From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
It is with unthinkable grief that we recite our adversaries’ absurdities. They have to enrage anyone who considers such doctrines of demons which the devil has spread in the Church to suppress the knowledge of the law and gospel, of repentance and quickening, and the benefits of Christ. For they say of the law that God, condescending to our weakness, has given people a standard that they are required to measure up to, namely, the observance of the commandments. Beyond this, from works of supererogation, they can render satisfaction for sins they have committed. These men imagine that we can do more than the law of God requires.
Pulling It Together: There is only one mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5). He has worked beyond the role of intermediary, giving his life as ransom for all who are shackled by sin to death. To then say that Christ is incapable of following through on what Scripture says to be true, amounts to a rejection of the function of both Christ and Scripture. Furthermore, imagining that extra works (supererogation) must be performed in payment for sin, casts aspersion on the character of Christ. Did he promise, or not, to answer our prayers when they are asked within the will of God? Is it a trustworthy saying, or not, that Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15)? So then, if a sinner believes in Christ for eternal life (1 Tim 1:16) and asks for forgiveness, will Christ answer this prayer—or not? Does Christ save—or not? That is the question that the doctrine of supererogation should make everyone ask. Does Christ really save, as he promises, or is life a sort of tag-team match, in which Christ has wrestled Satan to the mat but now it is our turn in the ring, and each believer must somehow pin the devil?
Prayer: Thank you, God, for hearing and answering my prayers. Amen.
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