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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Confession part 7

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Psalm 40:11–13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Confession 

What tragedies the questions about who is one’s own priest excite among the pastors and brothers, who are then by no means brothers when they are fighting about jurisdiction of confessions! Therefore, we believe that, according to divine law, the enumeration of sins is not necessary. This view also pleased Panormitanus and many other experts on the law. We do not wish to impose necessity upon the consciences of our people by the regulation omnis utriusque, which we judge, just as we do other human traditions, that they are not acts of worship necessary for justification. This regulation commands that we confess all sins—an impossible matter. It is evident, however, that most sins we neither remember nor understand. “Who can discern his errors?” (Psa 19:12).

Pulling It Together

Only a foolish or crazed person would undertake the task of counting the hairs on his head. There are too many to count. Yet we imagine that we can enumerate our sins when we have more sin than hair? This is an impossible undertaking. Do not bother God, let alone yourself, with endless lists of sins. The Holy Spirit will lay on your heart what needs confessing. Though it feels like your sin is piled higher than the mountains, God is merciful. He has delivered you from your sin and forgives you. Count on God, not on your ability to recount. 

Prayer: Deliver me, O Lord, from all my iniquities. Amen.

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