From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law
So, Peter does not mean that love earns God's forgiveness of sins, that it is a propitiation to the exclusion of Christ as mediator, that it regenerates and justifies. He is teaching that love toward one another is not moody, harsh, or obstinate, that it overlooks some mistakes of its friends, that it takes in stride even the harsher manners of others, just like the well-known expression: “Know, but do not hate, the manners of a friend.” Nor was it without design that the apostle taught so frequently concerning this duty that the philosophers call epiekeia, or leniency. For this virtue is necessary for harmony, which cannot last unless pastors and churches mutually overlook and pardon many things.
Pulling It Together: Presidential pardons, bestowed by outgoing US presidents, are received with gratitude but also sometimes, with irritation by those who disagree with a president’s choices. Nevertheless, the mercy of a ruler is refreshing, according to the proverb. If a president excuses the offenses of some whose crimes we might find unpardonable, we ought to find mercy to overlook the faults and even the outright offenses of the friends of Jesus (John 15:15). This is sensible public decency and promotes concord in Christian fellowship. While our charity ought not to be mistaken as something that justifies us to God, we rejoice with thankfulness that God has covered our own sins. Just so, we ought to pray daily, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
Prayer: Set me free of my debts, God, and empower me to forgive others, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.