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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction - part 50

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1 Peter 1:14–19

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Confession and Satisfaction 

A universal rule does not ensue from the particular punishment imposed on David, nor that, in addition to common afflictions, there is another punishment of purgatory where the degree of punishment corresponds to each sin. Where does Scripture teach that we can be freed from eternal death through the payment of certain punishments in addition to our common afflictions? On the other hand, Scripture frequently teaches that the remission of sins occurs without payments because of Christ, the victor over sin and death. Therefore the merit of satisfaction is not to be patched upon this. Although troubles remain, Scripture interprets these as the mortifications of present sin, not as payment or ransom for eternal death.

Pulling It Together

In the reasoning of God, we are to be holy, yet we are not holy, nor can we become holy, so God makes us holy through Christ. This does not make sense to our natural reason. We think that if someone does something wrong, there should be a penalty. Furthermore, we reason that the offender must pay, not someone else. But this is not God’s way. We cannot pay, so God makes the payment for us. This is why we say that God imputes his own righteousness to us. He paid the penalty and then assigns his holiness to those who believe. There is no payment we need to make—or can make—for our sins.

This is not the same thing as God afflicting us with certain troubles meant to humble and kill, or mortify, our original natures. The old person is being “put to death” (Rom 8:13; Col 3:5) a little each day. Let us be very clear, however; this is not payment for sin but the ongoing renewal of the image of God in us and our preparation for an eternal life of glory (Col 3:4–5).

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for ransoming me from the futility of my old ways. Amen. 

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