Malachi speaks about these sacrifices, "For from the rising of the sun to its setting My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to My name, and a pure offering". The adversaries perversely apply this passage to the Mass and quote the authority of the Fathers. A reply, however, is easy. Even if this passage spoke most particularly about the Mass, it would not make sense that the Mass justifies by the outward act or that, when applied to others, it merits the forgiveness of sins. The prophet says nothing about those things that the monks and philosophers make up. Besides, the very words of the prophet express his meaning. First, his words say this: the name of the Lord will be great. This is accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel. Through this preaching, Christ's name is made known and the Father's mercy, promised in Christ, is recognized. The preaching of the Gospel produces faith in those who receive the Gospel. They call upon God, give thanks to God, bear troubles for their confession, and produce good works for Christ's glory. So the name of the Lord becomes great among the Gentiles. Therefore, incense and a pure offering means not a ceremony by the outward act, but all those sacrifices through which the name of the Lord becomes great: faith, invocation, the preaching of the Gospel, confession, and so on. (paragraphs 31-32)
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.