We believe, teach, and confess that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own strength, merits, feelings, or works. Rather, we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for His sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness. [Romans 3:21-26; 4:5; 5:1; Genesis 15:6; 2 Corinthians 5:19] Forgiveness means that the debt is cancelled. Our sins have been nailed to a cross and buried in the only tomb into which the Father never looks, fully paid for by Christ Jesus’ death on Calvary’s cross.
We believe, teach, and confess that the forgiveness Jesus purchased and won for us on the cross is delivered to us in the means of grace, Jesus’ healing, forgiving, life-giving gifts of the Word and the Sacraments. A simple acronym can help remember these gifts. Often times a gift comes to us in a bag. The forgiveness of sins Jesus delivers to us also comes to us in BAGS. Baptism. Absolution. The Gospel. The Lord’s Supper.