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1 John 4:9–10
From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
The doctrine concerning faith must be retained, that by faith we obtain remission of sins for Christ's sake—not for the sake of our works that precede or follow. This is why we have especially discussed the question of satisfactions, because in submitting to them the righteousness of faith is obscured, and people think that they obtain forgiveness of sins for the sake of these works. This error is assisted by many sayings that are current in the schools, such as their definition of “satisfaction”: that it is done to appease the divine displeasure.
Pulling It Together
It bears repeating: our love, devotion, good works, and religious activities do not satisfy God’s justice. Only God’s Son propitiates, appeases, or satisfies God’s just demand for holiness. Through faith in Christ, we are credited with righteous (Rom 4:24; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:6; Phil 3:9). We are given the righteous of Christ through faith in him (Rom 3:22). Our love for each other and for God is not a saving devotion. Real love, saving love, is that God loved us before we ever had a thought for him, and sent his Son to be the perfect and final satisfaction for our sins—and not only for ours, but for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2).
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for satisfying your Father’s righteous demands so that I may enjoy your company forever. Amen.
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This pocket edition of Luther's Small Catechism includes quotations from the English Standard Versions (ESV) of Scripture, and the traditional ICET liturgical texts (as used in the Lutheran Book of Worship). The primary verses of Scripture, Creed, and Prayers are printed in italics; Luther’s explanations are printed in plain text. Luther’s explanations are formatted with a mid-sentence break, to highlight contrasting phrases and to aid in memorization.