Many religious groups believe that human beings must do something or participate in some way in their own salvation. These people teach a doctrine of free will in spiritual matters. That’s why some Christians talk about “making a decision for Jesus”, or using one’s free will to please God and merit the work of Christ.
Lutherans on the other hand believe that a person is converted to the Christian Faith and made righteous solely by God’s work. Lutherans believe that God works to create a new nature and true faith. This is done solely by His grace, not because of any merit of worthiness on our part. We do not choose God. He chooses us. Jesus told his disciples in John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit.” Ephesians 1: “[God] chose us in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” Christians are God’s elect. When a person hears the Gospel, God calls that person to a life of faith in the hearing of the Gospel. Those who respond do so because God’s Word has taken root and accomplished the purpose for which it was sent.
It is the Father that draws men to Christ (John 6:44); it is God who must turn us if we are to be turned (Jer. 31:18); they who believe are born, not of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13) and their faith is the operation of God (Col. 2:12). Only by the Holy Ghost can men believingly call Jesus their Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). Therefore Paul writes, “But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 6:11). [E. Koehler, A Summary of Christian Doctrine, pp. 127-128.]
The teaching that our salvation rests in God’s hands rather than our own is a great comfort to all of us who struggle daily with the trials and temptations of life. So come to Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church where the Word of God, the Sacraments, and the liturgy are rightly used and you are cleansed from sin every day.