This article is rather lengthy, almost four typewritten pages. I suggest you read it when you have the necessary time. Parts of this article will appear under the title Receiving Christ.
Receiving Jesus is receiving everything one needs to be saved.
2 Peter 1:1-3: Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Receiving Jesus is receiving the One who has ALL power.
Matthew 28:18: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Receiving Jesus is receiving the One who has power to forgive sins.
Luke 5:24: But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
Receiving Jesus is receiving the One who has power to make us children of God.
John 1:12: But AS MANY AS received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Receiving Jesus is receiving the One who has power to make us new creatures.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Receiving Jesus causes us to be born again. Becoming a son of God, becoming and new creature and being born again refer to the same thing.
John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Receiving Jesus is receiving the only One who provides access to the Father.
John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Receiving Jesus is receiving the life that is in Him.
1 John 5:11-12: And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
I believe that every verse in the Bible that deals with salvation should be studied with one eye on John 1:12 and 1 John 5:12. I never heard a message on either passage in my 20 plus years in Lutheran churches. In addition to neglecting one of the most important passages in the Bible, Lutheran doctrines add to what the Bible says. Taking away and adding to the Bible are both condemned.
Revelation 22:18-19: For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
The Lutheran phrase the office of the keys does not appear in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11: According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:19-20: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Matthew 16:18-19: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Those who believe that the church is built upon Peter apparently ignore John 1:12, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 and Ephesians 19:20. I would suggest that since Jesus is eternal He is the foundation. The church of Jesus Christ is eternal and therefore needs an eternal foundation. Peter is just one of the apostles in the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The passage said the foundation OF the apostles. It does not that they are the foundation. I would suggest that the foundation OF the apostles is Jesus Christ. It is difficult to understand how anyone can believe that Jesus must be received, is the only foundation and the chief corner stone but Peter is the rock.
Matthew 16:19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The Fourfold Gospel on verse 19:
I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Continuing his metaphorical language, Jesus promised to Peter the keys; that is, the authority to lay down the rules or laws (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) for admission to or exclusion from the kingdom or church. This office was, of course, given to Peter in a secondary sense, since it must ever belong to Christ in a primary sense (Revelation 3:7). The figure of (Christ as) key-bearer is taken from Isaiah 22:22. Peter used the keys on the day of Pentecost to open the church to the Jews, and about seven years afterward, at Caesarea Palestinae, he used them again to admit the Gentiles. In fixing the terms of admission, he also fixed the terms of exclusion, for all who are not admitted are excluded. The keys as used by Peter have never been changed; that is to say, the terms of admission abide forever. Plurality of keys is merely part of the parabolic drapery, cities were accustomed to have several gates, thus requiring a plurality of keys. The kingdom was not opened to Jews and Gentiles by different keys, since both were admitted on the same terms.
Matthew 18:17-21: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. 21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Verse 17 deals with the discipline of unrepentant sinners in a church. Verse 21 deals with Christians forgiving one another. In that context Matthew 18:18 promises the authority of heaven to the proceedings of discipline in the church. The passage has nothing to do with forgiveness or salvation.
Matthew Poole commentary on verse 18:
*Whatsoever ye shall bind, etc.* Whatever determinations ye make, in conformity to these directions for your conduct to an offending brother, will be accounted just, and ratified by the Lord.
Matthews 18:19-20 is a repetition of that same idea, giving the authority of heaven to discipline in the church, irrelevant to the size of the church. If individuals would depend upon Peter, the other apostles or someone Peter delegated some authority to for salvation, those individuals would be receiving someone other than Jesus. It doesn*t work.
Since the phrase office of the keys does not appear in the Bible it is a man-made and man-promoting doctrine. Belief in any man OR man man-made doctrine or tradition is spiritually worthless and is cursed.
Psalms 108:12: Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.
Jeremiah 17:5: Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
1 Peter 1:18: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
Proverbs 29:25: The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Luke 19:10: For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
That was never said of anyone but Jesus.
Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Mortals cannot harness the power of God. Indeed, the power of God harnesses men when He saves them.
The words baptism and grace never appear in the Bible in the same passage. The phrase original sin does not appear in the Bible.
There are no passages in the Bible that teach that men are able to go beyond the Sovereign will of God in any church of prayer.
1 John 5:14: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
John 20:22: And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
Albert Barnes Commentary on verse 23:
*Whose soever sins, etc.* It is worthy of remark here that Jesus confers the same power on all the apostles. He gives to no one of them any peculiar authority. If Peter, as the Papists pretend, had been appointed to any peculiar authority, it is wonderful that the Saviour did not here hint at any such pre-eminence. This passage conclusively proves that they were invested with equal power in organizing and governing the church. The authority which he had given Peter to preach the gospel first to the Jews and the Gentiles, does not militate against this. This authority given them was full proof that they were inspired. The meaning of the passage is not that man can forgive sins--that belongs only to God (Isaiah 43:23-25, Mark 2:7), but that they should be inspired; that in founding the church, and in declaring the will of God, they should be taught by the Holy Ghost to declare on what terms, to what characters, and to what temper of mind God would extend forgiveness of sins. It was not authority to forgive individuals, but to establish in all the churches the terms and conditions on which men might be pardoned, with a promise that God would confirm all that they taught; that all might have assurance of forgiveness who would comply with those terms; and that those who did not comply should not be forgiven, but that their sins should be retained. This commission is as far as possible from the authority which the Roman Catholic and Lutheran claim of authority to remit sin and pronounce pardon.
The word absolution does not appear in the Bible.
1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If John 1:12 is true, and it is, then the forgiveness promised in 1 John 1:9 can apply only to those who have received Jesus.
The first Lutheran pastor that I had a debate with over infant baptism showed me a thick tome promoting that doctrine. On the first page and in the first or second paragraph it stated that the practice of infant baptism began after 100 A.D. He was not concerned that the Apostles all were dead before 100 A.D.
Romans 10:9-10: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Faith is provided in our hearts when we receive Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith. Before we receive Jesus we do not have saving faith and after receiving Jesus we do.
Hebrews 12:1-2: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 3:12: Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Departing from the living God means rejecting Jesus who is the only one capable of providing faith to an unbelieving heart.
Lutheranism may not be a DO religion, but it is a BE religion. Be the child of a Lutheran, be sprinkled, be confirmed, be in church frequently, be a Lutheran and behave well.
Salvation is a miracle. In fact it is a bunch of miracles. All who have not done so need to receive Christ into their hearts and ask Him to do His saving work there. Because of Who He is (The Supreme Authority) and who we are, (lost and rebellious) receiving Him is a surrender.
Try it . . . you*ll like it.
Psalms 34:8: O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.