Confession and Absolution
March 2017

Dear friends in Christ,
This month's TLO Disciple is focused on Confession and Absolution.  God has promised if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
As a baptized child of God you have been made alive in Christ.  Your sins have been washed away through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.  You have been reconciled to God, and brought into the fellowship of the Church, Christ's body.
Now as members of the body of Christ, part of our on-going life of faith and membership in God's kingdom is regular and constant need for forgiveness.  When we gather in worship one of the gifts of God is the bestowing of forgiveness through the Absolution: "As a called and ordained servant of Christ, I forgive you your sins in the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
Our lives are daily filled with trouble.  Unconfessed sin and unforgiven sin can cause great harm to a person.  Let me encourage you to not dismiss public Confession and Absolution during our worship services, nor private confession with the pastor, without thought and attention.  While you are adopted, and born again, the on-going and repeated forgiveness that God offers new each morning and new each Sunday, is simply God's gift to keep true faith alive in you.  Lord give us ears to hear your forgiveness through the cross of Christ that our joy may be full.
Pastor James L Kroonblawd

Personal confession, absolution, and prayer is available at Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church and School.
"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."  James 5:16 ESV
Private confession is a great gift to the Christian church.  During private confession you will have the opportunity to pray with a pastor, receive guidance from Holy Scripture and receive absolution from God.  If you have any questions concerning private confession, please do not hesitate to call the church office to speak with Pastor Jim for more information.

This LHM (Lutheran Hour Ministry) video on Confession and Absolution is included in the Adult Instruction GodConnects Course.  Click to view

GodConnects courses are offered 3 times per year--watch for upcoming schedule, join us, and bring your friends to learn more about the grace and forgiveness that comes through Jesus Christ. 


"But whoever has a firm, strong faith in God and is certain that his sins have been forgiven him, he may well omit confession and confess to God alone. But how many are there who have such firm, strong faith and confidence in God? Let everyone look to himself that he does not mislead himself."
Rev. Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther (October 25, 1811 - May 7, 1887) was the first President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Are you weary over your sin?  Your sins are forgiven!  Absolutely!
{Jesus said} "Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28
In the mercy of God, Jesus Christ came into the world, pure and free from sin.  In every thought, word, and deed, he loved and served the Father-and he loved you and all people as himself.  He left no good deed undone; he perfectly kept the Father's will.  With his whole heart, Jesus willingly suffered the punishment of the cross in your place.  Raised from the dead, Jesus lives forever with the authority to forgive every sin.  When he comes again in glory, all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.  As a called and ordained servant of Christ, therefore, and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Dear young people:
It's time to be bold, to dare to learn, to dare to think, to speak, to confess, to engage and care to those in the dying world around you. Martin Luther dared to engage his academic community, and his 95 theses remind us that wherever we are that the Reformation is all about Jesus - still!
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Absolution is for the comfort and strengthening of our consciences
For our God, the God we have, has not left us with only one comfort or strengthening for our conscience, or only one absolution, but we have many absolutions in the gospel and we are richly showered with many absolutions.
  • For instance, we have this in the gospel: "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you" [Matt. 6:14].
  • Another comfort we have in the Lord's Prayer: "Forgive us our trespasses," etc. [Matt. 6:12].
  • A third is our baptism, when I reason thus: See, my Lord, I have been baptized in thy name so that I may be assured of thy grace and mercy.
  • Then we have private confession, when I go and receive a sure absolution as if God himself spoke it, so that I may be assured that my sins are forgiven.
  • Finally, I take to myself the blessed sacrament, when I eat his body and drink his blood as a sign that I am rid of my sins and God has freed me from all my frailties; and in order to make me sure of this, he gives me his body to eat and his blood to drink, so that I shall not and cannot doubt that I have a gracious God.
Thus you see that confession must not be despised, but that it is a comforting thing. And since we need many absolutions and assurances, because we must fight against the devil, death, hell, and sin, we must not allow any of our weapons to be taken away, but keep intact the whole armor and equipment which God has given us to use against our enemies. For you do not yet know what labor it costs to fight with the devil and overcome him. But I know it well, for I have eaten a bit of salt or two with him. I know him well, and he knows me well, too. If you had known him, you would not have rejected confession in this way.
Martin Luther, March 16, 1522


Absolution brings peace and comfort that sins are forgiven.  With peace and comfort, absolution also brings strength. What is the strength spoken of in the following verses? 
Isaiah 40:31, 41:10
Luke 22:32
Hebrews 12:4-13
Holy Absolution bestows forgiveness, peace, comfort, strength and finally courage. What is the
courage spoken of in the following verses?
John 21:15-19
Acts 4:8-13
Acts 23:9-11

Create in me a clean heart, O God
And renew a right spirit within me
Cast me not away from thy presence
And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
And uphold me with Thy free Spirit.


1. Have Mercy on Me, O God, According to Thy Steadfast Love.
Formerly we had to flee and be afraid of God, when there was danger that we might fall into sin. Since the Fall we ought to hope for forgiveness and ask for it instead of remaining in thoughts of wrath and fear.
Therefore let us also dare to say: "Have mercy on me, O God. I am a sinner, tempted by flesh and blood, anger and hate. But my hope is in Thy mercy and goodness, which Thou hast promised to those who thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5:6)."
8. Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice.
The bones which are weary and crushed, as it were, because of the sinful conscience rejoice and are revived when the conscience hears the joy of absolution. Sin is a heavy, grievous, and terrifying burden; yet it cannot be taken away through the outward works of man, but only through the inner work of God.
10. Create in me a clean heart, O God.
It is easy to give the appearance of clean hands and noble words. This is within the power of man. But a clean heart, devoid of all love of things, is the work of the Creator and His divine power. Scripture says that no one has a clean heart. Hence all are sinners before God, to whom the heart is as open as hand and work are open to man. The truth which God loves is in the heart. Inner righteousness, however, is never attained completely in this life but must always be pursued.
And renew a right spirit within me.

The spirit of the flesh and of Adam is a crooked spirit. It turns its attention toward itself and seeks its own. We are born with it. The upright spirit is the good will directed straight to God, seeking God alone. This will must be made anew and poured into the innermost part of our heart by God, so that there may be no deceit in our spirit, but that we may love the will of God from the bottom of our heart.

11. Cast me not away from Thy presence.
This happens to all those who do not reject themselves in their own eyes and at the same time are not concerned that they are rejected in God's sight. In fact, they set themselves up in God's presence and exalt themselves. Therefore they will be abased and cast away. For they imagine they are clean, righteous, and enlightened, and therefore cannot be rejected. The others, however, feel and know that they are justly cast away on account of their sins. Therefore they come forward with fear and humbly pray for what the self-righteous think they have already gained with their holiness.

And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
For of myself I am depraved. The Holy Spirit must make me holy and sustain me. Furthermore, without the Holy Spirit Himself there is no gift or grace satisfactory to God.

12. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation.
For through Adam and our sin this is lost to us all and must be restored by grace. It means: "Give me again a conscience happy and secure in Thy salvation,"

And uphold me with Thy free spirit.
That is, with the Holy Spirit; He makes free and willing men, who do not serve God out of painful fear or improper love. For all who serve out of fear are not firmly established as long as the fear lasts. In fact, they are forced; they serve with resentment. If there were no hell and punishment, they would not serve at all. Even those who serve God out of love of reward or some good thing are not firmly established. For if they know of no reward or if the good thing does not materialize, they stop. All these have no joy in God's salvation. Nor do they have a clean heart or a right Spirit. They are levers of themselves more than of God. Those, however, who serve God with a good and honest will are firm in their service of God, whether things go this way or that way, are sweet or sour. They are established and made firm by God with a noble, free, princely, and unconstrained will. In Hebrew the little word "free Spirit" also means "free," "willing," or "unconstrained." What is done because of force does not last, but what is done willingly remains firm.
click image to view
As he examines David's sin and confession, Dr. R.C. Sproul demonstrates how God was merciful to David, restoring to him the joy of salvation. In addition, Dr. Sproul addresses the need for all people to recognize their sin and repent, acknowledging that God is the Judge for all people and  that He shows mercy to the repentant.    Click to view

Question:  I am having trouble understanding how a pastor has the power to forgive or not forgive our sins. Where is the Office of the Keys found in the Bible? Did Christ give the Church this power and, if so, where is this found in the Scriptures? K.L., Texas
The answer to your question is clearly explained in Martin Luther's Small Catechism. 

Luther defines the issue of confession and absolution as the exclusive authority Christ has given His church on earth to forgive the sins of those who recognize and confess their sins, who are truly sorry for them, and who rely on Christ's promise of forgiveness for those who believe in Him as their Savior. 

The section of Scripture cited to support this authority given by Christ to the church is John 20:22- 23. Here, having been raised from the dead, Jesus speaks these words to His disciples, whom He commissioned to carry His message of forgiveness to the world: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." 

Although the power to forgive sins (or not forgive them) always belongs to and remains with the church, Luther explains that when pastors called and ordained by the church to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments on behalf of the church declare to penitent sinners that their sins are forgiven, they do this by the command of Christ, who granted this power to the church. 

The pastors do this not by their own authority but rather by the command and authority of Christ on the basis of their call from the church to carry out this function. Consequently, their word of forgiveness is as valid as if Christ Himself, who has given the church that authority, were assuring the penitent sinners of their forgiveness. 

Obviously, as Christ's command indicates, when this declaration of forgiveness is pronounced, the pastor is not pronouncing forgiveness for those who fail or refuse to recognize their sins and acknowledge their need for forgiveness. It should not be forgotten that the section of the Small Catechism that deals with this matter bears the heading "The Office of the Keys and Confession (emphasis added). As Luther points out, confession involves two things
- namely, acknowledging our sins as well as receiving "absolution or forgiveness from the pastor as from God Himself."
May 1, 2007 Lutheran  Witness, Q and A
The Lutheran Witness - Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the 
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.   Connect to Lutheran Witness


This article by Ruth Meyer encourages parents to model worship.  At least it's something to consider.
June 23, 2014 ~ Ruth Meyer
"What can we do to get younger people involved at our church?"  Have you ever heard or asked those words?  I hate to break it to you, but if indeed you've been searching for new methods to draw people in, you're probably achieving the opposite effect.  I'll let you in on a dirty little secret.  If you want to make sure your kids won't continue going to church once they get older, there's a surprisingly easy method to follow.

By Jonathan Fisk
Worldview Everlasting and KFUO Radio
This video challenges the Church to speak the Truth boldly.


Humpty Dumpty is a great illustration of what happened when Adam and Eve brought themselves and the rest of the human race, born of natural means, under the demise that we "Could not make Humpty where He was before." The perfect relationship between God and mankind was ruptured. Nothing that mankind can do, can repair the plight of our human nature.   Read more

Explore the past through the people who lived it! In the months leading to the 500th Anniversary to the Reformation, you will meet 25 men and women passionate about the Reformation re-discovery of the Gospel-either for or against it.  Each person is an unforgettable face of the Reformation era.

click to meet Ulrich Zwingli
click to meet Justus Jonas

Do you have a suggested topic for an upcoming TLO Disciple?  Send an email to Pastor Kroonblawd by clicking here.


TLO Disciple, with a topical study in each issue, is distributed primarily via email on the first of every month.  Print copies are available by contacting the TLO Church office at  651-454-7235 or the  Church Office via email.
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Soli Deo gloria

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