2 Corinthians 13:9b–10
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
Christ speaks of a spiritual kingdom. God commands that ministers of the gospel should absolve those who are converted, by the authority which the Lord has given us for edification (2 Cor 10:8). Therefore the reservation of cases is a secular affair. It is a reservation of canonical punishment, not the reservation of guilt before God in those who are truly converted. Therefore the adversaries are right when they confess that at the time of death the reservation of cases should not hinder absolution.
Pulling It Together: There are no confessed sins that Christ Jesus cannot or will not forgive. Therefore there is no confessed sin for which a minister of the gospel cannot and should not give absolution. Ministers are commanded to do so; it is their pastoral duty. Christ himself has given them the authority—his own authority—to forgive sins in his name. Absolving sinners is not a responsibility reserved for someone of a higher authority. There is no higher authority than that which calls men and women to the ministry of building up the people of God by restoring them to a righted relationship with the Lord through that peace that comes from confirmed forgiveness. For that office is itself the very highest authority, being true God in Christ.
Prayer: Give me the faith to hear and believe in your forgiveness, Lord. Amen.
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