“I will let no one take away private confession and would not exchange it for all the wealth of the world, for I know what strength and comfort it has given me.”* So spoke Luther in thanksgiving for the gift Christ gives His Church in private confession and absolution. Private Confession is not a Roman Catholic instituion, nor is it a Lutheran institution, but rather an institution of our dear Lord Jesus Christ. He has given this blessed sacrament to His Church in all times and in all places to comfort the soul with the objective certainty that when we confess our sins to the Lord He, who is faithful and just, will indeed forgive our iniquities. Who is private confession and absolution for? Those who are sinful and desire forgiveness from the Lord through the means of His called and ordained servant, the pastor. For as we confess in the Divine Service from I John, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Private confession is for Christ’s people. It is for sinners who are plagued by Satan into thinking that their sins separate them from the love of God. It is for those sinners who have grown comfortable in their sins and need to be driven back to the cross in repentance and contrition. It is not a means by which we are given works to make penance for our sins and a Lutheran pastor will never assign certain prayers as a means to receive the free forgiveness of Christ, for this is not why Christ gave us private confession. He gave us the sacrament of confession that we may receive His forgiveness again and again. This is what the life of a Christian is about; receiving and living in the grace and love of Jesus Christ. You may call Pastor Roemke any time if you desire private confession and absolution. Take advantage of this wonderful gift, for it is given for you from Christ!