This is a seven-week devotion by Pastor Ricky Jacob, of Winnebago, Nebraska.
(Read the full series here)
It is still all about Jesus.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Some of you may wonder, just what do we Lutherans believe?
Today, I will attempt to summarize just one of the chief articles of faith that we Lutherans believe and teach, based solely on the sacred Word of God.
Today's chief article of faith: What is the purpose of the Sacraments?
Our Lutheran churches teach that the Sacraments were instituted not merely to be marks of profession among men but to be the signs and testimonies of the will of God toward us, intended to awaken and confirm faith in those who use them. Consequently, the Sacraments should be used so that faith, which believes the promises that are offered, is increased.
Our churches, therefore, condemn those who teach that the Sacraments are justified simply by the outward act and do not teach that faith, which believes that sins are forgiven, is required in the use of the Sacraments.
The Bible reveals the Sacraments to be the means with which God distributes his grace and promises. God attaches his word of promise to the element of the Sacrament.
The Latin word "Sacrament" means mystery. God's gifts are given in God's mysterious ways. He offers, gives, and seals the forgiveness of sins earned by Jesus Christ.
By the Lutheran definition, there are two sacraments: Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Sometimes, Holy Absolution is counted as a third sacrament. Even though it has no divinely-instituted, visible element, it still offers, gives, and seals the forgiveness of sins earned by Jesus Christ.