17. We must now say something about what is meant by taking away sins. Taking away sins has the same meaning as the redeeming and saving of mankind. For the Lord came into the world to save mankind. Without His advent no mortal could have been reformed and regenerated, thus saved. But this became possible after the Lord had taken away all power from the devil, that is, from hell, and had glorified His humanity, which is to say, had united it to the Divinity of His Father. If He had not done both of these, no one could have received any Divine truth and retained it in him, and still less any Divine goodness; for the devil, who previously had possessed a superior power, would have plucked these from his heart.
 It is apparent from this that by His suffering of the cross the Lord did not take away any sins, but that He bears them away, that is, removes them, in the case of people who believe in Him by living in accordance with His commandments. As the Lord also teaches in Matthew:
Do not think that I came to do away with the Law or the Prophets.... Whoever...breaks...the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17, 19)
 Everyone can see from reason alone, provided he possesses some enlightenment, that sins cannot be removed from a person except through the practice of actual repentance, which is for the person to see his sins, implore the Lord’s help, and desist from them.
To see, believe or teach anything else is not based on the Word, nor does it accord with sound reason, but it springs from lust and a corrupt will, which constitute a person’s native character and infatuate his intelligence.