Our wise spirits with their great art and wisdom cry, "How can bread and wine forgive sins or strengthen faith?" They know that we do not say this about bread and wine. But we speak about the bread and wine that is Christ's body and blood and has the words attached to it. That, we say, is truly the treasure—and nothing else—through which such forgiveness is gained. Now the only way this treasure is passed along and made our very own is in the words "Given … and shed for you." For in the words you have both truths, that it is Christ's body and blood, and that it is yours as a treasure and gift. Now Christ's body can never be an unfruitful, empty thing that does or profits nothing. Yet, no matter how great the treasure is in itself, it must be included in the Word and administered to us. Otherwise we would never be able to know or seek it.
It is useless talk when they say that Christ's body and blood are not given and shed for us in the Lord's Supper, so we could not have forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament. Although the work is done and the forgiveness of sins is secured by the cross, it cannot come to us in any other way than through the Word. We know that such a thing was accomplished to be given to us, by preaching the oral Word. How do they know or make the forgiveness their own, unless they believe the Gospel? (paragraphs 28-31)
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.