From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning Confession and Satisfaction
We also say that this is the meaning of John when he says, “Bear fruit that befits repentance” (Matt 3:8), and of Paul when he says, “Yield your members to righteousness for sanctification” (Rom 6:19). He likewise says, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). When Christ says, “Repent” (Matt 4:17), he is certainly speaking of whole repentance, of the entire newness of life and its fruits. He does not speak of those hypocritical satisfactions which the scholastics imagine avail for paying off the punishment of purgatory or other punishments when those satisfactions are made by those who are in mortal sin.
Pulling It Together: We are either slaves to the devil, sin, and death, or to God, righteousness, and life. Whichever we are bonded to will determine the fruit we get. The fruit or the wages of sin is death. The fruit or wages of righteousness is life—eternal life. Be careful! This righteousness is not your own. We have observed many times in these writings that we have no righteousness of our own (Phil 3:9). That is why the apostle declares that eternal life is a free gift, given by the one who is righteous.
Because Christians have been given life, they can be fruit-bearing trees. But this fruit is nothing that they do. Quite the opposite, it is something that is done in them because they have been given life. Observe how a tree produces fruit. It happens because it is designed to bear fruit and because rain falls and sun shines. Just so, Christians are designed to bear good fruit through the life-giving agency of the Holy Spirit.
So we say that there is nothing to offer God for our sins, if we could, that would satisfy him. However, Christ the Righteous has offered himself for us and satisfied God. His righteousness and eternal life are bestowed on those who believe. Since they are now alive, they are able to bear good fruit. Clearly, this fruit is not an offering for sin, since an unforgiven, dead “tree” cannot bear fruit. Good fruit is the result of having been forgiven and made alive.
Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to bear good fruit. Amen.
Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write email@example.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.
The biblical focus in The Adventures of Paul, a five-session VBS book, is on the life of the Apostle Paul, with lessons from the Book of Acts. Here Scripture tells the story of serious man named Saul, who worked to silence Christianity — until the risen Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and changed his life. With his new name Paul, this one who had persecuted the Church went on to become one of the greatest apostles.
Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.
More from the Versatile Budget Series