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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 152

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From the Word: In [Christ] we have great redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the wealth of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Within the communion of the Christian church there is the true faith that receives the free gift of Christ Jesus. There, in that Body, the Head forgives; and he forgives abundantly, as there is full redemption in his blood. The sacrifice of Jesus means that the Father’s gracious love is justly given to those who believe, to his church, his Body. His salvation is so complete that he forgives the sins of all believers not once, but daily. His blood is a full atonement, given once for all people, for all time, for all sin (Heb 10:1–18). The Father is not stingy or cheap with his grace; he lavishly forgives us our iniquities for Jesus’ sake. His Holy Spirit is his seal of our redemption, a guarantee we may rely upon until that Day when we fully inherit his blessings through resurrection to eternal life (Eph 1:14). 

Prayer: Give me, O God, receiving faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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