In the Lutheran Church, we believe that the Son of God became man, and that this man, Jesus Christ, truly suffered and died to reconcile the world to God. His death was not only for original guilt, but for all actual sins of mankind. This same Jesus Christ is truly risen in His body, and now sits at God’s right hand. He will return to judge the living and the dead.
Our churches also teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works. Man is justified before God for Christ’s sake. That is, man is returned to a right relationship with His Creator, when he believes that he is received into favor and that his sins are forgiven. For Christ’s sake.
Faith is not another work to tack onto God’s lists of Laws. Rather, faith is receiving the grace and gifts of God. Faith is God’s work on man. God counts this faith as righteousness. In other words, for the sake of Christ, God declares the unrighteous to be righteous when the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed.
This article of faith, the article of justification by faith alone for Christ’s sake alone is the heart of the Christian faith and the article upon which the Church stands and falls.