The Voice of the Gospel
Have you heard the “voice of the Gospel”?
Yes, the Gospel has a voice. In fact, the Gospel has a very distinct voice! We hear the “voice of the Gospel” every Sunday in the Divine Service. The Gospel’s voice is not hidden, and it doesn’t take a trained ear to hear it. Older folks, teenagers, even little kids hear the voice of the Gospel every Sunday. All that it takes to hear is a pair of ears on the sides of your head!
Do you know what I’m talking about yet? I’ll give you a hint: The voice of the Gospel says this to you: “As a called and ordained servant of the Word, I announce the grace of God unto all of you and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The voice of the Gospel is Holy Absolution, the very voice of Jesus Himself. Where there are sins confessed, the “voice of the Gospel” washes them away. There are no guilty consciences after the Gospel has spoken, no more death, and no more hell. There are the words “I forgive you.” Where those three words are, there is also life and salvation!
Every week the Lord speaks those words into our ears through the mouth of the ones sent by Him. Your ears hear a pastor’s voice say them, but the words are from the very mouth of God. From the pastor, as from God Himself, you hear the voice of God’s forgiveness!
“But can’t I get forgiveness straight from God?” Most certainly you can! But the Lord has given the “voice of the Gospel” for those sins and times when we need to hear God speak to us into our ears, “I forgive you.”
Do you have something that you have confessed to God, but whenever you think about standing before God on the Last Day you think, “I certainly hope He doesn’t bring that up”? Is there is a sin you just can’t get a handle on? There is a place you can go to unburden yourself of that sin. At Holy Absolution, you will hear that the sin troubling you can indeed send you to hell.You will also hear the good news that Jesus died on the cross for every last one of your sins! Then, you will hear the voice of God say, “I forgive you all your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
The only thing to say after that is “Amen.” I am free! I have heard the voice of the Gospel, the very voice of God, say my sins are forgiven because of Jesus.
“But I don’t want Pastor to know that I did that sin.” Don’t be deceived! Your pastor already knows you are a sinner because the Word of God says you are a sinner! He isn’t going to be surprised that you have sins. What might surprise you is that he will take them away with the words, “I forgive you.” Then, your pastor won’t tell anyone that you even talked to him, let alone your sins. Why should he? God has remembered your sins no more.
“Pastor, this all sounds too Catholic to me!” No, confessing your sins to your pastor is not a “Roman Catholic thing,” it is a “Dare to be Lutheran thing!” How do I know? Confession and Absolution is in the Scriptures and in the Catechism!
One last question: “Pastor, do your teenagers come for Absolution?” I can’t answer that because I can’t talk about it. But, I can say that they hear the voice of the Gospel!