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33.Men must especially be on guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to him.

This was one of the more insidious problems of the church in Luther’s day. Many had come to believe that the Pope was the keeper of the gates of Heaven. That the Pope controlled everyone’s personal salvation or destruction. With that type of thinking then it could be possible for a person to buy from the Pope his personal salvation. Luther is saying they must avoid this type of thinking. His point was that the Pope does not control salvation, only God does that and God gives salvation for free. Salvation is not for sale, therefore indulgences are worthless.

Unfortunately as long as we live on this earth, we are prone to put our trust in another person rather than in God. But to be “reconciled with God” is not something that any other person can do. To be reconciled means to “be made right” the word is really a mathematical term and refers to balancing two columns of figures so that they are even. We must be reconciled to God in order to live forever with God! The trick is that we cannot ever be equal with God! So God Himself comes into us through the Holy Spirit and with God living inside us we are counted equal with God. Only God can do this unfortunately we regularly put other people and things in that place. All of this is a form of idolatry, even if directed toward the pope!


Oh God I cannot understand just how much You must love me to come to earth and give Your life for me and then to dwell in me as You Holy Spirit. But I am so glad that You do live in me and You make me one with You. May Your Spirit guide every part of my life until I am together with You in heaven. Amen.