Luther’s Small Catechism – Confession and Holy Absolution

Home > Newspaper Articles > Luther’s Small Catechism – Confession and Holy Absolution

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Ps. 32:1). During this season of Lent as we prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate our Savior’s passion, death, and resurrection, it is a wonderful time to reflect on God’s gift of Confession and Absolution, the 5th chief part of Luther’s Catechism.

For many, the idea of reflecting on and confessing our sins is depressing and guilt-producing. This is intensified even more when looking at the cross and thinking about what Jesus had to go through in order to earn our forgiveness. They would rather forget about their sins, or ignore them.

King David tried to do this. In Psalm 32[:3-4] he described its affect on him: “When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.” He could not hide from God. His conscience wore him down.

But to try to forget or hide our sins is not God’s way of dealing with them. He did not ignore them when He sent Jesus to the cross. Instead, He took care of them completely and forever when Jesus said “It is finished” (John 19:30). God laid your sins out on Jesus and punished Him for them. And Jesus’ resurrection from the dead verifies for you that God accepted His sacrifice.

This is how God wants you to take care of your sins as well. Don’t hide them but confess them and lay them out before God. He then points you to the cross and tells you that He has already taken care of them, permanently. You don’t need to fear His wrath anymore. King David found this promised relief: “I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the
Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Ps. 32:5).

While confession is difficult, it is also a great comfort to know that God forgives. Before God, you should confess all your sins, even those you don’t know about. But if there are sins that especially trouble you, God gives you a wonderful gift in being able to confess your sins before a fellow sinner who will hear your confession and announce God’s forgiveness to you freely. This may be a trusted Christian friend, who will keep your confidence. It may also be your pastor, who has God’s command to do so. A blessed Lent.

If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me,
Let Thy cross my fear disarm;
Peace of conscience give me.
Grant that I may trust in Thee
And Thy holy Passion;
If His Son so loveth me,
God must have compassion. (Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, #287, stz. 5)