Introduction to the Course:
This course is designed to cover
the basics of the Christian faith in 10 session. The
goals of this course include:
1. to introduce and review the key
teachings of the Holy Scriptures.
2. to demonstrate that the
Lutheran faith as confessed and taught here is indeed
the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.
3. to give each student
opportunity to share and have questions answered.
1. How would you describe God?
Some people see God as the one in
charge. They think of God sort of as a police man who
enforces all sorts of rules in our lives. As long as we
obey the rules, we do fine. But the minute we go against
the rules, God is out to get us.
What would your response to
such a God be? How would you feel?
Others see God as someone who is
always there waiting for us in the background, sort of
like a safety net. But unless we need Him, He does not
really care about what we do or who we are.
What would your response be to
such a God?
2. How would you describe human
There are two ways to focus on who
we are as human beings. One is to look at us in
isolation as if we were an object like a cup or a
saucer. Another is to focus on how we live together. God
created us to live with Him in His universe and to live
with one another. God created us to live in relationship
with Him and each other.
Thinking about how we live out
our lives together and how we treat one another how
would you describe human beings: basically good or
1. God is Holy and Righteous
God has revealed Himself through
the pages of the Holy Scriptures. In these pages we
learn that God is Holy and Righteous. All that He does
- NAB Isaiah
6:3 And one called out to another and said, "Holy,
Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is
full of His glory."
Deuteronomy 32:4 "The Rock! His work is perfect, For
all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and
without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.
2. God created all things good.
We learn in Genesis that God
created all things and that everything was good. At the
very beginning of creation there was no sin. Everything
was in its proper place and everything worked together
beautifully. Adam and Eve enjoyed a perfect relationship
with God, with creation, and with one another.
- NAB Genesis 1:31 God saw all
that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And
there was evening and there was morning, the sixth
God gave only one command to the
first human beings, Adam and Eve. Do not eat of the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil. But when they went
beyond this one limitation of God the brought the first
sin into the world.
- NAB Genesis 3:1 Now the
serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field
which the LORD God had made. And he said to the
woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat
from any tree of the garden'?" 2 The woman said to
the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the
garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree
which is in the middle of the garden, God has said,
'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will
die."' 4 The serpent said to the woman, "You surely
will not die! 5 "For God knows that in the day you
eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will
be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 When the
woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that
it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was
desirable to make one wise, she took from its
fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with
her, and he ate.
Even before Eve ate of the fruit of the tree, she lost
her faith in God and believed rather the lies of the
serpent. Through her unbelief in God she was tempted to
Adam too decided to trust his wife
and not trust in what God had spoken. So humanity had
fallen completely into sin. Their perfect relationship
with God was destroyed. They no longer trusted God. They
no longer took Him at His Word. They sought rather to be
something they were not created to be: gods. They had
sought to serve themselves.
3. The consequences of sin:
When the Lord heard that they had
sinned, He punished Adam and Eve. The curse of death
would from this time forth hang over humanity. Their sin
- NAB Romans 5:12 Therefore,
just as through one man sin entered into the world,
and death through sin, and so death spread to all
men, because all sinned --
- NAB Genesis 5:3 When Adam had
lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the
father of a son in his own likeness,
according to his image, and named him Seth.
- NAB Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was
brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother
- NAB Genesis 8:21 The LORD
smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to
Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on
account of man, for the intent of man's heart is
evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy
every living thing, as I have done.
- NAB 1 Corinthians 2:14 But a
natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit
of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he
cannot understand them, because they are spiritually
- NAB Ephesians 2:1 And you
were dead in your trespasses and sins,
- NAB Ephesians 2:3 Among them
we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh,
indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind,
and were by nature children of wrath, even as the
From these passages we learn
something hard but true about ourselves.
- All people because we are
descended from Adam and Eve, are conceived and
born in sin and bear the sinful corruption upon
- That left to themselves
there is no spiritual good in the human heart.
- That left to ourselves,
we are inclined to evil.
- We are spiritually dead.
This means that we can no more help ourselves
out of our situation than can a dead man bring
himself back to life.
- Because of this
condition, all people fall under the judgment of
God and under His wrath.
- NAB Matthew 7:17 "So every
good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears
- NAB Matthew 15:19 "For out of
the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
From these passages we learn:
- Our sinful corruption
brings forth a host of sins in each of our
- Such sin causes a great
deal of damage to our lives.
What sort of damage does sin do
in our lives?
Sin can be described as sins of
commission and sins of omission. In other words, we do
things we should not do and we do not do the things we
always should do.
Our sinful corruption ruins our
right relationship with God and with other human beings
and causes to commit acts which harm others and
demonstrate our inborn mistrust of God.
4. The knowledge of sin
We learn about sin from the law of
God. 1 John 3:4 tells us that all who sin break the law.
God did not give His law as a way that we could make
ourselves good enough and so be saved. We have already
learned that we cannot help but sin and so we can never
be good enough on the basis of the law. Rather the law
is given to us to show us our sins.
- NAB Romans 3:10 as it is
written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11
THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO
SEEKS FOR GOD; 12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER
THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES
GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE."
- NAB Romans 3:20 because by
the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in
His sight; for through the Law comes the
knowledge of sin.
5. God is our Savior
Scripture shows us that God does
not prefer to be judge, but rather God prefers to be our
Savior. Even when Adam and Eve had sinned and God
punished them, He gave to them the hope of deliverance
from their sins. He gave Adam and Eve a promise, that
one would come who would crush the serpent who brought
sin into the world. Someone born into the world as a
human being would crush Satan.
- NAB Genesis 3:14 The LORD God
said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than
every beast of the field; On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat All the days of your life; 15
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And
between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you
on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."
Scripture reveals to us that Jesus
Christ is the one promised of God. He is God Himself
come in the flesh to save the world from its sin.
- NAB John 1:1 In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God&ldots;. 12 But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right to become children of God,
even to those who believe in His name, 13 who
were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh
nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word
became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His
glory, glory as of the only begotten from the
Father, full of grace and truth.
God has brought salvation and
forgiveness to human beings through the death and
resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. The Law may tell
us that we sin and deserve punishment. But the Gospel,
the goodnews from God, tells us that Jesus Christ was
punished in our place for our sins. Each and ever sin
ever committed by a person has been taken away by
- NAB Galatians 3:13 Christ
redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become
a curse for us -- for it is written, "CURSED IS
EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE" --
This salvation is Godís gift to
each of us. We do nothing to deserve it. It is a free
gift of Godís choice, out of Godís love. This gift
becomes ours when God gives it to us and in so doing
creates faith to believe the gift is ours. And so we may
confess ours sins to God knowing that He will forgive
those sins and wash them away.
- NAB John 3:16 "For God so
loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but
have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son
into the world to judge the world, but that the
world might be saved through Him.
- NAB John 1:9 There was the
true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens
7. Sin and grace
For this reason Lutherans do not
believe in freewill as taught in some churches. Freewill
puts the responsibility of salvation upon human beings.
If we do something, either keep the law well enough, or
make a personal commitment to Jesus, or any other such
effort, then God forgives our sins. But rather we learn
from the Scriptures that human beings are so lost in
their sins that they are as dead people already when it
comes to spirituality. But God does not leave us in such
hopeless straights. He reaches out to us in mercy and
kindness. He first reach out in the person of His Son as
His Son gave His life for us to take away sins and make
salvation possible. Then God reaches out to each of us
as He proclaims the goodnews of forgiveness to us and in
so doing creates the faith in each of us that receives
Godís gift. Human beings are born dead in sin, but God
in mercy reaches out to us and makes us live spiritually
- NAB Ephesians 2:8 For by
grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9
not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- NAB Romans 10:17 So faith
comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of
copyright Rev. David D. Reedy, 1999