1 John 1:7-10
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
It is well known that we have so explained and extolled the benefit of absolution and the power of the keys that many distressed consciences have derived consolation from our teaching. They have heard that it is the command of God—indeed, the very voice of the gospel—that we should believe the absolution, and consider it certain that the forgiveness of sins is freely granted to us for Christ's sake; and that we should trust that by this faith we are truly reconciled to God. This teaching has encouraged many godly minds, and in the beginning brought Luther the highest commendation from all good men, since it establishes a sure and firm consolation for consciences. Previously the whole power of absolution had been suppressed by doctrines concerning works, since the sophists and monks taught nothing of faith and free forgiveness.
Pulling It Together
Confession and absolution provide persons of faith with the regular assurance that their sins are forgiven because of what Christ has accomplished for them. When they hear the words of absolution, “By [Christ’s] authority, I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” it is not the pastor they hear. They hear a voice from heaven since the pastor speaks in the name of God. Confession and absolution direct them away from trust in their own works, which would leave them with nothing but the despair of troubled consciences. In the absolution, the voice of God leads them out of darkness and into the full light of God’s forgiveness, reconciliation, and righteousness.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a believing heart, that trusts in your forgiveness of all my sins. Amen.
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The Upper Room is a six-part drama and sermon series for use during the weeks of Lent, in midweek or Sunday morning services. The stories in this series seek to focus our hearts and minds on the last days of Jesus, drawing us into a greater spiritual maturity that recognizes the blessings and responsibilities of this life of faith, as we walk with our Lord on the path to the cross.