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Concerning Repentance – part 71
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

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Psalm 143:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Repentance 

We have said why we specify contrition and faith as the two parts of repentance. We have done this more readily because many expressions from the Fathers concerning repentance are published, but which are cited in a mutilated form, that the adversaries have distorted in order to put faith out of sight. For example, repentance is to grieve over past sins, and to not commit sins again that would be lamented. Again, repentance is a kind of retribution of him who grieves by punishing himself for what he is sorry for having committed. No mention is made of faith in these statements, nor in their interpretations do the scholastics add anything about faith.

Pulling It Together: Let us be reasonable. Were we to depend upon our own righteousness and faithfulness, who could survive the wrath of God? They are deluded and arrogant persons who really believe that they are capable of remitting their own sins, and further, to get to a stage of life in which they do not sin any more. Indeed, there is a term for such people: self-righteous. But these persons are not righteous at all. They are sinners of the worst kind: offenders who imagine that they can pay the ultimate fine by committing a greater offense—by thumbing their nose at the Judge of the high court of heaven.

So we confess our complete incapability to save ourselves, to cover our sins, to be faithful, or righteous. We ask for God’s mercy, and expect that he will answer our prayers. We cast ourselves wholly upon the Father’s love. Thanks be to God, who delivers poor sinners like us through Jesus Christ the Lord! Our faith is in him alone. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness to forgive. Amen. 

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Many Gifts, One Lord considers grace in relation to the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to show that the grace of God is free to flow with all those gifts without causing division and disharmoney in the body of Christ. It is interesting that we really never seem to tire of gifts. Sad to say many go through life not even aware that they have specific gifts; which could not only be a blessing to themselves but to others. 

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