Thursday, June 25, 2009

Faith that Justifies

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 11:13-20 - Justification by Faith: not by works!

13. Faith righteousness and works righteousness are mutually exclusive. You have to abandon your own to seek Christ's. Phil 3:8-9; Rom 10:3. As long as any works righteousness remains, there remains room for boasting - Rom 3:27; 4:2, 4.
14. Sophists argue that we are justified by faith and works given us by the Spirit; that Paul argues against works done in the flesh apart from faith. But Gal 3:11-12 rules out any works.
15. The Romans say the grace of justification is not imputation but the "Spirit helping in the pursuit of holiness" - Heb 11:6. Where Augustine goes a bit astray here, Lombard corrupts it far worse to Pelagianism.
16. The believer trusts in the sole righteousness of Christ, not His own Spirit-generated or fleshly works.
17. Faith justifies as it "receives and embraces the righteousness offered in the gospel."
Gospel righteousness depends on God's free mercy; law righteousness depends on our fulfilling conditions, which we never do perfectly. Rom 10:5-6, 9; Gal 3:18.
Our Spirit-wrought righteousness can't justify, for even that is never perfect.
18. If we are justified by faith, then it is apart from and without the merit of works. We must come empty to receive Christ's righteousness. Hab 2:4; Gal 3:11-12; Rom 4:2-5, 16; 3:21.
19. Luther was right to translate "faith alone" in Rom 3:28. What else could it be, if works of the law are excluded? Rom 1:17. They try to say the works Paul means are ceremonial, not moral. But God didn't promise life to doers of the ceremonial law only - the whole law is meant.
20. Faith that justifies must be the kind that works through love - Gal 5:6 - but "it does not take its power to justify from that working of love."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Justification by imputed righteousness

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 11:5-12 - Justification by faith: refuting "essential righteousness"

5. We aren't - and don't need to be - united with Christ's essence and substance, to receive His righteousness, as Osiander asserts.

6. Osiander confuses justification and sanctification, forgiveness with regeneration, Christ's imputed righteousness inner holiness of life. This is like saying the sun's light warms the earth. You can't separate the sun's light and warmth, but each does its own thing. Christ is both out righteousness and our sanctification - 1 Cor 1:30. He says justify means "to make righteous," instead of God's declaration of pardon - Rom 4:4-5; 8:33. But "as Paul skillfully contends, there is in justification no place for works."
[I lost the next few sections' notes, due to vacation-y things. Here are the chapter titles.]
7. The significance of faith for justification
8. Osiander's doctrine that Christ is, according to His divine nature, our righteousness
9. Justification as the work of the Mediator
10.It is true that we must be united with Christ to receive His righteousness. This doesn't mean our faith constitutes that righteousness. Osiander claims from 1 Pet 1:4 ("that we might become partakers of the divine nature"), but this is nothing more than the promise, for the future, that "we shall be like Him" - 1 John 3:2.
11. Osiander denies the legal aspect of justification, though 2 Cor 5:19, 21; Ps 32:1 are against him. Sin remains in the justified, until death. Our assurance depends on justification, not on our own righteousness, "For faith totters if it pays attention to works." Rom 7:24; 8:33, 38-39. Though we condemn ourselves justly, we don't tremble at God's judgment, for He will account us pure, by Christ's righteousness.
12. Osiander says justification and righteousness can only come from God, not the human Jesus - 1 Cor 1:30; Phil 2:13. This is false: Col 2:3; John 17:5; Gal 3:13; Heb 2:14; John 17:19; Rom 5:19.

Accepted by God

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 11:1-4 - Justification by Faith: Definition
1. I've talked about the second benefit of salvation by faith: how our regeneration, or sanctification. This was to show how faith is full of works. Now we have to cover justification, "the main hinge on which religion turns." You have to know your relationship to God, as the starting point of piety.
2. Justification is "the acceptance with which God receives us into His favor as righteous men." It includes "the remission of sins and the imputation of Christ's righteousness."
3. Justification means to things: a) "reckoned as righteous:" Luke 7:29, 35; 16:15; 1 Kings 1:21; b) "free from condemnation:" Gal 3:8; Rom 3:26; 8:33-34; Acts 13:38-39; Luke 18:14.
4. Justification is acceptance by God: Eph 1:5-6; Rom 3:24; 4:6-7; Ps 32:1. This is the whole of justification - 2 Cor 5:18-20 - reconciliation! The atonement is the means to it - 2 Cor 5:21.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Use of God's Gifts

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 10 - How we must use the present life and its helps

1. This life is a pilgrimage to the next, and we should use the necessities and delights of this life accordingly. Lev 25:23; 1 Chron 29:15; Ps 39:13; 119:19; Heb 11:8-10, 13-16; 13:14; 1 Pet 2:11; 1 Cor 7:30-31. We can err in denying ourselves too much (all but bare necessities), or by allowing too much. "Definite and precise legal formulas" won't work to find the right balance; wisdom comes "as Scripture gives general rules."

2. God gives us gifts to both use and enjoy: food, clothing, flowers "wafted upon our nostrils," and color - Gen 2:9, Ps 104:15. Use them for the purpose He gave them.
3. A look at the giver of the gift prevents narrow-mindedness and immoderation. "Many so enslave all their senses to delights wthat the mind lies overwhelmed," crowding out thought of God. [Movies and malls, today] Rom 13:14.
4. We must use this world as if we did not use it. 1 Cor 7:29-31. This keeps us from impatience in poverty, and from indulgence in luxury. We also aren't distracted "from thought of the heavenly life and zeal to cultivate the soul." Cato said, "those who are much occupied with the care of the body are for the most part careless about their own souls."
5. Be able to go without things. "He who is ashamed of mean clothing will boast of costly clothing." Phil 4:12. Remember you will give an account of your stewardship of God's gifts to you - Luke 16:2.
6. Our calling (vocation) also guides how we use things, confining us to our duty. We are able to bear this burden, knowing God has given it to us, and delights in our carrying it out, however humble.

Trying to make ourselves immortal

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 9 - Meditation on the future life
1. God counters our tendency to focus on this world, with trials and misery, which teach us the vanity of this life.
2. "We undertake all things as if we were establishing immortality for ourselves on earth," but our lives are like vapor and smoke - Ps 102:3; 102:11.
3. Avoiding worldliness shouldn't lead to hating the world; we must be thankful. These gifts give us a foretaste of glory.
4. Ecc 4:2-7 is right, that there isn't much to celebrate about this life, in itself. But we ought to compare it to the future blessedness, and long for the latter - 2 Cor 5:6; Phil 1:23-4; Rom 14:8. The negative of this life is largely our bondage to sin.
5. We ought not fear death, but long for resurrection - 2 Cor 5:2-3; Titus 2:13; 2 Tim 4:8; Luke 21:28.
6. If we keep a heavenly perspective (Rev 7:17; Isa 25:8), we can endure much trial (Rom 8:36). Isa 66:24; Matt 25:41; Mark 9:43, 46; Rev 21:8; 2 Thess 1:6-7; Ps 73:2-3, 17.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sorrow and patience

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 8 - Bearing the Cross, a Part of Self-Denial
Matt 16:24.
God takes His adopted children through trials, as He put His own Son through.
Matt 3:17; 17:5; Heb 5:8.
He does this to make us like Him, in suffering, then glory.
Rom 8:29; Acts 14:22; Phil 3:10-11
He does this to keep our trust in Him, not our own power.
Ps 30:5-6; Rom 5:3-4; 2 Cor 1:4.
God gives us trength to endure these trilas, which we wouldn't have ourselves, teaching us all the more to trust Him - Gen 22:1, 12; 1 Pet 1:7.
God is justified in sending afflictions, for they teach us virtue we wouldn't otherwise learn. As trained horses grow insolent by indulgence, so do we - Deut 32:15.
God gives each the trial he needs and can endure - but all need the medicine of trial, for all are diseased with sin. Our trials also serve to "correct past transgressions," without condemning us - 1 Cor 11:32. Prov 3:11-12. He lovingly reproves us, instead of rejecting us - Heb 12:8.
Suffering for righteousness' sake is an honor and blessing - Matt 5:10; Acts 5:41. We suffer reproach, besides physical deprivation, all for Christ's glory - 1 Peter 4:12ff; 1 Tim 4:10; 2 Cor 6:8. Not that suffering isn't painful, but "the fortitude of the believing man... surmounts it."
We shouldn't condemn sorrow and mourning, as Stoics do - 2 Cor 4:8-9; John 16:20; Matt 5:4; Luke 22:44; Matt 26:37-8. Sorrow and patience co-exist in the believer's suffering - John 21:18. We do not bear trials patientily because we have to and can do no other. We bear them with patience, trusting God's good purpose for us.

Taming our desires

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 7

Sections 8-10 - Self-denial, related to God
We must tame our desires to God's will, seeking happiness only in God's blessing. We may not seek prosperity by evil means, nor credit our own virtue when we prosper, but rather God's blessing. Ps 131:1-2. We trust God's fatherly hand when things go wrong, not putting it to stoic or blind fortune.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We are not our own

Calvin's Institutes (1559) Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 7 - Self-Denial
Sections 1-3
Though God gave the Law to guide us, Romans 12:1-2 is the beginning and clearest summary. We are not our own, so cannot seek our own desire - 1 Cor 6:19; Rom 14:8. Our reason does not rule us (Eph 4:23); God's Word does. We put away our "yearning to possess, the desire for power, and the favor of men" when we realize that "it is with God he has to deal throughout his life." Matt 16:24; 2 Tim 3:2-5. There is "no other remedy" for the world of vices in us (Matt 6:2, 5, 16; 21:31), than to deny ourselves, and seek what God wants of us, only because He wants them. We must (Titus 2:11-14) renounce ungodliness and worldly lusts (1 John 2:16; Eph 2:3; 2 Pet 2:18; Gal 5:16), and strive for righteousness (Rom 13:7). Remembering the hope of Christ's appearing (Titus 2:14) we "travel as pilgrims in this world."

Love one another

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 7
Sections 4-7 - Self-denial, related to men
Phil 2:3; Rom 12:10.
All men are quick to take pride in their God-given virtues, minimize their vices, and condemn the vices of others. All men think themselves superior to others, deep down. Instead, we should overlook others' faults while regarding ourselves humbly and lowly. Loving others requires denying yourself - 1 Cor 13:4-5. Whatever we have from God is meant to share with others and build up the church - 1 Cor 12:12ff; Ps 16:23; Heb 13:16. Firstfruits of Israel's harvest went to God to teach us this - Ex 23:19. We help ohters because of the image of God in them, not only if they deserve it - Gal 6:9-10; 1 Cor 13:4-5; Isa 58:7; Matt 6:14; 18:35; Luke 17:3; Matt 5:44. Loving others requires right intent: not just the outward act, but true empathy which removes arrogance or upbraiding or stinginess.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our puny capacity

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 6 - The Christian Life
God saves us to conform our lives to the righteousness He gives us in Christ. I now intend to set forth "a pattern for the conduct of life." This is important, as we love righteousness and holiness. God calls us to it - Lev 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16. It is the essence of our union with Christ (HIS righteousness, that it, not ours). It is the reason we were saved - Isa 35:8; Ps 116:19; 122:2-9; 15:1-2). We don't seek virtue in accordance with nature, but with Christ (2 Cor 5:18; Heb 1:3). Since God has cleansed and adopted us, we live like it - Mal 1:6; Eph 5:1; 1 John 3:1; Eph 5:26; Heb 10:10; 1 Cor 6:11; 1 Pet 1:15, 19; Eph 5:23-33; 1 Cor 6:15; John 15:3-6; Col 3:1ff; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Thess 5:23.
The gospel "is a doctrine not of the tongue but of life." Christians in name only may talk about and master the gospel in their minds but it doesn't possess their whole soul, moving them to put off the old man - Eph 4:22, 24.
No Christian can claim perfection, but "this ought to be desired, and we must strive toward it." The goal is complete integrity and following the whole Word, not just parts we choose. We may progress at an excruciatingly slow pace, but we can "proceed according to the measure of [our] puny capacity" in holiness.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 5, Sections 6-10 – Additions to penance: Purgatory

I wouldn't mention this trifling topic were it not for the serious damage it does to souls. "When expiation of sins is sought elsewhere than in the blood of Christ, when satisfaction is transferred elsewhere, silence is very dangerous." Purgatory "nullifies the cross."

They claim Matt 12:32, which hints - they say - that some sins will be forgiven in the next life. But this refers to the guilt of sin, not their punishment. It only emphasizes the unforgivable sin will never be forgiven. They claim Matt 5:25-26, but it need not be a direct allegory for purgatory, but just describing the earthly consequences of disagreeably demanding the letter of the law. They claim Phil 2:10 - that those under the earth must mean in purgatory, since the wicked and devils in hell won't bow the knee. But this bowing is of subjection and dominion, not only of reverent worship. Rev 5:13 relates to all creation (Ps 19:1), not souls in purgatory. They claim 2 Maccabees 12:43, but it is not Scripture, and the writer himself asks pardon if he said anything wrong (15:39). The Spirit doesn't speak this way.

They claim 1 Cor 3:12-13, 15: "if any man's work is burned up... he will be saved, but only as through fire." They say this fire is purgatory, but many ancient writers considered it earthly trials. Scripture says every man's work goes through the fire, but they don't say everyone goes through purgatory. The fire is the Spirit. The unstable foundation refers to impure doctrines - like purgatory!

They appeal to the custom of praying for the dead, but this is not Scriptural, either. They only did it out of a natural human desire. The fathers, even Augustine, erred here; though they weren't zealous for it, either but only catered to custom and natural desire. Our prayers are subject to God's Word - we ought to ask only what he tells us to ask.

Establishing a redemption price other than Christ's blood

Trying to slim down the format of these to make it more readable...

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 5, Sections 1-5 – Additions to penance: Indulgences
Indulgences flow from satisfaction at confession. They think Christ’s merits are distributed by indulgences. This would mean "indulgences establish another purchase price in the blood of martyrs." This is madness. They claim to grant forgiveness through the church’s indulgences, when only Christ’s blood are we cleansed – Acts 10:43; 1 John 1:7; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Cor 1:13; Acts 20:28; Heb 10:14; Rev 7:14. Pope Leo spoke strongly against other saints paying for our sins in any way. They glean this "surplus of merits" from Col 1:24, wrongly, leaving Christ "only a name," and little distinction of honor from all the saints. Col 1:24 ("Paul completes what is lacking in christ's afflictions for the sake of the body, the Church") means not suffering for atonement and redemption, but for edification of the Church, like in 2 Tim 2:10; 2 Cor 1:6. They pretend to draw Christ's grace from the pope's storehouse, "tearing it away from the Word of God!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

God's Rebuking for Amendment

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 3 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 4 - Impurity of Sophists' doctrine of repentance;
discussion of confession and satisfaction

Section 30 - Christ's unique sacrifice can alone remove both penalty and guilt
Jesus bore the penalty for our sins - Isa 53:5.
He paid the price of our redemption - Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14.
God lays out the price in sacrifice, not satisfaction - Ex 30:10; Lev 4:1-7:16; Hosea 14:2
"If we are delivered from guilt through Christ, the penalties that arise from it must cease."

Section 31 - Misinterpretations exposed: God's judgments, penal and corrective
There are two kinds of judgment, from God: vengeance or punishment, and correction or admonition.
In the former, God is judge; in the latter, God is a father.

Section 32 - distinction of God's purpose in judgment in vengeance, versus judgment of chastisement
God judges in vengeance and punishment, with His curse and wrath, on unbelievers. He judges believers with chastisement for blessing – Job 5:17; Prov 3:11-12; Heb 12:5-6; Ps 118:18; 119:71; Jer 10:24-25; Hab 3:2; Isa 48:10. God’s covenant with David, “still in force” for us, shows this: 2 Sam 7:12-13; Ps 89:30-33. Believers are “tender to bear God’s wrath,” while unbelievers “kick and rant against Him.”

Section 33 – Judgment of vengeance serves to punish; judgment of chastisement to improve
God’s judgments are meant for correction of future sins more than punishment for past sins. He chastises us to bring us to repentance – Isa 1:5-6. Compare 1 Sam 15:23; 2 Sam 12:18; 1 Cor 11:32.

Section 34 – The believer undergoing God’s chastisement is not to lose heart.
Because God means us to profit by them, in His mercy and kindness. Still, believers often almost lose heart in affliction – Ps 88:16; 90:7-9; 94:12-13.

Section 35 – The punishment of David
He was punished to show God hates adultery and murder, not to pay off a penalty for those sins. Same with the plague in 2 Sam 24:15, and the curse that followed the Fall at the very beginning – Gen 3:16-19. Rome points to these as warrant for requiring satisfaction after forgiveness, but there are many examples of forgiveness where no satisfaction is required – Luke 18:14; 22:61; Matt 9:2.

Section 36 – Good works as redemption of punishment
“Banish the thought that there should be any other ransom than the blood of Christ!” Doing good works is to replace by restitution the sin we were doing; they are not meant to atone for them before God. Dan 4:27; Prov 10:12; 16:6. Instead of hatred leading us to “reproach, injure, one another and make a fault of everything,” love tolerates faults, heals them by admonishing instead of aggravating them by reproaches.” Similar passages showing how to live, but not how to atone for sin – Heb 13:16; Luke 11:39-41.

Section 37 – The woman who was a sinner
Luke 7:36-50. Her love for Christ was not “the cause, but the proof, of forgiveness of sins.” Saying she was forgiven because she loved was a way to tell Simon that Jesus DID know she had sinned much. Jesus said her faith saved her, in the end.

Section 38 – The Roman doctrine cannot claim the authority of the church fathers
The fathers emphasized that “God requires nothing of us beyond our confessing our transgressions before Him with tears.”

Section 39 – The Schoolmen corrupt the teaching of the fathers
The fathers erred sometimes, but Rome corrupts their teaching worse. For instance, they sought satisfaction to the church following excommunication, not after each and every sin.

These wriggling snakes

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 3 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 4 - Impurity of Sophists' doctrine of repentance;
discussion of confession and satisfaction

Section 28 - Venial and mortal sins
Rome says some sins are venial, not deserving death, requiring lesser penance.
Rom 6:23; Ezek 18:20.
All sins of believers are venial, as the punishment of death is removed.
Rom 8:1; Ps 32:1-2.
While you are making satisfaction for some venial sin, you will commit numerous others. "For not a day passes when the most righteous of men does not fall time and again." Prov 24:16.

Section 29 - Forgiveness of sins involves remission of penalty
Rome says guilt is gone after forgiveness, but a penalty (of God's justice) remains to be paid. "Though I believe I have already more than fully confirmed this [is false], I shall add certain other testimonies by which these wriggling snakes may be so held fast that after this they will be unable to coil up even the tip of their tail."
Jer 31:31, 34; Ezek 18:21-22, 24 - to not remember sin means to not demand penalty.
Isa 38:17; 44:22; Micah 7:19; Ps 32:1-2; Isa 1:18; 50:20.

Pestilent Absurdities

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 3 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 4 - Impurity of Sophists' doctrine of repentance;
discussion of confession and satisfaction

Sections 26-27 - The grace of Christ alone provides true satisfaction for sin and peace to the conscience

Section 26 - Christ has provided full satisfaction
Rome says Christ's atonement can only operate through baptism and penance.
Not so, 1 John 2:1-2, 12; John 1:29, 36. He is our "perpetual advocate."
Not just one time in the past, and now we need the church.

Section 27a - The Roman doctrine deprives Christ of honor
Isa 53:5-6, 1 Peter 2:24; Gal 3:13; Rom 8:3
Only Jesus makes atonement.

27b - The Roman doctrine deprives the conscience of every assurance
If salvation depends on our satisfaction of works, we will never be sure.
Col 1:20, 14.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dashing miserable souls into despair

As always, the blog titles and Scripture references are all original to Calvin.

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 3 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 4 - Impurity of Sophists' doctrine of repentance;
discussion of confession and satisfaction

Sections 16-25 - Criticism of Roman injurious practices
Section 21 - The uncertainty of priestly binding and loosing
It is uncertain because sinful priests absolve or require penance, not according to the Word, which they could do - 1 Cor 6:9-10.

Section 22 - The difference between perverted and right use of the power of the keys
Forgiveness doesn't depend on the priest figuring out whose repentance is real.
Only the sinner's trust in God's mercy is required.
When the minister "as a herald, publishes what has been dictated to him from the Word of God [he] cannot err."

Section 23 - Perverse claims exposed
Matt 18:18 doesn't apply to confessing to a priest;
it deals with public offense against another, not with private confession.
"The priest does not so much forgive sins as pronounce and declare them forgiven."
They say part of God's forgiveness involves fulfilling church-required "penalty and satisfaction." This adds to God's free promise of forgiveness, taking away assurance and eroding the Gospel.

Section 24 - Summary
Freeing the conscience where the Word doesn't, or requiring works where the Word offers free grace, both drive the godly either into despair or apathy.

Section 25 - General presentation and refutation of the Roman doctrine
Rome says God's punishment remains after He forgives.
[We call this "consequences"].
Satisfaction doesn't fit with FREE forgiveness - Isa 43:25; 52:3; Rom 3:24-25; 5:8; Col 2:13-14; 2 Tim 1:9; Titus 3:5; Acts 10:43; 2 Cor 5:19-21.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Butchering souls, requiring exhaustive confession

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 3 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 4 - Impurity of Sophists' doctrine of repentance;
discussion of confession and satisfaction

Sections 16-25 - Criticism of Roman injurious practices
Section 16 - The enumeration of all sins is impossible
We cannot recount them all; they overwhelm us;
we also have secret faults, hidden from ourselves.
David said this - Ps 19:12; 38:4; 18:6; 69:2-3, 15-16.

Section 17 - The requirement of complete confession is a measureless torment
It is butchery of the soul.
They start by categorizing sin, but when they finish, the enormous mass of sin still only leads to despair, under the requirement, "Confess all your sins."
1 John 3:20.

Section 18 - The pernicious effect of demanding complete confession
Yes, we should confess specific sins, but not assume we have or can confess all our sin.
People were forgiven their sins for centuries, without a priest to hear their confession; so how can Rome require this now?
Ezekiel 18:21-22.

Section 19 - Against auricular confession
Requiring confession to a priest once a year doesn't shame people from sinning, but invites them to sin all year long, and wipe it away with surface penitance at one stroke - Prov 30:20.

Section 20 - Baseless appeal to the power of the keys
To have the power of the keys, to forgive sin or bind sin, you must have the Spirit.

No common or light solace

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 3 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 4 - Impurity of Sophists' doctrine of repentance;
discussion of confession and satisfaction

Sections 14-15 - The power of the keys, and absolution
Section 14 - Nature and value of the power of the keys
The minister should exercise the power of the keys by declaring sins forgiven when
1. the whole church confesses
2. an individual confesses publicly.
3. an individual confesses privately.
It is a great comfort to have the minister proclaim absolution from sin after confession - 2 Cor 5:20; John 20:23; Matt 18:18; 9:2.
But we can't "dream up some power" of absolution apart from the Word.

Section 15 - Summary of the Roman doctrine of confession
They require all of age to confess at least once a year to the priest.
They claim Matt 18:18, but can't skirt Isaiah 43:11, 25.