This morning, I read quickly through all the theses, realizing how the indulgence trade sparked the reformation debate. The indulgence sale for the sins of those in purgatory, was the opposite to the Christian faith, a perversion, a greater one could not be imagined. The sheep were being fleeced while deprived of pastoral care, without the preaching of repentance and faith in Christ. A wolf was pretending to be shepherd. The indulgence salesman was authorized by the papacy.
Former critics had been put to death. Savonarola, Hus, were the first martyrs of the Reformation, even before Luther came along. He, too, was to be killed, but he lived, and wrote, and spoke, and argued, and set the world on fire for freedom in Christ who is the true Lord and lover of the church.
I love here, the reversal of how the gospel makes the first, last, and indulgences make the last, to be first. The Gospel is a reversal, but indulgences reverse the reversal: the ones with the most money to spend can make it into heaven the fastest. The closest to the ecclesiastical levers of power, can even be the ones to profit from it all monetarily. It was as sick, as sick could be. And how does Luther go about it? He writes and calls for debate.
"The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." The church of the day, asked the sheep to lay down their lives for the false shepherds.
1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.
62. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.
64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
94. Christians are to be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death, and hell;
95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations, rather than through the false assurance of peace.