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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Repentance part 16

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Romans 4:20–25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Repentance 

IV. That we obtain remission of sins because of contrition, not by faith in Christ.

Pulling It Together

Contrition is also insufficient to merit the forgiveness of sins. Being sorry for sin (attrition) and then doing something that would balance the scale of one’s righteousness before God (contrition), each or together exclude the merits of Christ. We cannot balance the scales; and we need not balance them. The scales are already balanced by Jesus. He has earned righteousness and remission of sin for us, since we cannot (Rom 8:3). Nevertheless, God has called us to lead holy lives. Christ “has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Tim 1:9, NIV). It is by faith that we are counted as righteous before God. So we confess that our holiness, our works of contrition, is insufficient for the remission of sins, while faith in Christ merits forgiveness of sin by “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Rom 3:22).

Prayer: When I doubt, Lord, help me trust in your promises. Amen. 

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