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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
The power of the keys administers and presents the gospel through absolution, which is the true voice of the gospel. Thus we also include absolution when we speak of faith, because “faith comes from what is heard”, as Paul says (Rom 10:17). For when the gospel and the absolution are heard, the conscience is encouraged and receives consolation.
Pulling It Together: The promise of divine grace is received through hearing the gospel. This hearing occurs in many ways. It is received through the reading and singing of the Scripture, both individually and corporately. It happens in both sacraments, when the gospel is presented—to those receiving as well as to those who affirm their own faith, as happens at baptism. The gospel is heard during preaching and when the Holy Spirit brings it to mind, especially when the conscience has been fearful because of sin. This remembrance also occurs when Christ’s words of forgiveness are spoken privately through a confessor, and corporately in the absolution. This is how the power of the keys delivers the gospel. For when we hear that we have received the entire forgiveness of our sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we have heard the very gospel, are at peace with God, and our faith is strengthened.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your word of grace, delivered to us in the power of your Spirit. Amen.
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Mark in Sola's "Old Places, New Faces" series is a twelve lesson study that will take you from the stormy Sea of Galillee to the empty tomb. This small group Bible study looks at the old places from the New Testament stories and gives relevant and faith-stimulating messages for new faces — today's believers.