Kolb, Robert. The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000.
Augsburg Confession XIII, “Concerning the Use of Sacraments” p. 48.
Apology to the Augsburg Confession XIII “The Number and Use of the Sacraments” pp. 219-223.
Article 13 of the Augsburg Confession discusses the reason sacraments are used. First, they are used as outward identification of Christian. Second, they are received by faith and serve to strengthen faith. The sacraments do not justify without faith (Kolb 2000, 48).
The Apology for article 13 responds to the Confutation, which insists on seven sacraments (Kolb 2000, 219). Melanchthon observes that a numbering of sacraments may change dependent on the way a division of rites is passed down and how a sacrament is defined. “If we define the sacraments as rites, which have the command of God and to which the promise of grace has been added, it is easy to determine what the sacraments are, properly speaking” (Kolb 20000, 220). The Sacraments are then defined as baptism, communion, and absolution (Kolb 2000, 220). The sacrament is seen as effective in the same way the Word of God is. As the Word is heard and creates faith, the Sacrament is seen and creates faith (Kolb 2000, 220). Melanchthon eliminates the remaining sacraments of the Roman church, saying they do not fit his definition of a sacrament. Confirmation and extreme unction are not commanded by God. The priesthood in Rome is akin to the Levitical priesthood, which was fulfilled in Christ (Kolb 2000, 221). Marriage, though it has God’s command, never promises forgiveness (Kolb 2000, 222) so it is not a sacrament.
Melanchthon emphasizes that the sacraments must be received by faith. The acts themselves are promises but must be received by faith or they are invalid (Kolb 2000, 222).