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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Mass – part 62

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Romans 1:17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

There are other statements about thanksgiving, such as that most beautiful expression of Cyprian concerning the godly communicant. “Piety,” he says, “makes a distinction between what has been given and what has been forgiven, thanking the Bestower of such abundant blessing.” That is, piety considers both what has been given and what has been forgiven. It compares the greatness of God’s blessings and the greatness of our ills—sin and death—with each other, and gives thanks. Hence, the term Eucharist arose in the Church.

Pulling It Together

In Confession and Absolution, we are to carefully consider our sins. We stare squarely into our souls and see who we truly are, and recognize that we are sinners. After receiving the blessed absolution, the assurance of God’s forgiveness for Christ’s sake, we move forward to the table. There, we are to consider Christ alone. Only then may we apprehend the deep truth that he has made us a new people, the communion of saints—again, for his sake. Here, in the midst of this divine service, we see ourselves correctly as both sinners and saints, simul iustus et peccator. We are sinners saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. This gracious gift of faith apprehends both its own sinfulness and God’s faithfulness to forgive. In other words, the truly righteous person is a sinner who lives by faith in God’s righteousness. What else would sinners do but raise the strain of thanksgiving?

Prayer: Thank you Father, for giving me faith to believe in your forgiveness through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

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