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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Mass – part 63

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Hebrews 11:6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The ceremony itself, the giving of thanks, can not to be applied ex opere operato on behalf of others so that it merits the forgiveness of sins for them, or so that it liberates the souls of the dead. These things conflict with the righteousness of faith, as though, without faith, a ceremony can profit either the one performing it or others.

Pulling It Together

Faith is the byword of the Lutheran Reformation. The Church could only be reformed, shaped back to what it was meant to be, through faith in God. Each person receives forgiveness of sin when he has faith in the forgiving God. I cannot have faith for my neighbor or for my children or for my dead parents. That is or was a matter of their own faith in Christ. The benefits of the Sacraments require faith in what God has done for us. I cannot carry out a ceremony and it then, have a benefit for others simply because I performed a religious work on their behalf. Without faith, the ceremony is useless. The ceremony itself, is lifeless without faith. Without personal faith, forgiveness of sin is impossible and dead souls stay dead. Without faith in God, even religious and moral works are sheer presumption of one’s own righteousness.

Prayer: Reform my faith, Lord, so that I trust in you alone. Amen.

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