A sensitive child of God might at times be overcome with his own sinful nature and in his depression long for the days before his conversion when he enjoyed the acceptance and favor of the world. The Lord, knowing our weakness, comes to us to feed us with the Bread of Life and enliven us with His forgiveness. To maintain our spiritual life we will have to return again and again to feast on the Bread of Life.
Christ instituted the Sacrament to enliven terrified hearts, since He commanded the disciples to do this in remembrance of Him. Remembering Christ is not the useless celebration. It is not something set up for the sake of example, as the memory of Hercules is celebrated. Rather, it is remembering Christ's benefits and receiving them through faith, to be enlivened by them. So Psalm 111:4-5 says, "He has caused His wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear Him." The Sacrament illustrates that God's will and mercy should be discerned in the ceremony. Faith that grasps mercy enlivens. This is the chief use of the Sacrament. Clearly those with terrified consciences are fit for the Sacrament.
The Fathers speak of a twofold effect: the comfort of consciences and thanksgiving, or praise. The former of these effects has to do with the nature of the Sacrament; the latter has to do with the sacrifice. Ambrose says about comfort: Go to Him and be absolved, because He is the forgiveness of sins. Do you ask who He is? Hear Him when He says, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35).
This passage declares that the forgiveness of sins is offered in the Sacrament. (paragraphs 71-73, 75)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.