1 YEA, as I live, Jehovah saith,
I do not wish the sinner's death.
But that he turn from error's ways,
Repent and live through endless days.
2 Hence Christ, His foll'wers gave command:
Go forth and preach in every land;
Pardon to every soul extend
That mourns, believes, and will amend.
3 Whose sins soever ye remit,
I truly pardon and acquit;
Whose sins soever ye retain,
Condemned and guilty shall remain.
4 What ye shall bind, that bound shall be;
What ye shall loose, that shall be free;
Too all alike the keys are given
To ope and close the gates of heaven.
5 They who believe, when ye proclaim
The joyful tidings in my name,
That I for them my blood have shed,
Are free from guilt and judgment dread.
6 The words which absolution give
Are His who died that we might live;
The minister whom Christ has sent
Is but His humble instrument.
7 However great our sin may be,
The absolution sets us free,
Appointed by God's own dear Son
To bring the pardon He has won.
8 When ministers lay on their hands,
Absolved by Christ the sinner stands;
He who by grace the Word believes
The purchase of His blood receives.
9 This is the power of holy keys,
It binds and doth again release;
The Church retains them at her side,
Our mother and Christ's holy bride.
10 Let those who stings of conscience bear,
Whom sin would drive to dark despair,
To Jesus come with trustful mind
And peace in absolution find.
11 All praise, Eternal Son, to Thee
For absolution full and free,
In which Thou showest forth Thy grace;
From false indulgence guard our race.
12 Praise God, the Father and the Son
And Holy Spirit, Three in One,
As 'twas, is now, and so shall be,
World without end, eternally!
Source: Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-book #426