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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
Secondly, the adversaries write that if any one goes to confession but refuses to undertake satisfactions, he does not sin, but will pay the penalties in purgatory. Now the following passages are, without argument, commandments pertaining to this life. “Repent.” “Bear fruit that befits repentance.” “Yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.” These cannot be distorted into satisfactions which one is permitted to refuse, for one is not permitted to refuse God’s commands.
Pulling It Together
When Scripture tells us to repent it is not speaking of something one may do beyond this life. All that goes with repentance is to be done in this life. For “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb 9:27). It will be too late for obedience then. Besides, all of this has been based upon a faulty premise, that assumption being that we can earn forgiveness through acts of penitence. This cannot be done in the afterlife any more than it can be done in this life. It is impossible to merit the remission of sins. To say otherwise is to disregard Christ who died for the sin of the world. It is faith, belief in Jesus Christ as Savior, that saves (John 20:31). Repentance—in this life—is surely commanded, but it is faith in Jesus Christ that justifies and saves to eternal life.
Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to believe. Amen.
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