“As soon as the coin in coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” This phrase attributed by some to the time of Martin Luther , sprang to mind when I thought about the Christmas Card which I mentioned in the previous post, where the sender had written “The rich buy forgiveness”. This is where, in Luther’s day, he felt that the church had come unstuck.
I have read quite a few biographies of great men and women in the church. I waded my way through John Calvin, couldn’t put down John Wesley (so to speak) and found Luther very personable and his story as exciting as any good novel. His life was a roller coaster and to my surprise so relevant to todays’ society. I’ve always been inspired by the “Greats”, Hudson Taylor, Elizabeth Fry , Amy Carmichael,Arthur Matthews and a late old friend Dr. Rupert Clarke, to name but a few. It is a faith boost to read about what God did in the lives of these people and how they served him.
Going back to Luther, he was having a problem with the Pope,who was trying to finish building St. Peter’s Cathedral, mainly through promoting the buying of forgiveness for the sins of your dead relatives. This among other things really got Luther in a lather. You could also buy forgiveness for sins you had not yet committed thus making the death and resurrection of Jesus pointless.
The Church all over Europe was in a state of array. ” All church offices were for sale. You could buy a bishopric for your relative and they would make a special exemption.
Everybody knew this. It took someone like Luther to stand up and say, “Enough.” He ran a very real risk of being burned alive, and in the end it was a very close thing.” But I’ll let you read about it for yourself.But Within 20 years, all of northern Europe had joined in the Reformation.
So that was where the remark on the Christmas Card took me. God thankfully paid the price for our sin, and no matter whether we are filthy rich or dirt poor as far as our pecuniary state goes, we cannot buy forgiveness. Nor do we need too , the recognition that Jesus died for each of us is enough, followed by our committing our lives to him.
As we start a New Year, we need more Luthers ,Wesleys, Hamiltons, folk who will stand up for what we believe , they weren’t famous when they started out, but they had faith, and couldn’t keep quiet about it.
If you do nothing else this year ,read about the life of one of the “biggies”, and I hope it will inspire you and increase your faith.
Happy New Year!