7. God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest.
In the next few Theses Luther speaks about what he believes the forgiveness of God does. In these Theses he states that if a person has repented in their heart and asked God to forgive, God will forgive and take away the sin and the guilt. He feels that if you have had your guilt taken away you will also be humbled and you will voluntarily submit to the church.
Remember that the main reason for Luther writing these statements was his reaction to the sale of indulgences and the problems that was bringing in the local churches. People who had bought indulgences were not humbled, on the contrary they were proud and stubborn, because they believed that they had a level of forgiveness that went above the power of the local priest and that this forgiveness was even for sins that had not yet been committed. So they were living in their pride and selfishness.
Today the church does not sell indulgences but some who have received forgiveness by the power of the Holy Spirit so that their relationship with God is restored have also succumbed to the temptation of the devil. As with the people of Luther’s day instead of making them humble, they get filled with pride and decide that they have a special relationship with God that no one else can have, not the pastor or anyone else in the church. So that in their pride of their relationship with God they believe that they are accountable to no one. The only difference between these people of today and the people of Luther’s day is that today they do not have to pay for indulgences.
The devil has been working with that kind of pride in our forgiveness and restoration for the last 500 years!
Dear God, from the beginning of time the devil has known that our weakness is in our pride and selfishness; today I pray that you would bind his power to ensnare me. Please do not let the beautiful relationship that I have with You in Jesus Christ be a cause for pride, but rather humble me before all people that I may serve all even as Your Son Jesus did. In His name, Amen.