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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction - part 15

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Zechariah 9:11–12

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Confession and Satisfaction 

Our opponents acknowledge that satisfactions are of no profit for the remission of guilt, yet they imagine that satisfactions redeem from the penalty of purgatory or other punishments. They teach that in the remission of sins, God cancels the guilt, yet, because divine justice must punish sin, he commutes eternal punishment into temporal punishment. They further add that a part of this temporal punishment is remitted by the power of the keys, but that the rest is redeemed by means of satisfactions. But it can not be understood what punishments are remitted by the power of the keys, unless they say that part of the punishments of purgatory is remitted. Then it would follow that satisfactions are only punishments that redeem from purgatory. They say that these satisfactions work even though rendered by those who have relapsed into mortal sin, as if those who are in mortal sin could appease the divine displeasure.

Pulling It Together

Guilt and punishment alike are borne by God in Christ alone. We are set free from all bondage—from waterless pits to the depths of hell—because God promised to do so. Those who believe will be saved (Acts 16:31; Rom 3:22). Nowhere does the Scripture put this impossible burden on us. What a pitiless God we believe in if we imagine that we must buy our way out of the pit. So we confess that God is our hope and stronghold; we turn to him alone for rescue from sin and death.

Prayer: Help me to ever trust in you, God. Amen. 

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