Beliefs

The Problem
If you’re not sick, you certainly wouldn’t care if someone offered to give you some medicine. If, however, you knew you were fatally ill and someone offered you the only cure as a gift, you’d be overjoyed to take it. In the same way, there’s no point in talking about Jesus, if a person doesn’t first see the need and problem for Jesus to fix. All of us have a monumental problem, even if unaware of it: sin. Sin is simply breaking the law, God’s law (1 John 3:4). We are aware of all kinds of sins in our lives because God gave us a conscience that strikes us with guilt when we’ve done something wrong. Because God demands perfection and is a just judge, he has sentenced us to death because the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Such death is not just physical but also eternal death in hell, which is separation from God forever.

The Plan
That’s not how God wanted our story to end. Because God’s justice demanded he carry out his guilty verdict, instead of carrying it out on us, he carried it out on a substitute—Jesus Christ. Jesus, who is also true God with the Father, became a human man as well to live on earth as our substitute but without sin (Galatians 4:4–5). Though he was innocent, he suffered our punishment when he died on the cross. To fully suffer the punishment we deserved, the Father even allowed him to suffer the pains of hell while on the cross (Matthew 27:46). Because Jesus is God who is infinite, his blood had infinite value in taking away our sins (John 1:29). Then, when Jesus rose from the dead three days later, he showed his dominion over death. With our sins forgiven through Jesus, God no longer sees us as worthy of hell but as worthy of heaven.

The Path
What good would it be if you knew there was a shipwreck in the ocean with ten million dollars worth in gold but had no idea where it was and didn’t even have the equipment to go down to such a depth and get it? We could similarly wonder, what good is it that Jesus died and won forgiveness on the cross, if I don’t know how to get that forgiveness? He brings us that forgiveness for free through the promises of his Word, the Bible. We have the certainty of forgiveness and life in heaven because in that same message of the Bible, the Holy Spirit—who is also true God—works faith in our hearts which makes us certain and brings us those blessings (John 20:31). Because it is through God’s Word that our faith is created and strengthened, it is important to regularly hear that Word. The message gives us comfort as we face the challenges of life; it gives us peace as we look forward to heaven.

The Pursuit
That’s not everything. There’s more to look into than can be presented here. Please contact the pastor or stop by for worship, if you would like to learn more about your Savior Jesus. River Heights is a Lutheran church which means we agree with Lutheran explanations of what the Bible says, which were formulated by ancient church leaders, Luther, and some of his followers. Because disagreements about what the Bible teaches come up still today, we have associated with denominations we believe continue to preach the message of the Bible accurately. As a result, River Heights is a member congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) and is in full agreement with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).