It’s Friday! That mean s we turn out attention to the Augsburg Confession. Pay careful attention to what the Lutherans confessed, and what the rejected. How many of these differing views of repentance have you known and/seen in your friends, or even yourself? Enjoy!
Collect of the Week
Almighty God, You have built Your Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. Continue to send Your messengers to preserve Your people in true peace that, by the preaching of Your Word, Your Church may be kept free from all harm and danger; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Article XII (Repentance)
1 Our churches teach that there is forgiveness of sins for those who have fallen after Baptism whenever they are converted. 2 The Church ought to impart Absolution to those who return to repentance [Jeremiah 3:12]. 3 Now, strictly speaking, repentance consists of two parts. 4 One part is contrition, that is, terrors striking the conscience through the knowledge of sin. 5 The other part is faith, which is born of the Gospel [Romans 10:17] or the Absolution and believes that for Christ’s sake, sins are forgiven. It comforts the conscience and delivers it from terror. 6 Then good works are bound to follow, which are the fruit of repentance [Galatians 5:22–23].
7 Our churches condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that those who have once been justified can lose the Holy Spirit. 8 They also condemn those who argue that some may reach such a state of perfection in this life that they cannot sin.
9 The Novatians also are condemned, who would not absolve those who had fallen after Baptism, though they returned to repentance.
10 Our churches also reject those who do not teach that forgiveness of sins comes through faith, but command us to merit grace through satisfactions of our own.
They also reject those who teach that it is necessary to perform works of satisfaction, commanded by Church law, in order to remit eternal punishment or the punishment of purgatory.
(Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 38).
The Roman teaching about repentance was the spark that ignited the Lutheran Reformation. When Luther learned his congregational members were buying indulgences, hoping to avert God’s punishment for sins by paying money, he was incensed. Repentance is not about “paying off” God or making some satisfaction for our sin. Repentance is recognizing the reality of our sin and turning to God in faith for His mercy. God reveals our sin through His Law; He forgives our sin and restores us to a right relationship with Him through His Gospel. While we affirm there is fruit of repentance, the focus of the Gospel must be clear: our sins are forgiven only because of Christ. Our lives in Christ are lives of repentance, returning again and again to the fount and source of all mercy, our Savior. Notice that this article rejects any teaching that implies our works of satisfaction are part of true repentance. Article XII strikes a fatal blow at the very heart of the Roman sacramental system. (See also Ap XII; SA III III; Appendix B, An Exhortation to Confession.) (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 36)
Almighty, everlasting God, for our many sins we justly deserve eternal condemnation. In Your mercy You sent Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who won for us forgiveness of sins and everlasting salvation. Grant us a true confession that, dead to sin, we may be raised up by Your life-giving absolution. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may be ever watchful and live true and godly lives in Your service; through Jesus Christ, our Lord (LSB, collect #153).