From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
It was imagined that such humility would certainly earn grace before God. Yet here also, there was neither faith nor Christ. The righteousness in absolution was not declared, for consolation depended on the enumeration of sins and self-abasement. We cannot recount all the torture, misconduct, and idolatry such confession has produced.
Pulling It Together: God does not base his forgiveness of our sin on human effort or religious devotion. Rather, God has forgiven all our sin from the earliest day until the present. Why has he been so merciful toward us, we may ask, knowing full well that we are sinners? He loves us with this merciful, forgiving grace because of his own goodness—not our goodness. If forgiveness depended on our goodness, we would despair at our unrighteousness and be utterly lost. Because it depends upon his goodness, we may be at peace, knowing that we are absolutely righteous (2 Cor 5:21) for Christ’s sake—because of his goodness instead of our own.
Prayer: Forgive me, O Lord, for the sake of your goodness. Amen.
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