280. It is also an error of this age to suppose that when sins are remitted they are also removed. Those are in this error who believe that their sins are remitted by the Sacrament of the Supper, although they have not removed them from themselves by repentance. Those also are in this error who believe that they are saved by faith alone, as well as those who believe that they are saved by papal dispensations. All these believe in immediate mercy and in instantaneous salvation. On the other hand, when this is reversed it becomes a truth, namely, that when sins are removed they are also remitted; for repentance precedes remission, and without repentance there is no remission. Therefore the Lord commanded His disciples
That they should preach repentance for the remission of sins. Luke xxiv. 27 (A.V. 47);
and John preached
The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Luke iii. 3.
The Lord remits the sins of all: He does not accuse and impute. Yet He can take them away only in accordance with the laws of His Divine Providence; for He said to Peter, when he asked how often he should forgive a brother sinning against him, whether seven times,
That he should forgive not only seven times but until seventy times seven. Matt. xviii. 21, 22.
What then will not the Lord do, who is Mercy itself?