516. III. THE MERE LIP-CONFESSION THAT ONE IS A SINNER IS NOT REPENTANCE.
On this lip-confession the Reformed who adhere to the Augsburg Confession teach as follows:
"No man can ever know his sins; wherefore they cannot be enumerated; moreover, they are interior and hidden, so that a confession of them would be false, uncertain, maimed and mutilated; but he who confesses himself to be nothing but sin, includes all sins, excludes none, and forgets none. Still the enumeration of sins, although not necessary, is not to be done away with, out of regard for tender and timid consciences; but this is only a childish and common form of confession for simpler and ruder people" (Formula Concordiae, pages 327, 331, 380).
But by the Reformed, after they had separated from the Roman Catholics, this confession was adopted in place of actual repentance, because it is based upon their imputative faith, which alone apart from charity, and thus apart from repentance also, works the forgiveness of sins and regenerates man; it is based also upon this, which is an inseparable appendix to that faith, that there is no co-operation on man's part with the Holy Spirit in the act of justification; also upon this, that man has no freedom of choice in spiritual things; and again upon this, that all things depend upon mercy apart from means, and nothing what ever is effected mediately by or through man.