22 pages • 44 minutes readMartin Luther
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“When our Lord and Teacher Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent, etc.,’ he meant that the entire life of believers be a life of repentance.”
Luther begins by quoting Jesus Christ to set up his understanding of repentance. This also provides the core of his argument about indulgences, that true absolution is a personal and complex process that cannot be fulfilled through an indulgence.
“God reduces no one’s guilt without, at the same time, humbling them in all things and making them submit to the priest as the vicar of God.”
For Luther, penance is tied to the guilt people feel over their sins. Reducing guilt and achieving absolution is up to the individual and to God. Not even the pope can reduce someone’s guilt; the pope cannot absolve anyone of their sins.
“The differences between hell, purgatory, and heaven are akin to the differences between despair, fear, and the assurance of salvation”
Luther compares emotional states to the afterlife. Despair of ever receiving God’s forgiveness is akin with hell while fear of damnation is linked to purgatory. Elsewhere, Luther also associates love with salvation and heaven.