Psalm 51:8. To my hearing Thou wilt give joy and gladness, and the humbled bones will rejoice.
“This is the doctrine for which we bear not only the name “heresy” but punishment, namely, that we attribute everything to hearing or to the Word or to faith in the Word—these are all the same—and not to our works. Yes, in the use of the Sacraments and in confession we teach men to look mainly at the Word, so that we call everything back from our works to the Word. The hearing of gladness is in Baptism, when it is said: ‘I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matt. 28:19); ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved’ (Mark 16:16). The hearing of gladness is in the Lord’s Supper, when it is said, ‘This is My body, which is given for you’ (Luke 22:19). The hearing of gladness is in confession, or, to call it by its more proper name, in absolution and the use of the keys: ‘Have faith. Your sins are forgiven you through the death of Christ.’ Though we urge the people to the Sacraments and to absolution, still we do not teach anything about the worthiness of our work or that it avails by the mere performance of the work, as the papists usually teach about the Lord’s Supper, or rather about their sacrifice. We call men back to the Word so that the chief part of the whole action might be the voice of God itself and the hearing itself” (Luther’s Works, vol. 12, p.369-370).