From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Good pastors know it is advantageous to examine inexperienced persons. But we do not wish to sanction the torture of the Summists. Despite what they have done, it would have been less intolerable if they had added one word concerning faith to comfort and encourage consciences. There is not a syllable about the faith which obtains the forgiveness of sins in their great a mass of regulations, glosses, summaries, and books of confession. Christ is nowhere in their writings. They only list sins. The greater part is occupied with sins against human traditions, and this is most vain. This doctrine has forced many god-fearing minds to despair. They were not able to find peace because they believed that divine law made an enumeration of sins necessary, while experiencing that this was impossible. There are other faults of no less consequence inherent in our opponents’ doctrine concerning penitence, which we will now recount.
Pulling It Together
Confession must lead to Christ—not to more and more confession. Christ is the focus, not ourselves. Therefore forgiveness must be the outcome of confession, not the tyranny of a guilty conscience. God has covered our sin like a deep fog covers the landscape. He has erased our iniquities. All he asks is that you return to him instead of returning to your sinning—or to the memories of your sins. Confess your sin with an eye on Christ, not an anxious glance for yet another sin to confess. Give thanks for his grace and forgiveness; then live in peace with God. Look to the redeemer, not to the sinner or his sins.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you have made me righteous through your grace, not by meticulous acts of religion. Amen.
Go and Tell - Word of Life Series (Unit 2) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.