20. Therefore the pope, when he uses the words “plenary remission of all penalties,” does not actually mean “all penalties,” but only those imposed by himself.
This Thesis would seem to be almost the same wording as Theses number 5. The words that Luther quotes are taken from the wording of the indulgences. As I said in day #5 at this time Luther believed that while the pope was able to take away the guilt of sin, the penalty remained.
The Catholic Church at the time of Luther taught that there were two main types of sin, “Original Sin” and “Actual Sin”. The Original sin is what we are born with, inherited sin if you will. Since we are all descendants of Adam, his sinful nature has come all the way down to each of us. So a child is sinful at birth, before they have done anything, since sin is a separation from God that is part of their nature. That separation from God brings about Actual sins which are the sinful actions that we commit. These Actual sins are then broken down by the Church as “Venial” and “Mortal”. Venial as things that I did that were wrong that could easily be forgiven, this is where the term “white lie” comes from not serious just kind of nuisance sins. The Mortal sins were the sins that would lead to your eternal death. Interesting that skipping the Sunday Mass was a Mortal Sin!
The mortal sins were the ones that you had to “pay for”. You needed to atone for those sins. As Lutherans we believe that Jesus atoned for all the sins of all people. That means that when I stand before the throne of God I will stand there sinless, not because of my good life or indulgences that I purchased but because Jesus loved me enough to die for me.
Dear Father in Heaven today I am well aware of my sinful nature and also of the sinful actions in my life. But I fall before you as a forgiven child, because of what Jesus has done for me. When you look on me don’t see my sinful life but rather look on the sinless life of Christ, my Savior. In His name, Amen.