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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
But let us dismiss such matters as these. The Psalms mention confession at different times, such as, “I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin” (Psa 32:5). Such confession of sin, which is made to God, is itself contrition. For when confession is made to God, it must be made with the heart and not with the voice alone, as is made on the stage by actors. Therefore, such confession is contrition. Feeling God’s wrath, we confess that God is justly angry, and that he cannot be appeased by our works. Nevertheless, we seek mercy because of God’s promise.
Pulling It Together: We are in bondage to sin, just as the ancient Israelites were enslaved to the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. We can no more free ourselves than they could. Yet we can appeal to God’s mercy, based upon both his promise and his character. The first commandment reminds us that God rescues his people from bondage. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exod 20:2). His word also makes promises that we may rely upon. He will not forget his covenant, so we may have faith in the merciful God.
Therefore, we depend upon his forgiveness of, and freedom from, sin. Does this mean that you will not sin? No. It means that when you do sin, you need not remain imprisoned by guilt. So you should not seek a human remedy through such things as good works. Instead, you should confess your sin with soul and voice, assured of God’s forgiveness for Christ’s sake—the divine remedy. For he is the Lord our God, who brought us out of the land of sin, and out of the bondsman’s house.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that though I am a disobedient sinner, you love and forgive me, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
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