39. It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the bounty of indulgences and the need of true contrition.
What Luther was saying in this Thesis was that even the best theologian was going to have a hard time convincing people that they needed to confess their sin, when the people knew that they could simply buy the indulgences and not have to confess at all.
In order to have true contrition as Luther speaks of here, a person would need to humble themselves before God and confess that they have sinned. It is not in the nature of man to be humble! Only when Jesus Christ comes to live in us do we have the ability to confess and humble ourselves. That is the grace of God that he gave His Son so that we could receive forgiveness and salvation.
We have a war within our own bodies, our sinful nature wants us to take the easy way out and simply “buy” forgiveness, we don’t have to humble ourselves or even confess our sin. But the “Christ” within us is calling us into a relationship with God where, “God is God and we are his people” in that relationship we know that we live under Him in His kingdom. Once we realize that then we can live in the forgiveness of God.
Lord God I come to You as Your humble child. Because Jesus died for me I am bold enough to come before You in prayer and I confess that I have done what I should not have done and I have left undone what I should have done. I ask the You forgive me for the sake of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In His name, Amen.