17. Something shall now be said of what is meant by taking away sins. To take away sins means the same as to redeem man, and to save him; for the Lord came into the world to render salvation possible to man. Without His advent no mortal could have been reformed and regenerated, and so saved. But this became possible after the Lord had deprived the devil (that is, hell) of all his power; and had glorified His Human, that is, had united it to the Divine of His Father. If these things had not been done, no man would have been capable of permanently receiving any Divine truth, still less any Divine good; for the devil, whose power was previously the stronger, would have plucked it out of his heart.
 From what has been said it is evident that the Lord did not take away sins by the passion of the cross; but that He takes them away, that is, removes them, in those who believe in Him by living according to His commandments; as He also teaches in Matthew:
Think not that I am come to loosen the law and the prophets. Whosoever shall loosen the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of the heavens; but whosoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:17, 19).
 Who cannot see from reason alone, provided he is in some enlightenment, that sins cannot be taken away from a man except by actual repentance, which consists in his seeing his sins, imploring the Lord's help, and desisting from them? To see, believe, and teach otherwise, is not from the Word, nor from sound reason, but from cupidity and a depraved will, which are proper to man, and from this comes the debasement of his intelligence.