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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Only By Faith in Christ


We repeat: only faith in the Vicarious Satisfaction can remove man’s consciousness of guilt. The sense of guilt in man’s heart is a frightful reality. Back of it is the full weight of divine justice and holiness: “Ye shall be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” “Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them.” No human argumentation can dissolve this stern indictment. As the Rocky Mountains and the Himalayas will never be dislodged by the skill and ingenuity of any human engineers, so no human endeavor will ever invalidate the handwriting against us, the voice of our accusing conscience being the voice of the legistative and retributive justice of God. Our sense of guilt can be removed only by faith in Christ, who nailed the handwriting of our guilt to the Cross. By creating faith in the vicarious satisfaction of Christ, the Holy Ghost replaces the divine verdict of condemnation in our hearts with the divine verdict of pardon. Declaring the condemnatory verdict of the conscience to be illusory or attempting to quiet it by calling upon man to transform himself, to permit himself to be ingrafted into Christ by renewal and sanctification, is a theological puerility; men are thereby deceiving themselves and the world.

Only faith in the satisfactio vicaria will give the troubled conscience rest.

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, Vol. II. Concordia Publishing House, 1951. pp. 369-370

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