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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Let any one of our opponents come forward and tell us when the forgiveness of sins takes place. O good God, what darkness there is! They wonder whether it is in attrition or in contrition that forgiveness of sins occurs. If it happens because of contrition, what need is there of absolution? What does the power of the keys effect if sins have already been forgiven? They labor here even more, wickedly reducing the power of the keys.
Pulling It Together
Around the time of the Reformation, there was endless quibbling in the Church about how and when things happened. In this case, the debate was about whether the remission of sins occurred as a result of attrition or contrition. Did forgiveness happen when persons were sorry because they feared God (attrition) or because they loved God (contrition)?
We should both fear and love God. So, let us simplify the argument over attrition or contrition by simply speaking of repentance. Repentance happens when the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to convict us of sin. Because we fear and love God, we are led by his Spirit to turn away from sin or to repent, and to request God’s forgiveness. But it does not end there.
We must also trust him. “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” (Small Catechism) Repentance can easily become a work of the flesh that simply tries harder to be good. So we confess that faith must be added so that the gospel may be put to its proper use. Faith permits us to depend upon God alone. Hear the great power in the Keys! You ask God’s forgiveness and hear his forgiveness announced to you in the name of the Holy Trinity. What did you do to obtain that forgiveness?
You feared. You loved. And you trusted.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, allow me at the last to trust in Christ alone. Amen.
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All God’s Critters (unit 1 of 3) is a Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.
The All God’s Critters curriculum is fully reproducible and is designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches in mind. Check out some sample pages by clicking here.