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70. But they are much more bound to strain their eyes and ears lest these men preach their own dreams instead of what the pope has commissioned.

When the Pope appointed the commissaries to distribute the indulgences he explained to them just what the indulgences were and what they could do. However for many of those who were selling the indulgences they had expanded on what the indulgences could do with their own explanations so that they could sell more. For instance the Pope never said, as some of the commissaries said, “that as soon as the money drops into the coffers a soul flies out of purgatory”. This was something that was added to the power of the indulgences by those selling them.

Therefore Luther in this Thesis is asking those with power of the parishes to watch what the commissaries are saying and make sure that they are not overselling the power of the indulgences. By a year after Luther released the 95 Theses he had come to realize that the indulgences had no power at all.

Preaching the words of men over the Word of God is still something that we look out for today in the church. The Word of God will always convict us of our sin and lead us to repentance. The temptation for those preaching is to add something to what they say that will make it more acceptable to those who hear. However we need to remember that the power is in the Word of God and the grace of God, not in what a man says.


Holy Father I come to You out of repentance today. Please hear my cry for mercy and visit me with the forgiveness that only Christ could earn for me. Allow me to know the sweet joy of Your love for me. In Christ, Amen.