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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Repentance part 34

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Hebrews 9:11–15

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Repentance 

Because the Confutation condemns us for having assigned these two parts to repentance, we must show that Scripture expresses these as the chief parts in repentance or conversion. Christ says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). There are two parts here. The labor and the burden signify the contrition, anxiety, and terrors of sin and of death, while coming to Christ is believing that sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. When we believe, the Holy Spirit quickens our hearts through the Word of Christ.

Pulling It Together

To think of repentance in terms of contrition alone is to act in accordance with the law. This is unstable ground since it depends so much upon the person who is sorry for their sin. Whereas a truly contrite person is heartily sorry for their sin, how does one know the degree of their sorrow? So, Lutherans confess that faith must be added to contrition so that one may be at peace before God. We teach that there is a new covenant, not based upon sacrifices (Exod 24:8) but, founded upon the blood of Christ. We have faith that Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world is what satisfies God. Thus we are no longer sorry, then offering sacrifices and other works of the law. Rather, we are sorry and then have faith in Christ.

Prayer: Thank you, eternal Spirit, for the promise of a heavenly inheritance through faith in the mediator of the new covenant. Amen. 

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