From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
The important and beneficial meaning of full repentance, including works due or commanded by God should not be transferred to satisfactions and works of human traditions. It is profitable to teach that common evils are mitigated by our repentance and by the true fruits of repentance, by good works wrought from faith, not, as these men imagine, works performed in mortal sin. This is illustrated by the Ninevites, who through their repentance were reconciled to God, and obtained his favor, so that their city was not destroyed (Jon 3:10).
Pulling It Together: When a child says, “I’m sorry,” sometimes a parent responds, “Then act like it.” This is no different than the relationship that a child of God has with the Father. He expects us to act like we are truly sorry by turning from our sin. For entire repentance consists both in confession of sin and the good fruits that must follow confession. The final prayer in the service of Confession and Forgiveness sums up, as it should, our position on whole repentance. “Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways...” We ask forgiveness—so that we may walk in his ways. Delighting in his will does not make us righteous, for we are forgiven and empowered to walk in his ways “for the sake of [God’s] Son, Jesus Christ.” Still, God expects us to act like his children by being fully repentant, that is, asking for his mercy, and living the life of righteousness he has given us because of his Son.
Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to turn from every evil way that remains in my old nature, for the glory of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
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