Rockdale Lutheran Church

Home ] Up ] History ] Pastor's Page ] [ What is a Lutheran? ]


What is a Lutheran?

A Lutheran is above all else a Christian.  As Christians, Lutherans believe that there is universal truth, upon which faith can be based.  However, Lutherans hold to an understanding of what it means to be a Christian which is based upon the teachings of Martin Luther and those who came after him.  Martin Luther never intended to begin a new denomination.  He hated that those who followed his understanding of the Christian faith were calling themselves "Lutherans".  For Martin Luther the focus must always be upon Jesus, the Bible as the Word of God, and the divine gift of grace that resulted in His death, and our eternal life.  It was Martin Luther's understanding of grace that was so revolutionary.

For years as a monk Martin Luther tried to follow God's Law to demonstrate his righteousness.  He understood St. Paul as saying that we must achieve the righteousness of God.  Only later as a professor teaching Romans did he discover the freeing truth that although we can never achieve the righteousness of God, God in Christ gives us that righteousness as a gift.  Grace is receiving from God love we can never deserve and holiness we can never achieve. We cannot reach God by what we do. Instead, God reaches us by what God did in Jesus Christ.

That is Grace.  The Law of God was given by God to show us that we could never meet God's demands on our own.  Only God can do what God has demanded.  We cannot satisfy the demands of God's Law, but God has don so for us and now God lives it out through us.
Grace is freedom.  As Paul wrote, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ."  And later, "It is for the sake of freedom that Christ has set you free."  It is this freedom which is ours by the grace of God which we as Lutherans celebrate and share.