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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
Moreover, a part of Lombard’s declaration about remitting a part of the punishments referred to canonical punishments, which the pastors remitted in part. We hold that repentance ought to bring forth good fruits for the sake of God’s glory and command. The good fruits of true fasting, prayer, and charity are commands of God. Yet we do not find anywhere in the Holy Scriptures where eternal punishments are not remitted except because of the punishment of purgatory or canonical satisfactions, that is, by non-mandatory works, or that the authority of the keys has the command to commute or to remit a portion of punishments. The adversaries would need to prove these things.
Pulling It Together: Do good works because God commands them to be done and because they bring him glory. But never hold the delusion that by doing good works, your sins will be forgiven or you will go to heaven. This is an almost irrelevant conversation. For those who truly repent will bear good fruits, since this is simply the result of the Holy Spirit at work within them. For example, the good fruit of true patience toward difficult people is nothing that persons muster the ability to accomplish. If they could, it would bring God no glory, and therefore, not be much good at all. But if you have been walking with the Lord for a while, you will notice changes in your character and actions that you did not produce. This is God at work within you, bringing you to maturity in Christ (Eph 4:13). But such good works—any works at all—are not so-called satisfactions that reduce temporal punishments or time in a purgatory.
Prayer: Bring me in step with you, Holy Spirit. Amen.
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