“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

We’re familiar with this definition of the word confess. The Divine Service begins with Confession and Absolution. We confess our unworthiness before God routinely, training the self to despise sin, live humbly, and rely on God for mercy.

Only sin is forgiven. Only sinners will go to heaven. “Jesus, Sinners, Doth Receive.” We must confess our sins to God. It’s not possible to believe in God and not to confess sin. This definition of confession is essential. But so is the other churchly definition.


The Sixteenth Sunday After Trinity, 2015
Luke 7:11-17
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

There are two processions: one of life and one of death. When they meet, we behold the whole reason Jesus came to earth—the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

“It was a strange and dreadful strife,” writes Martin Luther, “When life and death contended; The victory remained with life, The reign of death was ended…Death is swallowed up by death, It’s sting is lost forever. Alleluia” (“Christ Jesus Law in Death’s Strong Bands,” stz. 4).

That’s how we should see today’s Gospel lesson. (more…)

Trinity 16, 2016
Luke 7:11-17
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

How does God interact with you?

How does He speak to you?

How do you know what God wants?

What is God’s will for your life?

And are you sure?

These questions all have simple answers, but we turn them into a kind of torture of the soul.