Efficacy of confession and absolution

Discussion in 'Liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer' started by Rexlion, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am under the impression that the absolution in an Anglican setting (unlike the RCC) is thought to basically be ceremonial, traditional, and a reminder of the forgiveness God has already extended to us by grace at the moment of our new birth. (Whereas the RCC teaches that the absolution is a truly effectual event being at that moment performed.)

    If the Christian is viewed by God as possessing His own perfect righteousness by grace through faith in Christ (2 Cor. 5; Philippians 3), absolution is more symbolic than strictly necessary. There should be no 'spiritual risk' in receiving the elements without a pronouncement of absolution.

    Moreover, 1 Cor. 11 says that to 'receive unworthily' the sacrament was to not recognize its significance (the body and blood of Christ), as opposed to receiving without having confessed one's latest sins.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2020
  2. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Does the BCP not say that priests and Bishops were given the authority to bind and loosen sins?
     
  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That's the evangelical wing of Anglicanism that appeared in the late 19th century. Back then Methodism and revivals seemed like an absolutely unstoppable force swallowing other Christian traditions in their wake. There was a group of Anglican evangelicals who adopted Methodist theology and thus Anglican evangelicalism was born.

    Among its tenets is the belief that everything in Church is merely ceremonial and traditional. To give to the Church an ability to make effectual decisions in the here and now is too dangerous, and anyway unnecessary since revivalism is (was) so successful without it.

    Thus baptism is just a reminder. The Eucharist is just a reminder, right? And so on.

    Traditionally within the BCP itself, we see that the language is very foreign to this way of thinking. "Seeing now that you are regenerate" in the baptismal service has the priest imparting the sacrament of baptism effectually upon the recipient. In holy communion similarly, once the Rite of Communion ends the language speaks of it having been effectual.

    And while I note that the Absolution isn't a sacrament (because not everything has to be), still it is very much seen as effectual in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. (Just as matrimony is effectual.)

    In the Holy Communion liturgy:

    Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them that with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


    In the Morning Prayer / Matins:

    Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins


    In the Visitation of the Sick:

    Our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine offences: And by his authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.


    I don't think it's as simple as that. If it were so, there would be no triumph and success at having a successful death that did not fall away from God. There would be no reason for Paul to celebrate that "I have finished the race" if there's a chance he might not have. There's no reason why Paul would write language like this in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27

    Those who are athletes exercise self-control in everything they do. But they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, whereas we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly, or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, lest despite having preached to others, I myself would become cast away.

    That fear of being cast away from God can be very healthy for Christians, but has become suppressed in modern evangelical theology.



    The text says, to eat it unworthily. If you commit sins, you are a sinner. If you don't commit sins, you are not a sinner. But evangelical theology wants to argue that everyone is a sinner equally, and there's no difference between people who live holily and those who are repulsive reprobates, because ultimately everyone is just a 100% sinner anyway. But that's a rather alien (revivalist) theology. No, the people who live wicked lives are inferior to people who live holily. It is possible for you and I to live holily, and we should strive to do that with God's help. When we fail, we should repent and seek to be absolved which gives us a clean start.

    The mistake Rome made was not, in having the absolution be effectual, but in mandating it to be private. This meant you had all the time in the world, sitting there, under pressure, to dig for every sin you might've left out. It also led to horrid corruptions among the clergy, which is another story.

    This private/public thing is a really big deal.

    The way we avoid scrupulosity in Anglicanism is by the Confession being communal, which means that you don't have a reasonable chance of enumerating all of your sins. I never even try to list all my sins; I have a few big ones which I'm most mindful of, and everything else I just consign to God's charity. It's not at all about listing your sins. And thus we avoid the biggest problem which the Romans constantly run into.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
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  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I beg to differ. I do not think that evangelicals view baptism as "just a reminder." They see it as an ordinance which Christ calls all of his followers to undergo, and as an outward sign of the inward change that took place at the new birth (of course they don't baptize infants, obviously).
    One way to look at that is to see the priest asking God to do things for the gathered people, similar to intercessory private prayer but now in a public setting. Saying aloud, "May God do this, that, and the other thing for you," does not need to be interpreted as a "binding" or a "loosing." In fact, if we are to assume that the priest is exercising authority on God's behalf to pardon all sins of all attendees, this would theoretically obviate the need for them to be born again, wouldn't it? Want to get right with God, just go to mass and get the absolution of your sins, no need to believe anything. I mean, really, there is no caveat in the pronouncement ("This is just for you born-again believers"), so as a general statement to all those within earshot it cannot possibly carry actual power to forgive since some may have not been forgiven (not saved) yet. This shows that the concept of "effectual" absolution power in the pronouncement is contrary to scripture, because no one can pronounce an unredeemed non-believer to be anything other than that.
    Does the existence of the prayer in the BCP produce scripturalness? Are we elevating the BCP above scripture? I should hope not.

    I understand what you're saying, but this is the same Paul who wrote in Romans 8 that those in whom the Holy Spirit lives (born-again believers) are under no condemnation and are free from the law of sin:
    Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death..
    Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
    Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

    It's also the same Paul who wrote in Ephesians 1 that those who have faith in Christ (v.1) are holy and without blame before Him (v.4), are made acceptable (v.6), are in possession of redemption and forgiveness of their sins (v.7) by His grace, and have obtained an inheritance (v.11) of which the indwelling Holy Spirit is the 'earnest'. And if we look at verse 2, doesn't that sound very similar to a pronouncement of absolution? It's the same sort of language:
    Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. But Paul isn't using his authority to grant grace and peace; rather, he is writing his wish and desire for them: "May you have grace and peace from God." Likewise, the pronouncement of the priest is saying, "May you have these things from God."

    Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 are not the only scriptures I could cite here; far from it.

    The danger here is that people may be induced to follow a 'works' theology. The Christian who keeps beating himself up over his sinfulness and fears that he hasn't lived a holy enough life to please God is in danger of trying to earn his salvation. The Christian who thinks he is succeeding in living a good enough life is in the other end of the same boat. And the one who thinks, "I've sinned and therefore I need to get absolution from the priest" has missed the boat!

    I think that scriptural theology here would include the following truths:
    * We all are sinners, and one sin would damn us as readily as a thousand sins
    * We are redeemed by God's grace, not by anything we can do for ourselves or for God
    * Although our lives are in God's hands, we who are His by grace need not fear
    * We tend to still commit sins, but when we do, God gave us a way out of feelings of guilt and self-condemnation (confess and know we are forgiven)
    * When we commit sins, we still should realize that we have been delivered to the utmost from punishment, by Jesus' sacrifice
    * As we strive to avoid sin, we do so out of love for God and others, not because we must get over some hurdle or meet some standard of holiness.

    This is why I believe that the pronouncement of absolution is a symbolic reminder of what Christ has already done for those who trust in Him, and it is an advertisement of the same to those who have not yet come to faith (should they be in attendance), but it is not a literally effectual pronouncement. A Christian does not need further absolution when he's already been completely and effectually absolved by God at the new birth.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but let's look at the text to see what else it says.
    1Co 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
    1Co 11:21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
    1Co 11:22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
    1Co 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
    1Co 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
    1Co 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
    1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
    1Co 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
    1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
    1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.


    The key here is that partaking unworthily lies in "not discerning the Lord's body," wherein one only discerns food for the belly. People have erroneously twisted the "eating and drinking unworthily" to mean "partaking while in a state of sin." This is not what 1 Cor. 11 is telling us, not at all! :no: Therefore, the entire concept that people must repent and be absolved prior to communion is not supported in scripture. (Did Jesus pronounce absolution over the apostles at the Last Supper?) What scripture does support is recognizing that the bread and wine are not mere food for the body.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
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  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    To clarify, lest anyone think that I'm in the 'once saved, always saved' camp, I am not. If a person becomes a Christian through faith in Christ and then later on rejects faith, if he ceases to believe in or rejects Christ's salvation, if he resolves in his mind that he does not want anything to do with God, that person has lost his salvation. In other words, God won't reject one of His own children, but one of us could reject Him and be lost for eternity.

    Commission of sins is not equal to a rejection of God. God knows that we all sin; in fact we're probably sinning ten times a day or more, in our thoughts as well as in our failures to clearly hear & heed the Holy Spirit's ongoing counsel, without even consciously realizing what we're doing. None of that changes how God sees us: as His redeemed children, justified to the utmost by the blood of Jesus Christ. However, willfully and consciously continuing in egregious or overt sins can lead to a hardening of the heart, and potentially the person could become so hardened that he does actually reject God. I think this is why we are counseled in God's word to strive to avoid sins, not so much that the sins themselves immediately imperil our souls but that they are the gateway toward peril. That and, of course, the fact that we should be motivated by our love for God to avoid sin, for we know it is His will to do so.
     
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  7. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Okay but to them the ceremony of baptism does not matter or is connected to that inward change, is it? They’re just two largely unrelated events to them. And it certainly doesn’t cause that change, for to say that would be the epitome of scandal.

    To them all outward action is mere ceremony and symbolism, ie. entirely optional and on a foundational level, irrelevant.


    Of course not! We are merely talking about the different interpretations of Scripture. One interpretation, the evangelical, is new, never heard, and never known until the last second of the Church’s history; among people who are known to breed schism and scandal.

    I don’t doubt the sincerity of their faith, but let’s not confuse sincerity (which is a subjective feeling) with any relation to Truth. There are many sincere mormons, Roman Catholics, jihadist Islamists. Sincerity has zero guarantee of truth.


    I deny that it says that. The sense that we can just open the Scriptures on any page using our corrupted postmodern English and effortlessly self-interpret timeless wisdoms regardless of our intelligence or knowledge, is illusory. The Reformers taught literally the opposite of that, which is why they went through insane lengths to acquire as much learning as possible in order to understand the Scriptures.

    What does St. Augustine and Clement of Alexandria say on Romans 8? That would be more illuminating to me, than what my corrupt softcover postmodern gender-neutral NIV translation says that it says.


    Nobody says that good works can earn you salvation. But it is a manifestly Christian truth that bad works can lose you salvation. That’s what St Paul is talking about there.

    All of his heroic travels and sufferings for the Faith don’t merit salvation; his salvation is a gift and his heroism is but a response to the gift. But if he denied the Faith or if he lived as a reprobate, then he fears that he would be reprobated (disowned by God). And he’s right, he would be, and so would any of us.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2020
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, if you would care to post some pertinent quotes or even links to such writings, it would be interesting to read what they had to say. Let me mention that I'm taking this from the KJV, not some modern paraphrase.
     
  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Stalwart, perhaps you have not understood that we Christians are to put on the whole armor of God?
    Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
    Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
    Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;


    Unless a Christian understands and accepts that God has bestowed His own righteousness upon the believer, that person is missing an important piece of 'protective equipment' and is thus more vulnerable to the enemy's deceptions. The knowledge that God has made us righteous (by grace, through faith in the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice for us) helps us in our daily living, because our enemy seeks to beat us down by making us feel weak, powerless, unworthy, and guilty. Examples: how can we have confidence that God will hear our prayers if we feel like we are filthy sinners, unworthy of His notice? How can we resist temptation if we feel like we're basically scummy sinners? But if we see ourselves as God sees us (in right standing, justified in His sight), we have confidence to go boldly to the throne of grace in time of need, and in the face of temptation we are strengthened by the knowledge that God has given us the ability to resist sin as well as His unconditional vote of confidence.
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Article 11 states:
    "We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deserving. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only..."

    If we are accounted righteous by faith and justified by faith only, then we (having faith in Christ) are already in this condition prior to the absolution pronouncement, and we remain justified in the same measure both during and after the absolution.
    If we are accounted righteous by faith and not by works, then we are not accounted righteous by making public confession or by absolution.

    If we look for a moment at private absolution, we all are familiar with the saying, "All may, some should, none must." If none must confess privately, then it stands to reason that none must confess publicly, either. And if none must, this implies that both confession and absolution are not, strictly speaking, essential to the Christian's right-standing with God; the nature of these things is more declaratory than judicial or effectual. I came across this quote, attributed to Richard Hooker (but I have not confirmed from an original source): "As for the ministerial sentence of private absolution, it can be no more than a declaration what God hath done, it hath but the force of the prophet Nathan's absolution "God hath taken away thy sin", than which construction, especially of words judicial, there is not anything more vulgar." Although this quote pertains to private confession, the implications for public confession (to likewise be a declaration of what God has done) seem rather clear.

    Returning to Article 11, since we are "accounted righteous before God... by faith" it should be fairly plain that God sees us differently than we tend to view ourselves. God the Father sees us as re-created, spiritually renewed, and spotless because our transgressions were nailed to the cross and we have been (spiritually speaking) buried and raised with Christ. Our Father sees us this way because of Christ and because of grace bestowed upon us through faith in Him, and it should cause us to leap for joy when we realize the immense bounty of forgiveness He has heaped upon us in His mercy and love! (Luke 7:47)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2020
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  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I do not believe I'm wrong to be in total agreement with your view here Rexlion. The general confession and absolution in the communion service is not for the benfit of 'believers' who are already living in the faith of Christ's atonement for the sins of the whole world. The general confession and absolution are provided for those in our congregations who lack the faith to believe themselves forgiven and absolved by God every minute of their unbelievably miserable lives.

    The general confession and absolution are nothing more or less than a restatement of The Gospel that: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself and not holding their sins against them". In essence it is an invitation to full and unequivocal faith in Christ's atonement and God's grace toward all sinners, especially those who admit it. (Gal.6:10)Those who have the honesty about themselves to confess their sins have the additional consolation of knowing that the angels and the whole of heaven rejoices over their reluctant, lapsed or belated, acceptance of reality concerning their new found self awarenesss and discovery of their previously erronious assessment of God's character. :laugh: Matt.25:24-25.
    .
     
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  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    First let me remind us that the Anglican doctrine on confession and absolution is already clear from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, where it is stated in 3 different places, using 3 formulations.

    What remains for us now is to see how and whether that doctrine may be founded upon Scripture. But what the Anglican Divines (and Article 11, and the other articles of religion) understand it to be is already quite evident: Confession is the contrition and repentance of our sins, and Absolution is the pardon by God mediately through his chosen ministers (the clergy). That absolution is not granted by God automatically/mechanically, as in the RC world, but only to those who offer genuine repentance. In other words the priest utters the words, but only God knows to whom he will extend this gift, given their repentance. This is God's gift, not the priest's; the latter are just his vehicle, and he remains the author and final arbiter of how his gift will be given.

    Now, you propose that this doctrine of Absolution is in conflict with the doctrine of Justification. I do not see those to be in conflict at all. You seem to be saying that if we are to wear the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14), and if we are "accounted righteous by faith", then no further absolution is necessary.

    However the big question you've left unanswered is, what does Scripture mean by "righteous" or "righteousness"? One thing it surely does not mean is "sinless"!

    You may be equating the two concepts.

    Yes I can be justified by faith, and yet I may be a sinner. I may still commit sins. Do you deny that possibility?
     
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  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Justification is a judicial act of God and is unmerited by all except Jesus Christ, who was justified because he alone of the entire human race, was sinless.

    What most of us confess during the general confession is our lack of Sanctification, which though not 'earned' or 'deserving' is nonetheless, when we have it, a matter of cooperation with the Holy Spirit and a willingness to take Christ's yoke and learn from him. Matt.11:29. Any unwillingness to be sanctified needs to be honestly admitted, confessed and eschewed.

    None of us are so sufficiently 'sanctified' as to be in no need of weekly, daily or even hourly, absolution from God but it is justification not sanctification that confers salvation, and this also does not require the services of a priest, unless you so lack faith in God's providence and love in reconciling the world to himself in Christ on the cross or have never heard and believed The Gospel.

    Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

    The assumption that God is wrathful and indignant against us, his servants who are of the houshold of faith and have taken willingly upon ourselves the yoke of obedience to Christ, is gravely erronious.

    The request though that through God's grace we may ever hereafter serve and please him is a plea for the discipline of sanctification not for a salvation already provided by Him for us in Christ.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
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  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I do not. However, even when I sin I have already been absolved of the guilt and penalty; this took place at the cross and was applied to me at the moment of my conversion. The confession and absolution rite is not spiritually effectual, however it is useful in assuaging the concerns of those who do not understand that they've been freed from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), and who needlessly labor under feelings of guilt. I hope that clarifies my position.

    Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
    Gal 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
    Gal 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
    Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.


    What is the curse of the law? It is detailed in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. What was the blessing? Deut. 28:1-14. Christ was "made a curse for us" (on our behalf), so that we might be delivered from the curse and receive His wonderful blessings.

    That statement is not to the point. The point is, does God see us as sinless or as sinful? We know how we see ourselves, but God's viewpoint is what matters (as evidenced by the many unredeemed people who erroneously imagine themselves to be "good enough").

    Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
    Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
    Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
    Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
    Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:


    Verse 22 tells us the the righteousness of God Himself is "unto all and upon all them that believe" (that's you and me, brother!). Whenever God's righteousness has been bestowed in and upon someone, God sees that person as being in right-standing with Him. No one whose sin-guilt is held against him has God's righteousness in and upon him. Anyone who has God's righteousness in and upon him has no sin guilt held against him by God.

    If the purpose of priestly absolution is removal of the stain (the guilt) of sin, that stain must necessarily be unrighteousness in God's eyes. What else could it be? Can God consider a man to be stained by sin, and at the same time consider him to be righteous with His own perfect righteousness? Impossible. Thus, in God's view there is no guilt to be removed and no further absolution to be performed by Him; it's been finished.

    A person who feels guilty feels condemnation, and this interrupts his fellowship and communing with God. Confession and absolution assists a person in restoring his sense of right-standing. God doesn't break off fellowship with His children, but when His children feel guilty about some sin or other, they need help with restoring their close walk with God; they just don't realize that they themselves are the ones who "hung up the phone" on God, so to speak, and not the other way around. Prior to Eucharist is, of course, the ideal time for restoration.

    I suppose if a person's faith is such that he really needs to believe that absolution is effectual in the moment of pronouncement, I guess I can see why that viewpoint is encouraged. But from a standpoint of Bible-based theology, the guilt of the Christian's sins (all sins, both past and future) are absolved at the moment of the new birth. And with sound teaching, just about every Christian would be capable of understanding this truth (and would not need to be fed a fib).
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
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  15. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    @Rexlion just to clarify things a bit it sounds like you are teaching once saved always saved? I am correct in that?
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Please see my post #6 above for the answer to that. I anticipated the question. :)
     
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  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    And why I liked it.
     
  18. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I don't see your points making a whole lot of sense to me. After being saved you don't have to repent because you are already forgiven of your sins but you can actually commit a sin to make you lose your salvation. That does not make sense.
     
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Suppose a friend seriously offends you and asks for your forgivness and you write a nice letter and deliver it to him personally saying to forget it and let's remain friends.

    Suppose some time later you inadverently upset your friend and he comes round to where you live and tears up your letter to him in little pieces and throws them in the mud, spits in your face, calls you a liar and says he didn't believe you forgave him anyway and to stick your forgiveness where the sun don't shine.

    Has he lost the friendship?

    Would that make sense to you? :laugh:
    .
     
  20. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That's the heresy of Antinomianism:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinomianism

    If sin does not carry guilt and penalty, then it is not sin.

    Honestly Tiffy hit the nail on the head here, you're conflating the two categories: Justification, and Sanctification. The former is the righteousness with God which we need in order to enter heaven (which can only be supplied by God himself); and the latter is the righteousness of life caused by justification, which results in a sanctified life in accordance with the Gospel, the precepts of the Church, and the natural law.

    The latter, sanctification, does not merit salvation, but, without it there is no justification. In other words the two concepts are indivisibly connected, where the latter necessarily follows from the former. You metaphysically cannot be justified without it also resulting in sanctification (holiness of life); and you cannot lack holiness but yet remain justified. God is holiness, and all who are his are holy also. "Be ye perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect also." (Matthew 5:48)

    This is where the Antinomian heresy made its claim, they severed the connection between Justification and Sanctification, claiming that they could lack any signs of sanctification, and still be completely justified before God. In other words, they could live the life of the most wicked degenerate, and yet be fully one of God's elect. Not only did Anglican orthodoxy unanimously condemn this awful view, but even many Puritan dissenters recoiled against it (even though it came out of Puritanism originally). It was seen as an abomination by almost everyone. The two, justification and sanctification, have to go together.

    Martin Luther famously put it this way: "We are justified by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone". Or put it another way translating from German, "We are justified only by faith, but not by a lonely faith." A faith will, inextricably, inescapably, unmistakably, have other consequences accompanying it, if it were truly justifying.

    Again you are confusing Justification and Sanctification.

    Obviously no man can be "good enough" to merit heaven. We've covered that a few times already. We need God's righteousness in order to deserve God's intimacy. That's what faith in Christ provides for us.

    But if a justified Christian commits sins and lacks sanctification, then if he doesn't clean up this rupture then he lacks justification also: you've got someone who claims that he has been Baptized and born again, who has the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, who consumes the sacrament of the Body and Blood, and yet who in his life is entirely identical to the atheist reprobate. If his life is identical to that of an atheist reprobate, then he is an atheist reprobate.

    If he lacks sanctification, then he lacks justification.

    What does St. Paul say? "Those whom God justified, them he also sanctified." If the person doesn't have the latter, then it means he doesn't have the former.
     
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