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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
But let us return to the main point. The Scriptures cited by the adversaries speak in no way of canonical satisfactions or of these opinions of the scholastics, since it is evident that the latter were only recently invented. Therefore it is pure deception when they distort Scripture to suit their own opinions. We say that good fruits, good works in every kind of life, ought to follow repentance, that is, conversion or regeneration. There can be no true conversion or contrition where mortification of the flesh and good fruits do not follow. True terrors, true griefs of the mind, do not allow the body to indulge in sensual pleasures, and true faith is not ungrateful to God, neither does it despise his commandments. In a word, there is no inward repentance unless it also produces outward mortification of the flesh.
Pulling It Together
We are indebted to God in Christ to no longer live in the sin for which he died. This does not mean that we no longer sin, for as long as we are in the flesh of this mortal body, there is sin and death. Therefore, we are to live by the Spirit, even if it seems in fits and starts. When we do sin, we ask for and receive God’s forgiveness. We turn to Christ for justification to God. We do not depend upon our works and devotion for putting to death our sins, or mortifying our deeds of the body. We instead, depend upon God’s grace through Christ and his sacraments (Rom 6:4). So we confess that we are not perfect—yet are perfectly forgiven. Therefore, we attempt to do God’s will, but not in order to be saved. Rather, we seek to do his will because he has already saved us by dying for our sins while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8). The truest and best mortification of sin is when a sinner believes, yet again, in the one who died for sin.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for loving poor sinners like me. Amen.
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