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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
We remove from contrition those idle and infinite discussions, as to when we grieve because of the love of God, and when because of the fear of punishment. But we say that contrition is the true terror of conscience that perceives God is angry with sin, and that grieves that it has sinned. This contrition takes place when sins are censured by the Word of God. For the sum of the preaching of the gospel is to convict of sin, to offer the forgiveness of sins and righteousness for Christ’s sake, to give the Holy Spirit and eternal life, and to lead regenerated people to do good works. Christ summarizes the gospel in this way when he says “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:47).
Pulling It Together
It is easy enough to get caught up in useless babbling about when contrition takes place, or whether sorrow stems from the correct attitude. Simply stated, contrition is when a person, because of love or fear, stops defending sin and confesses it instead. But repentance has not yet occurred, for contrition is only the beginning of true penitence. Since we confess that one should fear, love, and trust God, faith in his forgiveness must follow sorrow. We do not only have faith in God’s forgiveness, but also trust that he has granted the Holy Spirit who will renew us and lead us to delight in his will and to walk in his ways.
Prayer: Forgive me, a poor sinner, and grant me the power and guidance of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Genesis in Sola's "Old Places, New Faces" series is twelve studies that make Bible stories come alive for today's Christian. In the Bible we find God's people in many different places, both physically and spiritually, in their relationship to the Creator and Savior. We, like them, journey through many lands in our Christian walk. We move from chaos to order, from Ur to Canaan, and from obedience to disobedience. As we become more acquainted with our spiritual geography, we will better discern where God would have us go or what changes we need to make in order to serve Him better.