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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
But they object that it is compatible with Gods justice to punish sin. He certainly punishes it in these terrors of contrition when he shows his wrath. This is what David demonstrates when he prays, “ O Lord, rebuke me not in thy anger” (Psa 6:1). And Jeremiah says, “Correct me, O LORD, but in just measure; not in thy anger, lest thou bring me to nothing” (Jer 10:24). Here indeed, the most bitter punishments are uttered. Our opponents acknowledge that contrition can be so great that satisfaction is not required. Therefore, contrition is a truer punishment than satisfactions.
Pulling It Together
The human heart that is heartily sorry always turns to God. But when we are not really contrite, we seek human remedies to our guilt. The truly contrite person is so buried in spiritual remorse that there is nothing left but to depend upon God’s mercy. He no longer depends upon works of penitence, knowing that he cannot do anything but to cry out in trust to God who loves and forgives sinners in their sorrows.
Prayer: Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am a sinner in need of your mercy. Amen.
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