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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
The third act remains, concerning satisfactions, which contains the most confused discussions. They imagine that eternal punishments are commuted to punishments of purgatory, and teach that a part of these is forgiven by the power of the keys, and part is to be redeemed by means of satisfactions. They further add that satisfactions ought to be works of supererogation consisting of the most foolish observances such as pilgrimages, rosaries, or similar observances that do not have the command of God. Then, just as they redeem purgatory by means of satisfactions, a scheme of redeeming satisfactions was devised that was most abundant in revenue. They sell indulgences, which they construe as remissions of satisfactions. This revenue is not only collected from the living, but more amply from the dead. Nor do they redeem the satisfactions of the dead only with indulgences, but also by the sacrifice of the Mass.
Pulling It Together
“We confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves” (Brief Order for Confession and Forgiveness). Christ alone has redeemed us from sin. He has ransomed or freed us from this subjugation. Our redemption is not had by payments of money or by works that satisfy God. He has been appeased or propitiated by the blood of his own dear Son. His blood is the payment, and his sacrifice the work, that sets us free. “In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for [us], and for his sake God forgives [us] all [our] sins” (ibid). “According to the riches of his grace,” and for the sake of his Son, Jesus Christ, God has mercy on us, so that his holy name is glorified. If we were redeemed by our own payments or works of satisfaction, we could boast in ourselves. But it is by grace that we have been saved through faith, so that no one may boast (Eph 2:8–9) except “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14).
Prayer: Thank you, Almighty God, for setting me free through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
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