The Case For Evangelical Absolution

Several years ago I served as a youth pastor to an independent liturgical Lutheran church in Fergus Falls, MN.  As a part of my calling I would help lead the worship service and conduct the liturgy.  At the time of this calling I didn't have an appreciation for the liturgy nor did I appreciate the confession of sin and absolution.  Looking back at this worship service I now realize what a gift the confession of sin and absolution was to me and the church body.  So, what is so important about absolution?  What can evangelicalism learn about this sometimes misunderstood practice?  

Absolution would be classified as primary discourse. Primary discourse is essential for the health of the church and should be distinguished from secondary discourse. Secondary discourse are words about God and primary discourse are words from God. I have a great appreciation for the late Gerhard Forde who has helped me understand and distinguish the differences between the two.  
A worship service can be framed in such a manner that secondary discourse dominates the service. This is totally fine, there is nothing wrong with having a worship service with words about God.  However, without having some sort of primary discourse (i.e. Words From God) the worship service will be lacking.  The problem exists when the pastor only talks about the free great treasure of the gospel but then never delivers it or gifts it to the congregation.  Inadvertently a worship service without primary discourse can actually push the congregation towards synergistic tendencies, where they have to seek out and ascend to acquire the gospel, rather than the gospel being delivered to them. Thus, without primary discourse we can frame the gospel within a context of law and works righteousness.
Listen to the differences:
Secondary Discourse: 2000 years ago Jesus Christ Died on the Cross and said, "It is Finished."
Primary Discourse: Jesus Christ Died on the Cross for "You." The atonement speaks to us today saying that your sins are finished, that Jesus absorbed the wrath of God for you and the sting of death is finished for you.  Take and eat; take and drink... the body and blood of Christ are for you, for the forgiveness of your sins.
C.F.W. Walther also hits on this very subject in his book, "The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel."  In one of the chapters he talks about the necessity of the means of grace.  He shares that without the emphasis of the Means of Grace one is left essentially talking about a treasure but not giving the congregation a map or a key to personally possess the treasure. Without primary discourse or the means of grace, people will know a lot about Christ but may not know Christ personally. 
Therefore, as we can see, absolution and primary discourse are needed.  Whether primary discourse happens through a formal absolution or happens within the sermon, it is essential for the congregation to not merely know about God but to know God.  
Christ was crucified in your stead.  He has become your sin bearer and your righteousness.  You have a robe of righteousness, Christ your savior.
For More Reading See The Following:
Theology is For Proclamation Book Review: 
Knowing Christ: