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67. The indulgences which the demagogues acclaim as the greatest graces are actually understood to be such only insofar as they promote gain.

In the sales talks that the indulgence sales force was having, they promoted indulgences as the greatest grace. Luther makes the point that they are only great at promoting gain for the church it was a grace to them, but not to the one who buys the indulgence.

Thinking more about the needs of the church than the needs of the individual people of the church is a problem that has continued all the way until today. Sometimes members of a congregation will say, “we need to get more people to join or our church will die”. They are more concerned about preserving the church than they are about saving the people who need Christ in their lives. The needs of the people are secondary to the needs of the congregation.

Jesus has promised that he will be with us, as His believing children, always to the end of the earth. He has not promised that He would keep churches to the end of time, in fact we know that churches are things of this world and as such they will pass away as all earthly things do. Because a human soul last forever and a church does not, we should be way more concerned about protecting the souls of people than protecting the churches of the people.

Prayer

Father, fill me with a love and concern for all those lost people around me. Give me a heart that aches for those who do not know You. Please allow me to fill my life with opportunities to reach out to those in need with the saving power of Your grace and salvation. In Christ Amen.