirit works and strengthens faith in us through the preaching of the Word (Romans 10:17). Faith in Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-9). No one can confess with the heart “Jesus is Lord” except by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3).
The Church is God’s family, gathered by Him to receive His gifts of Word and Sacrament for the strengthening of faith, the forgiveness of sins, and gift of eternal life (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25).
Sacrament of Holy Baptism
God bestows saving faith, the forgiveness of sins, and Christ’s righteousness through the regenerating gift of the Holy Spirit to all people, including infants, through Holy Baptism (Matthew 28:19; John 3:5-6; Galatians 3:26-4:7; Titus 3:3-5).
Sacrament of Holy Communion
The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is truly and essentially present in Holy Communion under the bread and wine for the forgiveness of our sins (Mark 14:22-24; Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:21-31).
Law and Gospel
The Law demands that we have true faith, love, and trust in God; but in pursuit of fulfilling it, the law further reveals that we are unable to fulfill the demands that God places upon us; thus it reveals our sins (Romans 3:20).
The Gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ alone is our Savior, comforts our contrite hearts with the declaration that our sins are freely forgiven by faith in Christ’s saving work for us; by faith we are clothed with his perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21); by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone we are perfectly justified, declared righteous, and have the gift of eternal life (Romans 3:21-28).
If anyone preaches a Gospel contrary to this it is false, deceitful, spiritually harmful, and must be rejected, condemned, and accursed by all Christians (Galatians 1:6-9).
The Office of the Holy Ministry
Our Lord Jesus Christ, having completed His ministry of justification, created this office for the purpose of delivering God’s grace through the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion (John 20:22,23; 1 Corinthians 4:1).
As faith in Jesus Christ is the creative work of the Holy Spirit, the maturity of faith and the fruitfulness of it is also the work of the Holy Spirit; for without Jesus being given to us in Word and Sacrament by the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing (John 15:5). God has prepared works for us to do, showing that we are His workmanship and that He works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13).
Prayer is the response of faith to the promises of God in Christ Jesus; this call to God in the name of Christ is created by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:5,6). The Father hears the prayers of His children, who call to Him in faith (Matthew 7:7-11).
The Last Day
Jesus is coming again to judge both the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). All flesh will be raised on the last day, the unrighteous shall depart from God’s presence and enter eternal punishment and the righteous shall enter God’s presence for life eternal (Matthew 25:31-46).
As mentioned above, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the sole rule, judge, and norm of our faith and doctrine. The verbally inspired and inerrant Word of God is the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers must be appraised and judged (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 6:68). The focus of the Scriptures is the proclamation of God’s saving work in Christ Jesus (John 20:30,31; Luke 24:44-47; Hebrews 1:1-2).
The Book of Concord
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, along with all Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations, subscribes to The Book of Concord, which is a collection of documents that Christians from the 4th to the 16th century (and since) have used to explain what they believe and teach on the basis of Holy Scripture. This book is not the rule, judge, and norm for our life (Scripture is), but is a collection of confessions of the one true faith and correct expositions of what the Old and New Testaments teach. Because there are so many different interpretations of what the Bible teaches, the Book of Concord is a necessary collection of confessions that acknowledge and differentiate between true and false doctrines, thereby allowing the Bible to be that which rules and directs our lives.