From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
The scholastic theologians break down repentance into three parts: contrition, confession, and satisfaction. To these they add the consolation and promise that if someone truly repents, confesses, and renders satisfaction, he has earned forgiveness of sins, and paid for them before God. Therefore, in their doctrine of repentance they instruct people to place confidence in their own works. This is where the expression comes from that is used in the pulpit when public absolution was announced to the people: “Prolong my life, O God, until I make satisfaction for my sins and amend my life.”
Pulling It Together: I do not need to earn my salvation or prove, somehow, that I will do better. God is not subordinate to my actions, as though I need to do anything for him to be disposed to me in a favorable way. God is merciful to me for Christ’s sake, not for the sake of my religious acts of penance or devotion.
Nevertheless, I am nearly crushed by the weight of my sin. I know fully well that I am a sinner, but I also know something else, something far more wondrous. I know that my Redeemer lives. So, I will set my faith in him against all my sin and against all the accusations of the law. God does what he promises, and his Redeemer Christ is the fulfillment of his promise. I and my religious posturing are not.
Prayer: I put all my trust in you, Lord. Amen.
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The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Dr. Steven E. King, is a work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.
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