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40. A Christian who is truly contrite seeks and loves to pay penalties for his sins; the bounty of indulgences, however, relaxes penalties and causes men to hate them — at least it furnishes occasion for hating them.

What Luther is alluding to in this Thesis is the fact that confession and absolution (forgiveness) lead us to action. When God calls us His forgiven children we want to act like God’s children just as Christ did. To act as Christ with our lives may cause us pain of body and soul for this world hates Christ and His Father and anyone who identifies with Them.

Buying indulgences takes us out of the forgiven child position and puts us in the earthly position of bartering with God for our forgiveness. When we do this we turn our relationship with God upside down. We act like we have something to offer God that merits forgiveness, something other than humble confession of sin.

When things are viewed correctly even our confession does not merit anything. We confess because we know that we are already forgiven. But as Luther states, in this life on earth there are consequences for our sin. We suffer from the decisions that we make. Our sin hurts us and others and as long as we live on this earth we will suffer the results of sin. Luther points out that when we correctly understand our relationship with God through Jesus. We can face those consequences with peace and joy for we are forgiven by God.


Dear God please come into me with Your Spirit that I may know You and Jesus Christ whom You sent. That knowing You I may live my life here on earth with gratitude. I can also live with joy, peace and love all the gifts that You give to Your children. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.