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75. To consider papal indulgences so great that they could absolve a man even if he had done the impossible and had violated the mother of God is madness.

In an effort to sell as many indulgences as possible the sellers made outrageous claims. One preacher had said that the indulgences were so powerful that you could get forgiveness even if you violated Mary the mother of Jesus. Once again this highlights Luther’s concern that people were buying indulgences and expecting forgiveness by God when they were not at all repentant.

Certainly there is forgiveness for all sins, ever that ridiculous one described above, but only for the truly repentant person. But this forgiveness is the gift of God not the gift of the pope. The forgiveness is ours not because of any action on our part but on account of the actions of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

So what does it mean to be repentant? We cannot live a life worthy of forgiveness unless we have already been forgiven. Once the Spirit comes to us and we believe then we have the forgiveness of God and our lives change. We live a repentant life because we are forgiven not in order to get forgiven.

Buying indulgences would probably lead to living a more sinful life. Receiving the Spirit of God gives one the assurance of forgiveness and eternal life and that will lead to living a more holy life.

Prayer

Father in Heaven I thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit that has led to a new life in You. May I learn to live by Your Holy will and show Your love to all that I come into contact with. Make me new in You Jesus, Amen.