THE IMPUTATION OF THE LORD'S MERIT IS NOTHING ELSE THAN THE REMISSION OF SINS AFTER REPENTANCE
It is believed in the Church that the Lord was sent by the Father to make atonement for the human race, and that this was effected by His fulfilling the Law, and by the passion of the cross; and that He thus took upon Himself damnation, and made satisfaction. Moreover, that without this atonement, satisfaction and propitiation, the human race would have perished in eternal death; and this from justice, which is also called by some, avenging justice. It is true that, if the Lord had not come into the world, all mankind would have perished. But how it is to be understood that the Lord fulfilled all things of the Law, and also why He suffered the cross may be seen above in their respective chapters. From these it may be seen that it was not on account of any avenging justice [on God's part], because this is not a Divine attribute. Justice, love, mercy and good are Divine attributes; and God is justice itself, love itself, mercy itself and good itself; and where these are, there is nothing of vengeance, and consequently no avenging justice.
 The fulfilling of the Law and the passion of the cross have hitherto only been understood by many as implying that the Lord made satisfaction for the human race by means of these two things, and took away from man the damnation that had been foreseen or destined. Accordingly, from the linking together of these two things and at the same time from the principle that man is saved solely by the faith that this is so, there has followed the dogma of the imputation of the Lord's merit by the acceptance of these two things, which were of the Lord's merit as a satisfaction. This, however, falls to the ground from what has been said concerning the Lord's fulfilling of the Law, and His passion on the cross. Moreover, it may now be seen that the imputation of merit is an expression without meaning, unless by it is understood the remission of sins after repentance. For nothing of the Lord's can be imputed to man; but salvation may be awarded him by the Lord after he has done the work of repentance, that is, after he has seen and acknowledged his sins, and then desists from them; and this from the Lord. Thus salvation is awarded him: not that man is saved through his own merit or his own righteousness, but from the Lord, who fought and conquered the hells alone, and who still fights alone for man and conquers the hells for him.  These things are the Lord's merit and righteousness, which can in no wise be imputed to man; for if they were imputed, the Lord's merit and righteousness would be appropriated to man as his own; and this never is and never can be done. If imputation were possible, an impenitent and wicked man might impute to himself the Lord's merit, and might therefore think himself justified. This, however, would be to defile what is holy with the profane, and to profane the Lord's name; for it would be to keep his thought in the Lord, and his will in hell: when yet the will is the all of man. There is a faith which is of God, and a faith which is of man. Those who repent have the faith which is of God; but those who do not repent, and yet think of imputation, have the faith which is of man; and the faith which is of God is a living faith, but the faith which is of man is a dead faith.
 That the Lord Himself and His disciples preached repentance and the remission of sins, is evident from the following passages:
Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent ye, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand. Matt. iv 17.
John* said, Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance ... And now also the axe is laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Luke iii 8, 9.
Jesus said, Except ye repent, ye shall all perish. Luke xiii 3, 5.
Jesus [came] preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel. Mark i 14, 15.
Jesus sent out the disciples, who going out preached that men should repent. Mark vi 12.
Jesus said to the Apostles, that they should preach in His name repentance and remission of sins among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke xxiv 47.
John preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Luke iii 3; Mark i 4.
 By baptism is meant spiritual washing, which is a washing from sins, and is called regeneration.
Repentance and the remission of sins by the Lord are thus described in John:
He came unto His own, but His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
Who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man (vir), but of God. John i 11-13.
By His own are meant those who were then of the Church where the Word was; by the sons of God, and those who believe on His name, are meant those who believe on the Lord, and who believe the Word. By bloods are meant falsifications of the Word, and confirmations of falsity by means of the Word. The will of the flesh is man's voluntary proprium, which in itself is evil; the will of man (vir) is the intellectual proprium of man (homo), which in itself is falsity; and those who are born of God are those who are regenerated by the Lord.
From all this it is evident that those are saved who are in the good of love and in the truths of faith from the Lord, but not those who are in their own proprium. * Orig. Ed. has Jesus.