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61. For it is clear that the pope’s power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself.

Here Luther makes the perfectly logical statement that the pope has the power to absolve the penalties that he himself imposed. These were the man made rules and punishments of the church. Certainly if he made the rule he could put that punishment aside.

That is something that has not yet gone away today. The church of every denomination has man made rules. Things that they want their people to abide by that are not part of the bible. The Catholic Church has the rule against priests being married. Some of the American denominations have rules against drinking or dancing. At different times churches have had rules against praying with people not in your church or even buying insurance or joining the Boy Scouts.

Most of these rules stem from the idea that as a church we are a close family. As a family we want to look out for each other in the family and keep them from harm and sin and most importantly from losing the faith. So within each “Family” there are rules that are made to try and protect people from sin and losing their faith. In my earthly family we had a rule that the children would not watch the TV Show the “Simpsons”. I did not feel that the people on that cartoon show treated each other with respect and the children did not honor their parents. So we made a rule that they could not watch that show. Some church families feel that dancing would lead to sexual sins and therefore they forbid dancing just to protect their people. These rules are not wrong and not always bad, but they should not have the strength of the Scripture.

The Bible contains the rules of God and those are more important than the man made kind of rules. God has in mind how we should live because we are His children a part of the Heavenly Family.


Dear heavenly Father, please give me the power of Your Spirit that I may keep the commands of Your Word. Help me also to lead a life that reflects well on You as my Father and on Your church family here on earth. In Your name. Amen.