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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
The Fathers did not believe that people deserve the forgiveness of sins through such practices or such works. Nevertheless, these spectacles usually lead astray the unwitting to think that by these works they merit the forgiveness of sins before God. But if anyone believes this, he has a Jewish or heathen faith, for even the heathen had certain expiations for sins by which they imagined they were reconciled to God.
Pulling It Together: God’s justice requires the punishment of sin. We either take the punishment or pay the penalty. However, we cannot make restitution. We can neither keep from sinning, nor pay the penalty of that sin (Rom 6:23). All said, we can make no satisfaction for our sins. In other words, we cannot meet the demands of God’s law (Acts 15:10), and therefore, his justice. We must die, for that is the penalty of sin. Jesus Christ, however, has kept God’s law and met his requirements for justice. Those sinners who believe in Christ for forgiveness and eternal life, are no longer condemned by the law.
This means that Jesus Christ’s satisfaction of God’s righteous requirements was so perfect that the law can make no more demands on those who believe in him. There is no longer any more condemnation (Rom 8:1). Let us be clear about this matter. If you commit murder, the law will require your life. Subsequently, you are killed by lethal injection. What can the law require of you now? Nothing. You are dead. Just so, when you were baptized, you were put to death and buried with Christ (Rom 6:4; Col 2:12). You died (Col 3:3), so what satisfaction can the law require of you now?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving me new life in you. Amen.
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