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87. Again, “What does the pope remit or grant to those who by perfect contrition already have a right to full remission and blessings?”

This question is based on the notion that some people could be perfectly contrite and therefore have already earned full remission of sins and the Lord’s blessings. What would the Pope be able to give to these people since all he had was remission for sins and the promise of blessings.

The problem with this question comes in that no one can be “perfectly contrite”. As long as human beings live in this sin filled world we are unable to be perfect at anything. This also brings up the misunderstanding that sins and works of contrition can be weighed and measured and that the desire is that they should weigh out equal.

Luther was rediscovering the truth that sin is a condition of man that separates him from the perfectly holy God of the universe. This relationship cannot be restored by a certain number of “good works”. Therefore it also cannot be restored by indulgences that represent false good works.

Full remission and blessings are truly the gifts of God for His people. God gives them free of charge and out of love for His people. Christ came into the world and lived and died so that we can have these precious gifts and no man, not even the Pope, controls them.


Dear God in Heaven I thank You that You have loved me more than I can love myself and You have saved me from my own sinful nature. I could never merit Your love and forgiveness, so I thank You that You have loved me and saved me anyway. Through Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.