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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Mass – part 38

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Luke 22:19–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Consciences were tormented by satisfactions and the enumeration of sins. Our opponents made no mention of faith, by which we freely receive the forgiveness of sins. All of their books and sermons were silent about the use of faith in struggling with despair, and the free forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake. Additionally, they horribly desecrated the Mass and added many other godless services in the churches. This is the desolation that Daniel describes.

Pulling It Together

Faith in Christ, in what he has done for us, is so important because it always makes us look to the source of forgiveness and salvation. Anything that turns our attention away from him must be avoided altogether. Therefore, the introduction of anything other than what Christ instituted is not only unnecessary, it is harmful. Requiring the listing of one’s sins brings the focus again, to self. We do not need to list every last sin, in fear that one might be forgotten and therefore, not covered. All our sin is covered by the blood of Christ. The listing or enumeration of sins is just another work. Instead, we should turn to Christ, who heartily desires to forgive us. He is not waiting to catch us in the failure to confess some sin. He forgives us all our sins, so we need not despair that there is some corner of our lives that we have forgotten, and is not dealt with by God for Christ’s sake. We are forgiven for his sake, not for the sake of our good works, long lists, or any other method we employ to make satisfaction for sin. Christ alone is that satisfaction.

Prayer: Give me such faith in you, Lord, that my soul may be fed by your body and blood. Amen.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

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