This is now my top book for those seeking an introduction to Christianity and/or those wanting to understand the different philosophical and theological approaches to life, and especially LCMS Lutheran life with God. (p25)
"Adolf Koeberle notes three kinds of spiritual aspiration: moralism, in which the will seeks to achieve perfection of conduct; speculation, in which the mind seeks to achieve perfection of understanding; and mysticism, in which the soul seeks to achieve perfection by becoming one with God."
I grew up in a Baptist moralist tradition -- and I was never close to good enough. I spent a lot of time in speculation -- the endless search for more and more knowledge and "wisdom" -- and nobody is ever saved by knowledge! Man, especially in our generally materialist and hyper-secular world, really likes to think that he is somehow in control!
We cannot perfect our conduct, try as we might. We cannot understand God through our own intellects. We cannot become one with God. Instead of human beings having to do these things, Lutheran spirituality teaches that God does them for us—He becomes one with us in Jesus Christ; He reveals Himself to our feeble understandings by His Word; He forgives our conduct and, in Christ, lives the perfect life for us.
Lutherans believe that God does it all -- which is the only way that works since we weak humans are way too weak and sinful even begin to save ourselves!
"Lutheran spirituality is a sacramental spirituality, centered in the conviction that the Holy Spirit actually descends in the waters of Baptism and that Christ is really present in the bread and wine of Holy Communion."Coming from the Baptist tradition where Baptism and Communion were mere symbols of "following Christ", rather than real divine interventions in our life as the Bible says ... "Baptism now saves you", and "This IS my body and blood", the sacraments are especially dear for me.
“When our sins and conscience oppress us,” Luther writes, “we strengthen ourselves and take comfort and say,’Nevertheless, I am baptized."