From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
Our adversaries will condemn many of the most generally accepted teachers if they claim that an enumeration of offenses is necessary in confession according to divine law. We approve of confession, and allow that some examination is beneficial in order to better instruct people. However, the matter must be controlled so that snares are not cast upon consciences, which will never be tranquil if they think that they cannot obtain the forgiveness of sins unless this precise enumeration is made.
Pulling It Together: Scripture does not teach that we must go to a confessor with a list of all our sins. Nevertheless, confession can be good, if seasoned with grace. When used with concern for the care of souls, specific confession may benefit people. Yet, God’s grace must always be offered, particularly when persons imagine that they must list every single offense in order to be forgiven. Of course, this can never be done; there will always be some lingering sin, forgotten until it is too late for confession. Then confession becomes a human law that imprisons souls. So, the penitent must always be reminded of God’s grace. For God has promised to not remember our sins. He does so for Christ’s sake, not because of our ability to recall lengthy lists of sins.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for declaring me righteous, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
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