On the Catechism . . .

For the first portion of the Pentecost season, our Catechism focus is on Holy Baptism, for it is in Baptism that the Holy Spirit comes to us, we are born again in Christ, made children of God, and receive all the gifts of God.

What is the Office of the Keys?
The Office of the Keys is the special authority that Christ has given to His Church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent.
Where is this written?
This is what St. John the Evangelist writes in chapter twenty: The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." John 20:22-23

After He has strengthened them in faith in His resurrection through His Word and work, He commits the office of preaching to them and gives them power and authority to remit and retain sins. In this way He indicates what the office of preaching is, namely, an office on which our life and salvation depend. Through the mouth He brings us the Word. He commits the Word to human beings. The Word, even though it is preached through human brings, brings us life and salvation. It is a remarkable office and Word that He here commits to the disciples, and for this reason it should not be lightly esteemed. St. Paul praises the Word of forgiveness of sins in all his Epistles. For him the office of preaching is so precious that he calls it the "Word of reconciliation with God" and " proclamation in the stead of Christ," "a ministry" of the Spirit.

[from "Sermon for Easter Tuesday Morning" [John 20:19-23, March 30, 1529] in
Luther's Works, Vol. 69: Sermons of the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 17-20
© 2009 CPH,  p.352-53]

Saint Athanasius Lutheran Church
Missouri Synod
Church Location: 114 Kingsley Road SW, Vienna, VA  22180
Mailing Address: 3057 Nutley Street Suite 822, Fairfax, VA  22031
703-455-4003                       Rev. James Douthwaite, Pastor