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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Repentance part 19

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Psalm 38:1–4

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Repentance 

VII. That the enumeration of sins in confession, which the adversaries teach, is necessary according to divine right.

Pulling It Together

There are surely some specific sins that we ought to confess so that we are honest before God, hear absolution of that specific, troublesome sin, and thereby, know God’s peace. But it is not necessary to name every sin in order to be fully forgiven. We have to admit that our sins are great in number, that they have gone over our heads as if if we were drowning in our iniquities. Who could confess such a volume of transgressions? There would be no end to confession.

We are given salvation and a good conscience before God through baptism (1 Pet 3:21). So, we have the assurance of God’s forgiveness in general confession, since we believe that Christ has died for our sins (John 3:16; 8:24). We have redemption and the forgiveness of sins through him; indeed, we have been given citizenship in his kingdom (Col 1:13–14). If you believe that Jesus is the one sent down from heaven to save us from our sins, you have eternal life (John 6:47). So, we confess that one does not need to name all sins in order to make Christ’s saving work effective. We are saved through God’s grace by faith in Christ, not by our exhaustive cataloging of sins.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for drawing me out of this abyss. Amen. 

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Learning About Confession - Teacher's Guide guides leaders in teaching the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. The student book, Learning About Confession is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. With a healthy balance of Law and Gospel, lessons emphasize the connection between repentance and forgiveness, and how the promise of God’s forgiveness changes our lives.


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