The Fourth Mark:  HOLY ABSOLUTION

I lay my sins on Jesus,
the spotless Lamb who died;
He bears them all and frees me
from all my shame and pride.
I bring my guilt to Jesus,
to wash my crimson stains
White in His blood most precious
'till not a spot remains.

Chorus:
I lay my sins on Jesus,
He's waiting now with open arms.
I bring my guilt to Jesus,
For He is willing, able,
Ready to forgive.

I lay my wants on Jesus,
my advocate above;
He heals my broken body,
redeems my soul in love.
I lay my griefs on Jesus,
my burdens and my cares;
He takes them all upon Him
and in my sorrow shares.


I rest my soul on Jesus,
this weary, thirsty soul;
His gentle arms embrace me
and point me towards the goal.
I put my hope in Jesus
to bring me safely home,
To sing with heaven's millions,
my praise to Him alone.

Original words by Horatius Bonar (1808-89) 

"Now where you see sins forgiven or reproved in some persons, be it publicly or privately, you may know that God's people are there."
Martin Luther. (LW 41:153)

1. Confession and Absolution is a means by which we speak the truth of our sinful nature and sinful actions and hear the truth of God's grace to forgive sin.
2. Read and reflect on Luther's Small Catechism regarding Confession (CLC p. 341-342).
3. The Lutheran Confessions sometimes refer to Confession/Absolution as a sacrament to be practiced regularly. See Apology  to the Augsburg Confession Article XIII (CLC p. 184).
4. Read and reflect on the Augsburg Confession, Article XI and XII (CLC p. 35-38) and the Apology to the Augsburg Confession       (CLC p.155-171).
5. Private Confession/Absolution is before a Pastor of the Church. Sins confessed are a sacred trust and the pastor is                         prohibited from disclosing that confession.
6. The hymnals have an order for private confession and absolution. See Lutheran Book of Worship p. 196-197 and Lutheran           Service Book p. 292-293 and Evangelical Lutheran Worship p. 243-244.
7. In preparation for confession, read and reflect on Luther's Small Catechism on the Ten Commandments (CLC pp. 316-327).


 

 The Ten Commandments

As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household.
The First Commandment.
Thou shalt have no other gods.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
The Second Commandment.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
The Third Commandment.
Thou shalt sanctify the holy-day.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.
The Fourth Commandment.
Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother [that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long upon the earth].
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem.
The Fifth Commandment.
Thou shalt not kill.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need [in every need and danger of life and body].
The Sixth Commandment.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may lead a chaste and decent life in words and deeds, and each love and honor his spouse.
The Seventh Commandment.
Thou shalt not steal.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not take our neighbor's money or property, nor get them by false ware or dealing, but help him to improve and protect his property and business [that his means are preserved and his condition is improved].
The Eighth Commandment.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.
The Ninth Commandment.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not craftily seek to get our neighbor's inheritance or house, and obtain it by a show of [justice and] right, etc., but help and be of service to him in keeping it.
The Tenth Commandment.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not estrange, force, or entice away our neighbor's wife, servants, or cattle, but urge them to stay and [diligently] do their duty.
What Does God Say of All These Commandments?
Answer.
He says thus (Exod. 20:5f): I the Lord, thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.
What does this mean?--Answer.
God threatens to punish all that transgress these commandments. Therefore we should dread His wrath and not act contrary to these commandments. But He promises grace and every blessing to all that keep these commandments. Therefore we should also love and trust in Him, and gladly do [zealously and diligently order our whole life] according to His commandments.


8. Read and reflect on scripture passages relating to confession and absolution. For example:
Luke 18:9-14 (ESV)
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

John 20:21-23 (ESV)
 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Matthew 18:18 (ESV)
18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

From THE GUIDE Seven Marks Society Second Edition

Page referances are from CONCORDIA The Lutheran Confessions Concordia Publishing House Second Addition,  Copyright 2005,  2006 (CLC)