From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
V. That the power of the keys is beneficial for the forgiveness of sins before the Church, but not before God.
Pulling It Together
The power of the keys binds things in heaven, not just on earth. When a “door” is unlocked or locked on earth in the name of Christ, it is done in heaven too. Whatever is bound or locked on earth is also bound or locked in heaven. This happens because it is not by the authority of the pastor that absolution or the forgiveness of sins is conferred. The Church is not the authority here either. If we think of absolution as something bestowed by the Church, there will be no end of confusion. Lutherans confess that the pastor and the Church absolve sin under the authority of Christ. It is God’s voice you hear when your pastor pronounces absolution. Your pastor is speaking with God’s authority and by his command. And so, it is bound on earth—and in heaven.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for locking the gates of hell. Amen.
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The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.
The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power.” (1 Cor 6:14)