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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction – part 34
Since the cited passages of Scripture do not say that non-mandatory works compensate for eternal punishments, the adversaries are rash in declaring that canonical satisfactions compensate for these punishments. Nor do the keys have the authority to commute some punishments, or likewise, to remit part of the punishments. Where are such things found in Scripture? Christ speaks of the remission of sins when he says, “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt 18:18). In sin being forgiven, eternal death is replaced with eternal life. The words, “whatsoever you bind,” do not mean to impose punishments but to retain the sins of those who are not converted.
Pulling It Together
The commands of God’s Word are not negotiable. We are obliged to obey God. To disobey is to sin. After sinning, we are unable to work off those sins by either deeds or devotion. Yet we can be forgiven of our sins—not by virtue of the things we do, but by the virtue of Christ. Those who have faith that Christ is both just and faithful to forgive them when they confess their sins, have no difficulty believing these words of their pastor: “As an ordained minister of the Church of Christ and by his authority, I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins.” There are no punishments or satisfactions to be imposed. It is the Church’s duty to absolve in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me, a poor sinner. Amen.
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A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. The Leader's Guide that accompanies this study is a resource for those facilitating group discussion, or may serve as a reader's commentary for those who are studying the Book of Concord on their own.