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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Mass part 40

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1 Corinthians 11:23–29

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

If the use of the Sacrament is the daily sacrifice, we would still keep it more than our opponents, because their priests use it for earning money. Our churches use it more frequently and devoutly. The people use it, but after first having been instructed and examined. They are taught the proper use of the Sacrament: that it was instituted for the purpose of being a seal and testimony of free forgiveness of sins, and as an encouragement for alarmed consciences, that they may be truly confident and believe that their sins are freely forgiven. Therefore, since we retain both the preaching of the gospel and the proper use of the Sacrament, we have preserved the daily sacrifice.

Pulling It Together

The Lutherans believed (and believe) that we have no need of a human, priestly intermediary in order to receive the benefits of Holy Communion. Christ is our intermediary. We only need his grace, and that is freely available to all who believe. As such, there is no need to pay someone to perform a ceremony that does what Christ has already accomplished. The blessings of God are fully available in his Sacrament. Holy Communion is the true body and blood of the Lord “for you.” As such, we remember that Christ Jesus has given us a sign of his sacrifice: the bread and wine, his body and blood. We also remember his Word: the promise of God’s gracious forgiveness.

As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we declare his death and all the blessings that his sacrifice means. Yet we do not do so as mere ritual. Therefore, we instruct people as to who and what are being remembered in this holy meal, so that they may eat and drink without judgment, and so that we may retain what the Lord first established.

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to remember that you freely gave yourself for me. Amen.

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