Questions on Salvation
What does the Bible tell us about those with dementia or Alzheimer's? Will we see them in heaven? How do we know if they still believe in God's saving grace?
The Bible says nothing directly or explicitly about dementia and Alzheimer’s. Ironically, the strong majority of references to the aged, a frequent target of these diseases, view old age as a blessed time of life. The subject of the loss of mental capabilities through diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s does not surface in the Scriptures. Continued.
A distinction needs to be made in answering your question. “Homosexuals” can refer to Christians who struggle with temptation to engage in same-sex sins. These individuals recognize the sinfulness of thoughts and actions that run contrary to God’s word that spells out that sexual relations are for men and women in marriage (Hebrews 13:4). They Continued.
As I understand, the Lutheran view is Faith=Salvation and Salvation brings about Good Works. The Roman Catholic view is that Faith + Good Works = Salvation. In both cases, you have Faith, Works, and Salvation. Why is the difference so important? I know Luther was concerned that he could not do enough good works, but that is not everyone's concern. I realize that this is a huge Lutheran/Catholic division, but it seems like a very small point. Why is the distinction so important, since we end up at the same point (with Salvation, Faith, and Works) in both cases? Thank you.
What an important question! You are correct in understanding that works enter into the teachings of both churches, but the motivation for doing those works is entirely different. The teaching of the Bible is that we are saved only by God’s grace through God-given faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Scripture makes it clear that we are saved Continued.
What is the relationship between faith and good works? Are good works necessary for salvation, even if it's only indirectly?
Article IV of the Formula of Concord takes up your question in great detail. When Scripture says that God saves people who “do not work” (Romans 4:5), and that he saves us “not by works” (Ephesians 2:8-9), “apart from observing the law” (Romans 3:28), “no longer by works” (Romans 11:6), and “not because of righteous Continued.
I am currently working my way through the Book of Concord. As I read through the Creed of Athanasius I questioned the last part about giving account of our deeds and that those who have done good deeds will have eternal life and those who have done evil will go into eternal fire. Isn't this contrary to the basis of Christian faith of salvation through grace in Jesus Christ?
What a wonderful and worthwhile reading project you have! Your question is one that many people ask when they read the Athanasian Creed. Your question also demonstrates the value of providing an explanation—in the service folder or by way of verbal announcement—when congregations use the Athanasian Creed in a worship service. The section of the Continued.
You are asking a question that is often asked and that fills us all with strong emotions. And perhaps the reason why it is so often asked is that the Bible does not explicitly give us an answer, and we then end up emotionally dissatisfied. We rejoice at every mention of people being baptized and Continued.
Hi there. I am inquiring into the WELS Lutheran faith. I know that different denominations have different meanings for saving faith. The Catholic Church's teaching is believing everything the Catholic Church teaches. Baptists say it is the sinner's prayer asking Jesus into your heart. Others teach having a one on one personal relationship with Jesus. But I know the Lutheran Church teaching is faith in Christ. Could you describe what saving faith actually entails? I want to become a Christian right now. I have never been to church a day in my life. Thank you so much!
Saving faith is a complete reliance upon Jesus Christ for salvation. When the panic-stricken jailer in Philippi asked, “What must I do to be saved?” he received the answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your whole household” (Acts 16:30-31). Faith in Jesus Christ saves because that faith is attached Continued.
How can one be a Christian and believe in Christ but still have problems with sin, sinful habits, and doubt? I know Scripture says that we become new creatures in Christ, but what if one does not feel like a new creature in Christ because of sin and spiritual doubts? Does this mean one is not meant to be saved or was never truly a Christian?
As you rightly say, the Bible affirms that believers are indeed “new creatures” in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Ephesians 2:10 use this kind of language. The Bible also affirms, as does our experience in living as believers, that we remain sinners with a sinful nature, weakness of faith, and spiritual challenges when we’re tempted to sin Continued.
We have friends and family members who believe that homosexuality, abortion, living together without marriage, being a Christian Scientist and other things against God's word is fine. My husband believes that as long as they believe that Jesus died for their sins, their salvation is fine. (Neither of us grew up WELS but have been members for 17 years.) I know it is by grace we have been saved through faith, but don't we need to live a Christian life to the best of our ability and believe God's word and all of his commandments? Do unrepentant sinners who have been led down these wrong paths of belief go to heaven?
Jesus said, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). He did not say that part of God’s word or some of God’s word or most of God’s word is truth. He said all of God’s word is truth. For people to say otherwise is more than presumptuous; it is forbidden (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19). Continued.
Hi! I am a high school student and lately I have been struggling with my faith. I do go to a WELS high school and went to a WELS grade school as well. However, I have been questioning my beliefs and whether or not Christianity is the true religion. I get scared whenever these thoughts form in my head, because I know that if I don't believe in Jesus as my Savior I will not receive eternal salvation. I wonder if God really exists sometimes. I am just struggling with my faith and would like some advice to get my firm faith in God back.
Through your elementary and high school education in WELS schools, you have received and are receiving a wonderful instruction in God’s word. Through classes and worship services the Holy Spirit has had numerous opportunities to work through the gospel to strengthen your faith. The result is that you do recognize that there is salvation only Continued.
Even though I've attended a WELS church for 44 years, I have no peace that I will be saved. I see the horrific things being done to people around the world and then I see me and how easy I have it. I think of it kind of like survivor's guilt. Surely they will all be saved for having had to suffer in this lifetime, while I will suffer in hell when I die because I had it so easy. Help! I believe Satan is completely crushing my faith. How should my thinking be?
Trying to find a correlation between people’s earthly sufferings and salvation can lead a person to go in two directions. You went in one direction. Asaph went the other direction in Psalm 73. He looked around at the cozy, comfy lives of unbelievers and saw a huge contrast with his life of suffering as a Continued.
We state our position on this in This We Believe (IV, 9): “We reject the teaching that believers can never fall from faith (‘once saved, always saved’), because the Bible says it is possible for believers to fall from faith (1 Corinthians 10:12).” In addition to the Bible verse listed, we could add Luke 8:13; Continued.