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Today is All Saint’s Day. And you thought it was Halloween. Not at Hank’s Place! On this day in 1517 Martin Luther posted his “Disputation on the Power of Indulgences” or “95 Theses,” to the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. The Reformation was underway!
Indulgences (Latin for ‘debt repayment’), pertained to a person’s separation from God after death in a place called Purgatory where a person ‘atoned’ for their sins. They paid their sin debt. Sins, said the church then, had been forgiven by God, but sin DEBT had to be personally atoned for by suffering for your evil deeds, or, by indulgences.
Indulgences, you see, could be PURCHASED! A person could pay it forward and reduce their future torment. So, people bought indulgences. The larger the sum the more repayment of debt. Clever, right? For yourself, a loved one – even for those dead. Your payment, made to the church, would spring them out of Purgatory’s pain.
Then Martin Luther, a pious monk, found Ro 1:17, “the just shall live by faith,” not money given to the church. At the time people were taught that money talks, it makes blessings flow and BOOM – sin debts were paid! Luther took issue, declaring, “Indulgences are pious frauds of the faithful.” JESUS has taken our sin away; AND – JESUS has born the punishment for them – JESUS death at Calvary IS the Atonement, the sacrificial and substitutional death Jesus for all people. He has risen, my friend and that tells us IT IS TOTALLY FINISHED – PAYMENT IN FULL has been made!
Can money buy blessings today? Will money gain God’s Favor? Well, some churches stress the tithe. Command it. People are pressured and shamed, extorted into “giving” 10%. Blessings upon blessings are promised — but only as you tithe.
Friend, you couldn’t buy blessings in Luther’s day; you cannot buy blessings now. Jesus didn’t die so you could tithe. He in fact rebuked the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites for nullifying the TRUE word of God through their traditions. Mk 7:7-13. Search the New Testament – you will find that generous giving is encouraged. You have Christ Jesus, within, so generous giving is a part of you. GIVE — because that’s who you are. The Holy Spirit has replaced the tithe – listen to Him, not a calculator! Blessings? You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing already, because of Jesus’ Atonement.
It’s Reformation Day! So come out from under the cloud of obligation and condemnation. Money cannot buy you blessings, you’ve already got them in Jesus, so – COME ALIVE!
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