24. For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty.
Because the system for forgiveness was designed by people in the leadership of the church, the system made sense to the lay people of the church. God’s design of undeserved love and forgiveness did not make sense to the people of the church that is not how man would do it.
In the gospels Jesus tried to explain to the disciples that the world would never understand the way that God was dealing with mankind. So He said things like, “In the world he who would be the leader, lords it over the others, while in the kingdom of God if you want to be the leader you need to be a servant to all.” This only makes sense in God’s way of seeing things.
When the churchmen explained the power of the indulgences they made sense to the lay people of the church because these too were made by man. So it seemed too good to be true that one could simply buy the forgiveness that they needed for salvation and eternal life.
Luther was trying to show the people that the church was selling the answer to their own manmade system. He saw that God had a different plan that was not manmade but heaven sent through Jesus of Nazareth. Luther hoped that people would trust in God and not in the rules of man. The temptation today is to again trust in the rules of man, because just as in Luther’s time the rules of man make sense to man.
Dear Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit that will lift me above the rules of man and give me the security of the forgiveness that only You can bring. Help me to trust You alone even when the world around me does not understand. In Your most Holy name I pray. Amen.