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What Luther Says about Real Blessings

“In Holy Scripture, however, there are real blessings. They are more than mere wishes. They state facts and are effective. They actually bestow and bring what the words say. We also have blessings of this kind in the New Testament through Christ’s priesthood, which is our blessing when I say: ‘Receive the absolution of your sins.’ If I said: ‘Would that your sins were forgiven you; would that you were pious and in God’s grace!’ or ‘I wish you grace, mercy, the eternal kingdom, and deliverance from your sins,’ this could be called a blessing of love. But the blessing of a promise, of faith, and of a gift that is at hand is this: ‘I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; that is, I reconcile your soul to God, remove from you God’s wrath and displeasure, put you in His grace, and give you the inheritance of eternal life and the kingdom of heaven.’ All these things have the power to grant you forgiveness immediately and truly if you believe, for they are not our works; they are God’s works through our ministry. Accordingly, they are not blessings that express wishes; they are blessings that have the power to bestow. When I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, it is just as if I were saying: ‘I am snatching you from the hands of the devil and bringing you to God, and I am doing this truly and in fact.’” (LW 5:140–41)


Quotation from Luther’s Works is from the American Edition: vol. 5 © 1968 by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Written by

Mason Vieth

Mason Vieth is a recent graduate of Concordia University Chicago and is currently a first-year student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He interned in the professional and academic editorial department at Concordia Publishing House in the summer of 2017. Some of the projects he worked on include Who Was Martin Luther?, CPH’s Academic Blog, as well as other academic and professional resources.

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