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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction part 63

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Matthew 18:15–18

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Confession and Satisfaction 

The keys do not have the power of binding and loosing except upon earth. “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt 16:19). Further, as we have said above, the keys do not have the power to impose penalties, or to institute rites of worship. They only have the command to forgive the sins of those who are converted, and to convict and excommunicate those who are unwilling to be converted. For just as “to loose” means to forgive sins, “to bind” means not to forgive sins.

Pulling It Together

The purpose of the keys involves both peace and terror. For those who believe in Christ and confess their sins, there is the comfort of knowing that they are forgiven because Christ alone is God’s satisfaction. The minister, under the authority of Christ, states, “You are forgiven.” But for those who do not believe, or who will not repent, there is by the same authority, the discipline of withholding forgiveness. This is meant to bring such persons to repentance. For this is the desire of God, as Peter states (2 Pet 3:9), and also evidenced in Jesus’ teaching about what to do when one believer sins against another. God goes to great length to forgive and justify—even giving his own Son to die for us (John 3:16–18). 

Prayer: Help me to confess, Lord. Amen. 

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Genesis "Old Places, New Faces" Series   Places have to do with geography. In the Bible we find God's people in many different places, both physically and spiritually, in their relationship to the Creator and Savior. We, like them, journey through many lands in our Christian walk. We move from chaos to order, from Ur to Canaan, and from obedience to disobedience. As we become more acquainted with our spiritual geography, we will better discern where God would have us go or what changes we need to make in order to serve Him better.


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