From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
The eleventh article on retaining absolution in the Church is approved. But they add a correction in reference to confession, that the regulation Omnis Utriusque be observed—that annual confession be made, and though all sins cannot be enumerated, diligence should be employed so that they are recollected, and those which can be recalled, be recounted. We will speak at greater length later about this entire matter, when we will explain our full opinion concerning repentance.
Pulling It Together
People recoil at the idea of fearing God because they believe that God loves them. “Why should I fear someone who loves me?” they might ask. Yet Scripture tells us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psa 111:10). That “we should fear, love, and trust in God above all things” is also repeated throughout the Small Catechism. Obviously, fearing God is a matter of great importance. We should fear God, but why?
Our sins hold us back from fellowship with God because we know that, though God loves us, we have displeased him. As a result of this fear, we confess those sins that have separated us from divine fellowship, in the hope that somehow God would forgive the likes of poor sinners like us. Confession leads us to an understanding of his love and forgiveness. We are then, able to love and trust the God who loves us. So we should not harden our hearts but instead, “fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”
Prayer: Help me to trust you with my transgressions, loving Lord. Amen.
Learning About Confession - Teacher's Guide guides leaders in teaching the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. The student book, Learning About Confession is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. With a healthy balance of Law and Gospel, lessons emphasize the connection between repentance and forgiveness, and how the promise of God’s forgiveness changes our lives.