77. To say that even St. Peter if he were now pope, could not grant greater graces is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.
In many of these Theses Luther speaks against those priests that were selling the indulgences but in this one he even accuses them of blasphemy. Blasphemy is a statement or action about or to someone that makes them less than what they were and often involves an untruth. Most often blasphemy refers to statements or actions that make God less in the eyes of others. Here Luther says that those who in their zeal to sell indulgences would say that the indulgences held greater grace than even St. Peter or any pope are guilty of blasphemy. In a way their statements are also blasphemy against God Himself since they lessen the importance of God’s true grace!
The grace of God is truly amazing. To try and explain it is sometimes difficult. But when you can begin to but God’s grace and mercy together you make better sense of it.
Grace is “Getting something that we did not deserve”. So when you do not have to pay a bill right on the date it is due, we say that you have a “grace” period. When someone gives us a compliment for something that we did not really do, we say they were “gracious”. When God gives us heaven when we did not deserve it He shows us His grace.
Mercy is when we “don’t get something that we did deserve”. The judge may choose to show “mercy” by giving a lighter sentence than is deserved. The referee shows mercy to a boxer when he stops the fight. When God does not send us to hell even though that is what we deserve, He shows us mercy.
Luther continues to state that indulgences are nothing like the “Grace of God”.
Thank You God for Your grace and mercy to me. I do not deserve Your love or forgiveness. I certainly do not deserve eternal life with You. You show me mercy everyday as I enjoy a wonderful life when I deserve nothing but death. In Jesus name, Amen.