2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy
Martin Luther spoke of the word “Repentance” or “Repent”. In the church it had come to be the word that described the act of a person confessing to a priest and the priest prescribing a “good work” to be done as an act of “penance” and then the priest would pronounce forgiveness for the sin that the person had committed.
Luther said that repentance needed to go much deeper than simple actions done at the request of a priest. There needed to be a heart change. That is what John the Baptist was looking for and what Jesus was calling people into. The dictionary says that the word repent means to “turn 180 degrees”. In a very real sense that is what we are to do when we repent, turn around and go the other way!
So Luther was saying to the church in this Theses #2 that repentance is not simply a rite of the church, it is an inner change that comes from the work of the Spirit so that we desire to live the life that Jesus is calling us too, a life lived in the Kingdom of God!
Dear Father, please help me to see the hardness of my heart and give me a measure of Your Spirit so that I may give my heart to You and live my whole life to Your Glory. Forgive me the life apart from You that I have been living and make me new! In Jesus name, Amen.