The Confessions
How They Have Grown Out of Scripture

Rev. Ralph Wm. Spears

The Third Indianapolis Conference
St. Matthew Lutheran Church
April 22-23, 1996

Have this mind among yourselves which you have in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness o men. And being found in human form he humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name which is above every Name, that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2.

Peter confessed to Jesus "You are The Christ, the Son of the Living God and all Hell broke loose, literally. This happened at the head waters of the Jordan River arid "streams of living waters," flowed forth to the freedom of Salvation and its tributaries, Justification and Sanctification. It is as though heaven itself had waited for this unique moment when the Apostle Peter would recognize Jesus by Faith as the "Son of God" and that recognition would seal forever the authority of the Church - His Body. This event is celebrated in Matthew with spontaneous recognition by Jesus showing just how important this to face to face Confession was; not only in breaking open Hell, but in providing the the Keys to the Kingdom to keep those gates of Hell from prevailing against any confessing believer.

Peter was witnessing Jesus as Christ "as Son of the living God" by the help of the Father - in heaven setting an important precedent of true confession for all time.

This event is the basis of many later New Testament statements such as, "the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are Sons of God" ( Romans 8:16) and No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:3, and even (Romans 8:26) "--The Spirit helps is in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to Peter, says Jesus. The Father was at work arid He would make it possible later for Peter and the Apostles to understand that He, the Lord, would give them the words when they most needed it, a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to contradict until the time of their own deaths.

The Holy Spirit/Comforter imposed later by the Father was a natural continuation of Peter's confession, for it was Peter also who rightly identified the Holy Spirit and His manifestations to the rest of those present at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-42) in such a powerful and complete way.

This is often passed over in favor of the phenomena of the tongues of fire in the earlier part of the second chapter of Acts.

HELL is nothing to be taken lightly either. It is not just a clever turn of phrase to say that 'all hell broke loose,' for this represents that called, hades, sheol, outer darkness, the nether world, even principalities and powers; ruled over or associated with Satan, Beelzebub, belial, the deceiver, the devil, the prince of darkness, the prince of demons, the adversary or enemy, the accuser, the evil on, the tempter, the prince of the power of the air, and the ruler of darkens - to name a few! All of these are only terms for forces opposed to the Spirit, and they ARE very real, we know that and are sometimes overwhelmed by it even in the Church itself.

BUT they, or it, are powerless in the face of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - One GOD. And because of Peter's Confession, they are powerless over us in the face of our confession as the Power of the Key is put into our hand.

{It is for this reason that the IXIHYS prayer is greatly recommended, from which came the FISH its meaning in Greek. "JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, SAVIOR", the IXTHYS prayer, is built on the acronym for this Greek word and on the formula of Confession.}

Salvation is the River "that makes glad the City of God the Church, just as the Jordan River flows from that lovely place at Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asked His Apostles, "Who do you say that I am?" But it also flows down as 'living waters' where we are baptized and into the desert where we are tempted. For Peter and the others would come to know that they would be identified with Him in every way; baptized into His Death, and by Jesus' good confession, become a part of His suffering and triumph in ways that they had no idea about, yet!

The confession of Jesus Christ by Thomas one week after the Resurrection was also 'face to face' but shorter than Peter's confession and directly to the point - 'My Lord and my God" - and, just as Salutary to Salvation. Not only was his confession of benefit to Thomas who was bid to be no 'doubter, but to future disciples who were admonished "blessed if they believed and confessed without seeing for themselves in the way of the first Apostles on the first Resurrection day.

Peter by this time had denied his confession three times and so was in no better state than Thomas his fellow Apostle. However, this resulted in a most valuable lesson to all who were to follow as well as Peter. By carefully leading Peter through a Kyrie type renewal of his confession even to the point of his embarrassment and frustration; Jesus ever the chief confessor, renewed for Peter the" new man" of faith while drowning the old man of doubt. "Peter, do you love me? "Do you love me more than these? "Do you love me?" - which leads so naturally to "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy" in use at least by the early Second Century A.D. and familiar to most Christian worshipers who renew their confession regularly against the threats of the devil.

Another remarkable confession is from the unnamed father of a boy also not identified who responds to the invitation of Jesus to believe with; "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!" The measure of faith is enough to assist in the healing of this difficult case of possession, but it reminds us that several are told that their confession of faith has made (them) well.

Such events carry forward to the Epistle of James, the Lord's brother, who admonishes the disciple to "- confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. And this is mentioned just after the admonishment for the elders of the church to Pray over (him), anointing him with oil in the name in the Lord" (James 5:14-16) an admonishment that Martin Luther was to strongly suggest to his pastors 1500 years later. In fact Dr. Luther berated them for NOT doing so. Confession of faith, and of sins, was the basis of this strong admonishment.

The lovely confession of Martha comes also (in John 11:27) in answer to Jesus' direct question, Do you believe this?" Her first answer seemed tentative after she had suggested that 'if He had just been there earlier, Lazarus would not have died. Many disciples - like Martha - qualify their responses and seem to make their confessions less than full strength. As though reciting from a catechism lesson, she says, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day? But Jesus states that he Is resurrection and (the) life without qualifications of time, "he that lives and believes in Me shall never die!" Now Martha's confession changes in a more direct way, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come (who is coming) into the world" (Jn. 11:27). In like fashion, a recited confession can with the Lord's help, become more direct, spontaneous and heart warming.

But notice that Jesus worked with each of them in their confession, from where they were, until they got it RIGHT! And so -- with each of His own.

Not a chapter later in John's Gospel (12:44) Jesus cries out with urgency, He who believes in me, believes NOT in me but in HIM who sent me." This apparently because many "even of the authorities believed in Him, but for fear of the Pharisees, they did not confess it." The example of the belief that is not confessed, is most interesting and shows the importance of the confession.

Of a more earthly nature, if a man loves his wife but doesn't TELL her so, he can get into a lot of trouble. This, pastors may hear in confession. (Or from their own wives NOT in confession.) His wife may prompt him, even providing a 'dotted line' for him to 'pencil in' those three little words. The tension increases! However, once he confesses his feelings, by now perhaps, with flowers or some other 'outward and visible symbol" - both feet much better, the lover and the loved; the tension decreases and the husband has regained that all important status of one who truly cares for his wife. (It certainly is sacramental to marriage !).

In any case, sincerity of Faith must be present, as Luther says in his comments on the Sermon on the Mount, " -- the true confession of Christ is not possible without faith: as St. Paul says (1 Cor. 12:3):

"No one can say, 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit no sham Christian or schismatic spirit can understand this teaching. How much less can he truly preach it and confess it! Even though he might perceive the words and imitate them, still he does not hold to them or keep them pure. His preaching always betrays the fact that he does not have it straight. He slobbers all over it by stealing the honor from Christ and claiming it for himself."

[Here we might see the similarity between an insincere preacher and an insincere husband]

Luther concludes by saying that "the most reliable index of a true Christian is this: if from the way he preaches and praises Christ the people learn that they are nothing and that Christ is everything" (L.W. on Man 5:16).

Confession in the New Testament is an open profession or acknowledgment of one's faith with positive consequences for the confessor as in Matthew 10:32; - everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven."

And a negative Consequence without a true confession, But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven"

Counterparts to this passage are found in Luke 12:8, 1 John 2:23, and 4:15, while the exampIe of what became known as "a good confession" was mentioned in 1 Tim. 6:12- 13 "- take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilot made the good confession--"   One particular New Testament example of the "good confession at the point of death is Stephen as contained in the entire seventh chapter of Acts. He reports seeing "the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God" arid then he says, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit!

The death of many martyrs and saints are associated with their confession in the Early Church. One early account is of the martyrdom of Polycarp for instance. Early eye witness accounts found their way to Jerome and other 'Fathers' such as Eusebius of the early church about events surrounding the deaths of Peter, James the Just, and Andrew, which include the "good confession.

Confession of sin(s) figures quite prominently in the ministry of John the Baptizer and in the early church, Acts 19: 18, James 5:16 (as mentioned before) and in 1 John 1:9. In fact such confession of sins, was ESSENTIAL. For without it, as Luther says later, it is faith incomplete!

Before we go on with the flow of New Testament confessions into later Scripture, formulas arid Creeds: like living streams of water which "make glad the City of God" - the Church! Let us pause to look at an exchange that Luke reports between Jews and the Sadducees. This party did NOT believe in a living faith (resurrection) at least not in the Continuity of life beyond physical death. So they attempted to succeed where their rivals the Pharisees had failed in putting question to Jesus; and they were very good at it. The question was clever and right out of the Laws of Moses. A brother was expected by this code, very much in effect then, to take the wife of his brother, especially if she was childless, so that she might be allowed to have children and an eventual means of support. What would happen they asked, if successive brothers died so that she was one and another, and yet another brother's wife? Even though the Sadducees did not honor belief in the resurrection, whose wife among the brothers - would she be, they wanted to know. Such brain teasers were fair game for rabbis of repute.

Jesus both revealed the folly of their question AND unexpectedly to them, revealed the truth of the Living God defining and perpetuating from Himself living faith. 'There is no marrying or giving in marriage' after this life, for they "are like the angels" and cannot die any more - being spiritual. BUT Moses in the passage about the burning bush showed that the dead ARE raised 'where he (Moses) calls the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now," said Jesus, "he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to HIM. The very fact of the continuity of life from generation to generation, or as our hymn says, "From Age to Age the Same proves, according to Our Lord, that all DO live - by faith - in HIM, The One Eternal God." The very meaning of I AM THAT I AM, the voice from the burning bush, first states that the just shall LIVE by faith" as stated: in Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38-39. Hebrews states further, We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and KEEP their souls" (Heb. 10:38).

Following this the Scribes who were keeping score could not help but congratulate Jesus on his answer (Luke 20:39).

The word CONFESSION in Scripture has yet another, higher meaning! Rather than being the Confession of Peter, James, or Andrew; rather than making the Good Confession, the word becomes a greater representation for the Body of shared Faith Itself.

Confession as in OUR CONFESSION is seen in Hebrews (3:1) with Jesus as Its ambassador in the role of Apostle and High Priest. "Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high Priest of our confession."

And then the link with Moses in partnership and leadership with this living structure of faith "He (Jesus) was faithful to Him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in God's house" (3:2)   Jesus is given more honor than Moses continues Hebrews, for He is considered more as the house itself rather than Moses who was more as the builder.

"But Christ was faithful over God's house as a son. And ~WE are His house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope"

[Other sources here add the words, "Firm to the end! (3 :5 & 6)

Here, the confession, in effect 'builds the house' and we ARE the house by our confession

which is, according to Hebrews here, "our hope!" If there is any question here it is made more certain in just the next chapter (4:14) of Hebrews, "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us Hold fast our confession.

The implication of this 'high priesthood' of Jesus in the best sense of the High Priests of old, is spelled out here in a remarkable way that is unique to all of Scripture for its clarity and delightful description. Echoing John's Revelation (21:5) behold I make all things new Hebrews says:

"Therefore he (Jesus) is the mediator of a new covenant - so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance."

Christ's sacrifice replaces the old 'blood' sacrifices of the Temple establishing the new covenant. We see how Jesus is both the structure AND the high priest OF the structure. He IS the temple.

For saying this, that his body WAS the Temple and would be 'destroyed and rebuilt in three days. He was crucified in the flesh. Making that a Self fulfilled prophesy!

But Hebrews has one more saying:

"Let us bold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who has promised is faithful (10:23).

Confession, our confession and the Confession is inextricably bound up with our hope and our hope IS eternal life in the God of the Living. Often I have felt (and I may be wrong) certain Christian language has thrown around terms such as bought with His own precious blood' and 'in the blood of the lamb' without those symbols reallyconnecting with their meaning.

Confession in its various related shades of meaning: does that and connects with some of the most strongly stated beliefs of Martin Luther as we shall see.

A favorite Old Testament professor was fond of Saying; "There is nothing new in the New Testament! Many disputed that just as some evangelical preaching does still. They find a greater gulf between the Testaments than Jesus described between the dead rich man and Lazarus. There is no Salvation, they say, as if the builder (Moses) of the 'house' had no idea that it could contain Christ once it was completed.

Nothing could be further from the truth for one of the last discourses of the aged Moses points out the two ways, predicts that his children would follow the WRONG one - well after all he WAS a prophet - and then insists that the Word is very near to us all (Deut. 30:1f). We dont have to go looking for it either, across the sea or up to heaven.

"But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and In your heart so that you CAN DO it!

Paul read that passage too and liked it so well that he quoted it to his friends in Rome in the 10th Chapter beginning at verse 5. And at just this place, "In your mouth and in your heart he adds parenthetically "That is the Word of faith which we preach. "Because, Paul continues, "IF you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved!" (Rom. 10:9)

This is not said to vindicate my Old Testament Professor Dr. Igor Bella, who was chased out of his native Czech Republic twice by the communists. Rather, is it to point out the consistency of the Scriptural witness and that IS important! If we have the eyes to see - there are startlingly wonderful things to see.

Now, perhaps we can get to the greater point and the conclusion to this discussion by asking an extended question ... Why does Thomas' confession contain five words (in English)? Why does Peter's confession contain ten words? And why do the Lutheran Confessions fill this whole book of 636 pages (without indexes)? Is there a trend here? Do you see what I mean?

While we are at it, we could ask other questions, such as why are boring sermons so long?" But that is not the topic of this paper.

With Peter, Thomas and Martha the subject and object of their confession Jesus, was before them face to face. They knew Him and they came to know and realize much more about Him as time went by.

They asked Him questions and relied on Him. They heard Him say things, saw Him do things, many of which are "not written in this book" (John 20), because they were so many. They knew those who had known of His birth, had watched Him grow up. Several knew his mother and even his father well. Most of the Apostles and many of the disciples had heard most of what he had said; had seen miracles, healings and raisings from the dead. They had come to know, as Peter said in John (6:68), that He was indeed "The Holy One of God". They were good Jews, they knew the prophecies. Some of them were excellent scholars of the Scripture and they saw things "that prophets and kings" would have given anything to have seen.

Soon it was to become their task to 'deliver this faith to the saints' (Jude 3) because they were eye witnesses to "His glory." What a job! There were many things that they had seen and many things that they had been told and believed.

John says near the end of his Gospel how important that it was that he tell the story, important for them (the Apostles) to share "so that our joy might be full and important for all of the hearers and readers to come that [they] might have life in His name!

The Apostles Creed contained the things - most of the important things, that the Apostles knew to be true. The English (as it is translated) contains 108 unforgettable words. Each word, phrase and idea is important. It was vitally important that those "who had not seen and yet believe, know its contents. And indeed the Apostles Creed was used closely with baptism as generations of Christians made the 'good confession' using this creed. It was vitally important. It was revered.

The Church was met with misunderstanding, persecution and death. But there was an enemy from within, even more dangerous; damaging criticism and heresy. During the tumultuous fourth century, the Church was in grave danger of splitting or crumbling over bitter disagreement, apostasy and unbelief. The heresy known as Arianism seriously challenged the divinity of Christ saying that rather, he was a mere mortal man and God, in name only. It was an illusive heresy, giving one appearance, but another form. So that by the fourth century there were concerns about substance, especially the substance of - God. There were definite, important distinctions between things seen and those things like faith for instance, which are unseen. The result was the Nicean Creed named for the Council which met at Nicea and debated many of these things. This new Creed offered hope of better description and definition. With 219 words, the new creed was more than twice the length of the Apostles Creed. But was it an improvement? [You view both Creeds, side by side on pages four and five in the from of the SBH.]

The straight forward form of the Apostles Creed is replaced by Christ as being of one

substance with the Father, of very God of very God, and of begotten NOT made: all reflecting this prevalent enemy. Notice also the care to mention the Incarnation and that it was done for our sake and that it is Effective for Salvation!. Furthermore, that this bolstering was done to guard against heresy or false teaching.

Luther in the Sixteenth Century could, and did, become livid at the reintroduction of these same heresies, Arianism and Pelagianism; anything that denied the Real Presence of Christ no matter how innocently it was introduced.

Ecclesiastes (1:9) is quite true when studying church doctrine and heresy, "There is nothing new under the sun:'

The Nicene version of the Faith delivered to the Saints" by the Apostles then would; - -

I) speak of the inviolate unity of the Trinity, the three natures of the Godhead

A. God as creator and Father - ever present.

B. Jesus Christ as the only true Son both human AND divine.

C. Offer certain key biographical material about Jesus Christ

- virgin birth by the Holy Spirit
- real suffering wider Pontius Pilot
- actual death. and burial
- bodily resurrection after three days
- descensus ad infero (His visiting of Hell)
- the ascension
- His role as righteous judge of all.

D. Of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost the promised Comforter

- who calls, gathers and enlightens the Church
- and who is of one substance with the Father and the Son
- the assurer of eternal life as the natural gift of the good or right Confession' with the Father and the Son.

Next there is the Athanasian creed much preferred by Luther and hardly known to most Christians. Nearly ten times the length of the Apostles Creed, and written by St. Athanasius against the Arians, it leaves no doubt as to the 'unlimited" natures of the persons of the Trinity nor of their coequality, nor indeed of their Unity, It also leaves no doubt as to the resurrection of the body, of the believer and of the certainty of righteous judgment in assuring this promised LIFE which the confessor has with the LIVING GOD IN JESUS CHRIST.

When one appreciates the battle that Luther was fighting in "contending for the Faith delivered to the Saints (that phrase again from Jude) we can see why be preferred its unequivocal style.

If we think that the 'cafeteria type of confession' where one chooses 'this' belief and rejects that one - is new. We are inistaken! This has been with us from the beginning. St. Thomas could not choose the real presence of the physical resurrection apparently for one whole week until he confessed, "My Lord and my God!

Two of the entrees of the Creeds most left off the 'plate' of those who would be Christian have been the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. In both cases such a rejection calls into question the unlimited power of the Living God as defined by the Creeds as well as the Confessions of Mary and the Apostles. They definitely wanted both of these issues delivered to the saints because the apostles and disciples knew them to be integrally true and vitally important to the Confession of the true Faith.

The TE DEUM LA UDAM US is presently a part of the Matins Service (and found on page 133 & 134 of the Red Book - Service Book and Hymnal) but it is the 'Father of all Christian Praise Hymns' and unknown as to point of origin. It may be as early as the middle of the Second Century (A.D.) fitting as it does - so well into recitable (singable) liturgy, it is quite natural to think that its original purpose was just that, liturgical. The Te Deum Laudamus, "We Praise Thee 0 Lord is as beautiful as it is priceless an incomparable jewel of our Confessional heritage, which has assisted countless believers in their own confession in singing or chant, or spoken form. [As you can tell - it is a personal favorite!]

One of the attributes which might place the Te Deum so very early is the lack of the development of any doctrine of the Holy Ghost. Indeed some think that although the Holy Ghost was integrally a part of First and Second Century Christian belief, that the doctrinal maturation had not yet developed. If that IS so then the Te Deum could predate the Apostle's Creed in its present form. One phrase, Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter" comprises the only mention of the Comforter promised by Our Lord.

This has influenced many liturgies, canticles, hymns and prayers down through the centuries. Two examples exist in the Service Book and Hymnal, Hymn #415 to the tune "Mendon" which comes from a Latin text from the time of the origin of the Nicean Creed - or the fourth or fifth century is of course the oldest. It is interesting that the 'finger print' of the Te Deum is very hard to deny and that there is NO mention of the Holy Ghost NOR The Father.

Hymn #167 "Holy God We Praise Thy Name is sung to the tune - Te Deum making its association with same definite, if not in the words. Both words AND music are traceable only to the 1700's and possibly from a Catholic chant style melody, originally. Notice that, except for a Doxology type last stanza, no mention of the Holy Ghost is made. In both hymns the lifting praise lines with the powerful cloud of witnesses named in order within the "Confessional House" of the true Church are stunning in its presentation. What great hymns they truly are! {Unfortunately, like the German Hymn, Alien Gott, they are seldom sung today.}

Which brings us to the mention of this hymn, Luther's great hymn based upon the Nicean Creed, "We All Believe In One True God" (Alien Gott) with a stanza for each PERSONA of the Trinity and often used, since the time that Luther wrote it, in the liturgy often with the verses separated by liturgical text, Kyrie and the like. Meiclior Vulpius provided a solid melody line a half century after Luther's death which was its best known accompaniment. (Incidental to this is the fact that Luther had a fantastic gift for putting doctrine to music, he was a GREAT hymn writer and indeed a musician. In one place in his writings Luther concludes that a sound education in music should be one of the prerequisites for any pastor.)

Quite another archaic Christian gem came fully to light only a little over a century ago, the DIDACHE, or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Showing little if any of the effects of St. Paul's doctrinal influence it likely was a Catechism for what became the Eastern Church. It bears interesting and unique illustrative materials. In one place it speaks of gathering the broken bread scattered from the hills as a figure of unifying the Church.

But in two separate places the Didache stresses the supremely important act of Confession in the Church so that the worship might be pure." Some would date this document which bad been known in a fragmentary way (before the full text was discovered in 1873) as early as pre - 50 A.D., while others would push it back to 300 AD. Likely the written form found in the last century was probably formulated no later than 150 AD.

To see the strong Confessional element there makes a telling point for its influence and importance.

We have not even mentioned the Confessions within the Scriptural record itself and their importance on the material of later Christian confessions.

The four most important, came from the first two chapter of Luke's Gospel; as Luke had knowledge of them through interview;   1) The Magnificat of Mary Luke 1:46-55 (page 144 SBH)

2) The Confession of Zechariah,The Benedictus, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel"   (Luke 1:68-79). The words for which (in part) he was later martyred. (page 136 SBH)

3) The Confession of Elizabeth (Sometimes known as the words of the Rosary after its Roman Catholic usage). (Luke 1:42-45)

4) The Blessing or Confession of Sirneon or The NUNC DIMITTIS - Luke 2:29-32. pages 13 and 145 SBH to name two)

All of these are remarkable, but overtime, have been taken for granted.' Yet each, has that firm quality of the Father bearing witness with these four strong Confessors of the Faith.

Martin Luther only increased in his certainty of the Real Presence of Christ in Communion - the Sacrament of the Altar. Most remember from Confirmation his careful use of the prepositions; That Christ is truly present in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine, and therefore gives Himself to all in the (His) Real Presence.

The act of carving "this is My Body" into the top of the table is legendary, as Luther insisted to a wavering Zwingli, the Sacrament of the Altar could not be just a memorial and have any effect. Not only did he disagree with any who denied the doctrine of the Real Presence, Luther considered its denial one of the truly destructive heresies to the Church and proper confession

How will he who refuses to believe the Article on the Lord's Supper" within the Church's Confessions, which means as the context shows, the article of faith contained in the Words of institution concerning the oral earing and drinking of Christs true Body and Blood, still believe the article on the humanity and divinity in the one Person of Christ?

(He wrote this in 1544, just months before his death!)

Confession and his own personal confession meant nothing if it was not tied to the real presence of Christ. Wasn't Peters and Thomas' and Martha's confessions made real by seeing the Lord face to face? Wasn't His message through Thomas to believe, truly believe even if one did not see face to face? And was this Not possible if one could not believe Christ to be truly present? And does He not say to us all, "Thus IS MY BODY!"? Here and Now!

But Luther's own Confession had been written in the strongest of terms much earlier in 1529, in this introduction to the Schwabach Articles, "Since I see - sects and errors increase, and that there is no end to the rage and fury of Satan, in order that henceforth during my life or after my death some of them 'nay not, in the future, support themselves by me, and falsely quote my writings to strengthen their error as the sacramentarians and Anabaptists begin to do, I mean by this writing to confess my faith, point by point, before God and all the world, in which I intent to abide until my death, and therein [so help me God! to depart from this world, and to appear before the judgement-seat of Jesus Christ

Dr. Herman Sasse in his book "This Is My Body" concludes in this way;

"A confession solemnly made by a church, and even by an individual Christian, has an amazing power of survival. If even the great heresies of the past reappear time and again, either openly or in disguise, how much more is this true of the great truths confessed by the Church of Christ! There will be old and new forms of Arianism, of Pelagianism, of the denial of the Real Presence in the Lord's Supper - to mention only a few great heresies - until the Last Judgment. But there will also be confessors of the Homoousios (divine substance) of the sola gratia (grace alone) and the sola fide (faith alone) of the Real Presence, until the Last Day. The true confession is NEVER man made. It is our Lord Himself who asked his adversaries the question: "What do you think of Christ? Whose son is he? It was he himself who put the question to his disciples: "Who do you say that I am? It is He who demands the confession of faith. Wherever the Gospel is preached, the question arises out of this Gospel: Who is He? The confession is the answer to the question contained in God's word. But the (true) confession - like that of Peter, is given by God, as Jesus said to this first confessor of the church, "Flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

CONFESSION grows from ten words to 636 pages (Lutheran) because of faithfulness to Christ in every detail and the defending of the Gospel in every way, against all simple and innocent or complex and slanderous attacks - until we can say again, "My Lord and My God!"

"You are the CHRIST the Son of the Living God!"