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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 211

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From the Word: 28 Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they swear. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin. (Mark 3:28–29)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What is Confession?

Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins and the other is that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor as from God himself, in no way doubting, but firmly believing that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Imagine a person who goes to church and thinks, I do not need to confess my sins because I am a good person. It is easy enough to imagine a person like this outside the church, but they exist inside the church too. They go to church every Sunday, thinking that is what good, moral people do. These people have been duped—fooled by themselves and the devil too. They believe there is no room for God’s grace, or at best, just a little bit of it, perhaps a small religious dose of grace here and there. A Christian will not have this, cannot stand for it.

It is either all God’s grace, for the Christian, or nothing. They come to church, knowing they are sinners, and confessing it (Luke 18:13). There is complete forgiveness for these sinners, no matter the sins they commit. But for that person who says, I’m good enough. I am a moral person and my good deeds have made up for any bad things, there is no grace at all. This is the blasphemy against God that cannot be forgiven. For it is nothing else than unbelief, a shunning of Christ and his benefits. The one thing God cannot forgive is a person who believes in himself so much that he will not believe in God.

Make no mistake; belief is more than assent to a knowledge of God. Real faith also acknowledges one’s need for God.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, a sinner who needs you. Amen.

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