From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
As we have said above, the Fathers’ reference to satisfaction, and the framing of canons by the councils, was a matter of church discipline instituted for the sake of example. They did not hold that this discipline was necessary for the remission either of the guilt or of the punishment. Their mention of purgatory is not as compensation for eternal punishment, nor as satisfaction, but as purification of imperfect souls. Augustine also says that venial offenses are consumed, that is, that distrust towards God, and similar dispositions are mortified.
Pulling It Together: Although it is scornful topic in some circles, it has long been known that sparing the rod creates spoiled brats (Pro 13:24). Just like good, earthly parents, God sometimes punishes us so that we will not spoil. Sin, not dealt with, produces a peculiar, spiritual stink that even transfers to other parts of one’s life. Our Father deals with us accordingly, so that through these mortifications of the flesh, the imperfections of our original nature do not spoil his children. His loving discipline should not, however, be misconstrued to mean that our sins are forgiven or that we are justified through these corrections. We are saved through Christ alone.
Prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O Lord. Amen.
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