36. Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.
This is one of the Theses that state clearly the problem that Luther had with indulgences. He believed, and rightly so, that the letters of indulgence were not needed. Forgiveness is available to all who believe in the actions of Christ on our behalf without any purchase.
I think that the church always ends up adding things to that free gift because we live with the feeling that “nothing is for free” surely we need to do something. Truly forgiveness is not free, but Christ has paid the price for us all. His death paid for the sins of all people for all time.
This is the love of God, “that while we were yet sinners He died for us”. This gift of salvation is the evidence of God’s grace. This is so very hard for us to accept. Even as believers we say, “yes but we need to do something”. It is truly humbling to live by the grace of God! We have to deny ourselves and trust completely in the grace of God. This is not easy for a proud human being. That is why God has to send us His Holy Spirit in order for us to believe and overcome our own pride and accept the gift that God has for us. I cannot even believe in the merits of Christ on my own but the Spirit living in me believes and humbles me so that I can accept the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Lord God, I come to You today as a forgiven sinner who wants only to live for You as the one who saves me from myself and gives me new life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I may live forever in You. In Jesus name, Amen.