The Synod adopted these theses in 1874. For more information, see ”Grace for Grace” p. 156 and following.
1. The Absolution which in accordance with God’s command and in His name is declared unto those who request the comfort of the Gospel is God’s own absolving act through the ministry of the word.
2. In Absolution God declares unto the sinner the gracious forgiveness of all his sins as a gift of grace and reconciliation which is established and earned by the merit of Christ’s blood and laid down for reception in the gracious promise of the Gospel.
3. The means whereby the sinner accepts, appropriates and thus becomes a partaker of the gift and treasure of the forgiveness of sins, which is presented, declared and given by God in the Absolution, is faith.
4. The Absolution itself is always a real and valid absolution of God, although it does not benefit without faith, and although an unrepentant and unbelieving hypocrite does not thus become a partaker of the gift of the forgiveness of sins which is declared unto him.
5. When it is said in accordance with church linguistic usage, and that rightly, that only the penitent shall be absolved, this does not imply that the administrators of the office of the keys can know the hearts and pass judgment on the spiritual condition of the church members who confess their sins; but it means only that it is their duty conscientiously to observe the confession by word and life of these members, so that they do not give that which is holy unto the dogs nor cast pearls before swine. (Matthew 7, 6.)