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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Mass part 29

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Luke 22:14–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

They also cite the daily sacrifice, that because there was a daily sacrifice in the Law, the Mass ought to be a daily sacrifice of the New Testament. Our opponents will have done well if we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by allegories. It is plain, however, that allegories do not substantiate anything. We will permit the Mass to be understood as a daily sacrifice, so long as the entire Mass is considered: the ceremony along with the preaching of the gospel, faith, prayer, thanksgiving. Together, these are a daily sacrifice of the New Testament, because the Lord’s Supper was instituted for these things, and should not be separated from them. Accordingly, Paul says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). It does not follow from the Levitical analogy that a ceremony is needed to justify ex opere operato, or that it would merit the forgiveness of sins for others if applied to them.

Pulling It Together

Doctrine must have a sure and clear word of God, not obscure analogies. Nothing in Scripture suggests that a ceremony saves us from sin and death. God has done that for us. Our faith is then bolstered, being reminded of God’s grace through the ceremony—all of the ceremony, including confession, the proclamation of the gospel, prayer, thanksgiving, and the faith of the one partaking of both the bread and wine. “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). This requires faith, not dull performance. That would be just another work. We are not saved through any works other than that done by God himself in Christ Jesus. This is the plain testimony of Scripture. Therefore, if our works cannot save ourselves, it is the more absurd to imagine that they might save someone else when the ceremony is performed on their behalf.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for sending your Son to do what I could never do. Amen.

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