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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Repentance – part 22

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Ephesians 1:7–10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Repentance 

X. That the power of the keys frees our souls from purgatory through indulgences.

Pulling It Together

On March 31, 1515, Pope Leo X issued an indulgence that promised to forgive the temporal punishments of sins for anyone who purchased that certificate. These indulgences were especially attractive purchases, even to the poor, because it was thought that if enough indulgences could be acquired, people could free themselves—or even others—from the sins that kept people in purgatory.

The fault with indulgences lies not only in who it is that forgives sin, but in what this forgiveness costs. God’s gracious forgiveness is a gift to those who believe in the one who redeemed them with the price of his own life (1 Cor 6:20; Gal 3:13). Forgiveness is not something we may purchase at any price. The power of the keys is the authority of Christ who eternally showers his forgiveness on us at the cost of his blood, not the authority of the Church to temporally forgive with the price of a coin. The remission of sins and eternal life without a purgatory are granted to those who believe in the riches of Christ. We have redemption, not through our purchasing power but, through the riches of his grace.

Prayer: Thank you for redeeming me, Lord, and for forgiving me through your grace. Amen. 

Winning, Losing, Loving ; The Gospel in the Old Testament traces themes of chosenness, sin, and grace throughout the early books of the Bible. These cycles of sin and redemption point forward toward God's ultimate act of redemption in Jesus Christ.

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