We have assigned these two parts, contrition and faith, to repentance. In order that the doctrine of faith might be clearer, we have named it among the parts of repentance. For experience shows that those passages are dangerous that require contrition or good works, and make no mention of justifying faith. Since the Fathers speak in some places about one part of repentance, and in other places about another part, it would have been good to select and combine their judgments not only about one part but about both, that is, about contrition and faith.
Tertullian speaks about faith, discussing the oath in the prophet Ezekiel, "As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (33:11). As God swears that He does not want the death of a sinner, He shows that faith is required, in order that we may believe that He forgives us. In our estimation, the authority of the divine promises should be great by itself. If anyone is not confident that he is forgiven, he denies that God has sworn what is true. A more horrible blasphemy cannot be imagined.
Here we must know that this faith should be confident that God freely forgives us for Christ's sake, for the sake of His own promise, not for the sake of our works, contrition, confession, or satisfactions. (paragraphs 91-95)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.