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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Repentance part 35

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Mark 1:14–15

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Repentance 

There are here, therefore, these two chief parts: contrition and faith. Christ says, “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) In the first part, he convicts of sins; in the latter he consoles us, and shows the forgiveness of sins. For to believe the gospel is not that general belief which demons also have, but in the proper sense, to believe that the forgiveness of sins has been granted for Christ’s sake. For this is revealed in the gospel. You see also here that the two parts are connected: contrition when sins are rebuked, and faith, when it is said, “Believe in the gospel.” If any one should say here that Christ also includes the fruits of repentance or the entire new life, we shall not dissent. For this satisfies us, that contrition and faith are named as the chief parts.

Pulling It Together

It is not enough to only believe the history of the gospel. One must have faith in the one who is the incarnate gospel. One must trust in Christ for the remission of sins. James tells us that even the demons believed and were afraid (James 2:19). But faith does more than fear; it also loves and trusts God. We confess then, that because we fear, love, and trust God, we repent by first, being sorry for our sins, and then, having faith that God will forgive us for Christ’s sake. This is the promise of the gospel.

Prayer: I believe in your promise of forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and place all my trust in you, Lord. Amen. 

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For centuries, the apostle Paul's letters have instructed Christians in the faith. His epistles teach us right theology, remind us repeatedly of the centraility of the good news of God's grace expressed best in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and relentlessly encourage us to follow and serve our God with passion. The Letters of Paul in Sola's "Old Places, New Faces" series looks at all but one of Paul's thirteen epistles and seeks to get at the heart of each one so that his message can inspire new hope, faith and love in us today.


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