Individual Confession and Absolution


In Luther’s Small Catechism, we read the following:

V. Confession

How Christians should be taught to confess.

What is Confession?

Confession embraces two parts: the one is, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, and in no wise doubt, but firmly believe, that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even of those which we do not know, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. But before the confessor we should confess those sins alone which we know and feel in our hearts.

Which are these?

Here consider your station according to the Ten Commandments, whether you are a father, mother, son, daughter, master, mistress, a man-servant or maid-servant; whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, slothful; whether you have grieved any one by words or deeds; whether you have stolen, neglected, or wasted aught, or done other injury.

Luther, and our Lutheran Confessions, commend the practice of Individual Confession and Absolution as a precious gift of God for Baptized Christians. This act provides grace to comfort those Christians who are weary of their sins.

We find the Scriptural basis for pronouncing the forgiveness of sins (absolution) in John 20:22-23, especially:

[The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples and said] “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Please contact our pastor if you would like to know more about Confession and Absolution.