78.We say on the contrary that even the present pope, or any pope whatsoever, has greater graces at his disposal, that is, the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written. (1 Co 12[:28])
Those selling the indulgences were prone to say that indulgences gave people access to greater graces that any pope could normally give, this was a special offer, one time only, get it before it goes away forever. Luther says that this is totally a sales pitch and untrue. As believers in Jesus Christ we have access to greater graces than indulgences as Paul describes them in I Corinthians 12:28. These are gifts of God’s Holy Spirit that only the Spirit can give.
Paul says that the Spirit gives us gifts that we did not deserve which makes it true grace. He details many of these gifts here in Corinthians 12. We believe that God gives these gifts as He chooses, not everyone gets the same gifts. Prophecy, teaching, wisdom, tongues are a few that Paul mentions different gifts for different people. But we know that all the gifts are given for the good of the family of believers.
Luther makes it sound like only the pope has access to these gifts, but we believe that all believers have some gift. These “graces” or gifts are from the Holy Spirit not from the pope. Not all the same but all have gifts the pope included. When all of these are put together we have all that we need to strengthen the family of God in this place.
As I Corinthians 12 says we are all fit together as one body. What gift has God given you? What can you do for the body of Christ in your community? Remember those gifts are better than any man made grace spoken of in the church.
Holy Spirit You are the hands and arms of God. Visit me with Your gifts and make me aware of what I have received, that I may serve You and the Father. Show me just how my life fits into the lives of those around me in the family of God. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.