Who is God? God is Triune
We believe in one God who exists in three persons––Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity is co-equal, co-eternal, and co-divine with the others. And yet there are not three gods, but One.
We believe in one God,
the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth
and of all things visible and invisible.
We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of His Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made;
who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary
and was made man;
and was crucified also for us
under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried.
And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures
and ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of the Father.
And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead,
whose kingdom will have no end.
The Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord and giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified,
who spoke by the prophets.
And we believe in one holy catholic (universal) and apostolic Church,
We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
and we look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Who are we? Humans are God’s creatures
In the beginning when God made the heavens and the earth, God made the universe and all that exists in six days. On the sixth day God made land creatures and humans. Humans are made in the Image of God and have a special role and dignity as stewards over all creation (Genesis 1-2).
Humans are sinful
Despite our noble calling as God's Image Bearers, our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God by taking fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3). Humans used the power and authority that had been given to them to serve themselves instead of serving God. As a result of this sin, humans have cut themselves off from being able to have a relationship with God. Our natural desires are contrary to God and his commands, and the natural result of this is sin, brokenness, and discord both in creation and in our lives.
Humans are loved by God
However, despite our sin and brokenness God set about a rescue plan to save humans from sin and its natural consequence: death. He promised this rescue the moment humans fell. One day, a Savior––a Messiah––would come and crush the serpent's head, but the serpent would strike his heel (Genesis 3:15). God selected a man named Abram and his wife, Sarai, to be the people through whom this Savior would eventually come. God promised to make Abram a father of many nations and therefore re-named him Abraham.
From Abraham came the people of Israel, with whom God made a special covenant. This nation was meant to be a "Light to the Nations"; an example of what life under God's lordship could look like. However, due to their inherent sinful nature, the people of Israel could not perfectly keep the covenant God made with them. Yet, in spite of this, God remained faithful to them and promised that one day a Savior would come and rescue both them and all the nations on the earth.
At the right time God sent forth his Son, Jesus, to save His people and all humanity from their sins. During his life he announced the arrival of God's kingdom on the earth, and he demonstrated what that kingdom looked like in his teaching, his love for the poor and outcast, and by performing awe-inspiring miracles demonstrating God's power over evil and sin. However, Jesus was arrested and then crucified by the Roman government.
Despite this, God raised Jesus from the dead three days later thereby proving his claims and teachings and also healing us from sin, delivering us from the devil, and destroying the power of death. God's promise to humans is that whomever believes in Jesus receives all that he accomplished for us in his death and resurrection without any action on their part. Salvation is a free gift of God to all who believe.
How can I know God?
Jesus claimed that he was the ultimate revelation of God. If we want to know God, who He is, and what He is like we need look no further than Jesus. He said to His disciples, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).
While Jesus is the definitive revelation of God, we have also been given the gift of the Bible, a collection of 66 books written by dozens of authors in different styles and genres over the course of millennia. Contained within this library is the entire story of salvation. These books are inspired, or "God-breathed" and are the sole norm and source of all Christian faith, life, and teaching (2 Timothy 3:16). Their words are authoritative for the life of a Christian and are without error.
Once someone comes to faith in God through the preaching of the Gospel, they are automatically assimilated into the community known as the Christian Church. The Church is a multi-dimensional community. In just a single Sunday gathering we engage with God in our worship, and God gives his good gifts to us through the preaching of the Gospel and the distribution of the Sacraments.
We also engage with one another. The church is a community where we invest ourselves by leveraging our time, energy, and talents to serve the needs of the community and the church as an organization. However, we are also invested in, supported in times of need, spurred on to acts of love and service, and continuously shaped as followers of Jesus. This is why the writer of the book of Hebrews encouraged Christians to not stop regularly meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). So whether we meet on Sundays, in homes, or in coffee shops, life together as the Christian Church is integral to a one's personal relationship with God.
As Lutheran Christians we also believe that a Christian's relationship with God is sustained and strengthened by the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion.
Baptism is the historical moment in someone's life when God makes a personal commitment to them, and we to Him. In that moment, God adopts a Christian as his son or daughter. Since Baptism is primarily God's commitment to us, we baptize all ages at Mile Square Church because there is no one too young or too old for whom Christ has not died. After all, faith is not primarily a matter of knowledge, but of relationship. An infant cannot tell you the name of his mother, nor can a grandfather suffering from Alzheimers the names of his children. However, their lack of knowledge doesn't fundamentally change their relationship with those people––they're still parent and child! In a similar way, Baptism incorporates us into the family of God through the gracious work of the Holy Spirit and keeps us within it by sustaining our faith in Him. Contained within Baptism is God's promise that He will never leave nor forsake us, and that he will always love us as His children no matter what. (Romans 6:1-2; 1 Peter 3:21; Matthew 28:16-20)
Communion is an opportunity to continuously receive tangible assurance of God's love for us. While we believe the meal of Communion is rich with symbolism, its richness goes deeper still. We believe that as we eat the bread and drink the wine we eat and drink the very body and blood of Jesus––His Real Presence. How does that work? We don't know! However, we simply take Jesus' words at face value: "This is My Body...This is My Blood..." (Matthew 26:26-29). The main point of this mysterious gift is that Jesus simply invites us to come as we are––broken, sinful humans in need of grace––and receive His love, forgiveness, and strength in a tangible way we can see and touch in real time. (John 6:52-58; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32)