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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Repentance part 62

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2 Corinthians 3:12–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Repentance 

Therefore the teaching of the adversaries that people obtain the remission of sins by their contrition and love, and trust in their own contrition and love, is merely a doctrine of the law. Furthermore, it is misunderstood, just as the Jews looked upon the veiled face of Moses. For let us imagine that love is present, let us imagine that works are present, yet neither love nor works can be a propitiation for sin. They cannot oppose the wrath and judgment of God, according to Psalm 143:2: “Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for no man living is righteous before thee.” Nor should the honor of Christ to be transferred to our works.

Pulling It Together

We cannot read the law with veiled hearts and expect to find the grace of God. All we sense is God’s displeasure. So, we cannot expect the law to come to our rescue. All it will ever do is accuse and condemn, for that is what it was made to do. But when we hear the Scripture with the mind of Christ, we know nothing but grace and peace. We believe that our heavenly Father loves us better than the best father on earth. We are assured by the Holy Spirit that he forgives us because of what his only begotten Son accomplished at Calvary. Knowing this, how could we presume to take his place? Expecting that our own contrition and devotion is required is the same as saying, Step aside, Christ. You made a valiant effort on the cross but it didn’t work. So, I will have to do what you failed to do, and save myself. “God forbid” (Rom 6:15) that we would be so arrogant. Let us then turn to the Lord, instead of to ourselves, so that the veil is removed and, beholding the glory of the Lord, we see clearly and finally that he is our only propitiation.

Prayer: Open my eyes, Lord, that I may behold the beauty of your glory. Amen.

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