The “Contrition” That Is Nowadays Said to Precede Faith and to Be Followed by the Consolation of the Gospel Is Not Repentance (Continued)

The next step in these considerations is as follows. Since this contrition is not the same as repentance, Is it of any value? We are told that it contributes to our faith as a prerequisite to what follows, although it does not mix together with, join, or become part of that faith. But the faith that follows it is the belief that God the Father assigns us the justice acquired by his Son, and then (even though we are not actually aware that we have any sin) he declares us just, new, and holy, and puts a robe on us that has been washed and made white by the blood of the Lamb [Revelation 7:14]. When we walk in that robe, what are the evils that are in our lives but sulfurous stones thrown into the depths of the sea? What then is Adam’s sin but something that has been covered over, removed, or taken away by the assignment to us of Christ’s justice?

When we walk along holding our belief in the justice and also the innocence of God the Savior, what then is that feeling of contrition good for if not for giving us confidence that we are safe in Abraham’s embrace [Luke 16:22] and can therefore regard those who do not yet feel contrition or have faith as wretched inhabitants of hell or as dead people? They say that there is no living faith in those who lack contrition. To that one could add that if they immersed themselves now and then in damnable evils, they would not feel them or pay them attention any more than piglets lying in a filthy gutter notice the stench. From these points it is clear that this contrition, as long as it is not repentance, is not actually anything.

from True Christianity, Section 514

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