From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
But Scripture does not teach that eternal punishments are remitted only because of the payment rendered by certain traditions or by purgatory. Indulgences were formerly the pardoning of these public observances, so that people were not excessively burdened. But if human authority can pardon satisfactions and punishments, this compensation is not necessary by divine law, for a divine law is not annulled by human authority. Furthermore, since the custom has become obsolete and the bishops have remained silent, there is no necessity for these remissions. And yet the name “indulgences” remains. Just as “satisfactions” is no longer understood in terms of public discipline, but instead, in reference to the compensation of a punishment, so also “indulgences” is incorrectly understood as the freeing of souls from purgatory.
Pulling It Together
Where is it written? Where do the Scriptures teach that we pay the price of freedom from eternal death? How do our punishments replace the excelling merit of Christ’s satisfaction for sin? In fact, Scripture teaches us that the forgiveness of sins occurs without such payments, because of Christ—and only on his account. Human traditions and customs of churches must never be allowed to supplant the Word of God. And there is nothing clearer in all of Scripture than this: Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead so that those who believe will be resurrected to eternal life.
Prayer: Thank you for giving me faith in you, God. Amen.
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