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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Because God truly quickens through the Word, the keys really remit sins before God, according to this verse: “He who hears you hears me” (Luke 10:16). Therefore the voice of the one absolving must be believed as though it were a voice from heaven. Absolution may properly be called a sacrament of repentance, as the more learned scholastic theologians also say.
Pulling It Together
Here is one of the surest and most obvious ways that the Lord’s Prayer is answered. We pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” As God wishes to forgive sinners for Christ’s sake, he sends pastors to call them to repentance, who then speak to them the words of absolution. There! See it? God’s will was done on earth, as it is in heaven. Our sins are truly remitted, canceled, and forgiven on earth through the absolution so that they are also canceled before God in heaven. Your pastor is a messenger sent by God. Believe that you are truly forgiven in heaven when you hear such words as these on earth: “I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of our sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Prayer: Keep me in faith, Lord, that I may believe in your mercy and grace until that Day. Amen.
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Luke in Sola's "Old Places, New Faces" series is a twelve lesson study that will take you from a night in Jerusalem to the day of Pentecost. 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.