According to GC (The Great Controversy) Chapter 7: “Luther’s Separation from Rome“, there was this man named Tetzel,
“the official appointed to conduct the sale of indulgences in Germany” (GC 127),
“ascending the pulpit, extolled indulgences as the most precious gift of GOD” (GC 128)
“declared that by virtue of his certificates of pardon, all the sins which the purchaser should afterward desire to commit would be forgiven him.” (GC128)
Today, we already see that the purchase of a certificate as a license to commit sin is obviously an unreasonable, objectionable thing. We could just condemn right away without a shadow of doubt this practice as truly a work of Satan.
The opposition of Martin Luther to the sale of indulgences, as well as of the Swiss Reformer Zwingle (GC Chapter 9) are in their time a great stir against the papacy and the ignorance of the people of the Bible truth of justification by faith – and today with all the light that has been given us we could only say that Satan’s tactic at that very time was cheap. Only fools, we say, could be led to believe that a paper purchasable with money could give you pardon from, and much less, license to sin!
Deep darkness has indeed blocked the minds of the people in that time of the earliest Reformation years that caused them not to see the light we see now. GOD, according to these texts,
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.
In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;
(Eph 1:5-7 [KJV])
has given us the free gift of salvation, redemption, the forgiveness of sins – and that at the great cost of the blood of Jesus! But, even with this knowledge, we could be of no less danger than the people of Luther’s time today. The “riches of GOD’s grace,” giving so much life-giving light to the blinded in the 1400-1500’s, is today being thwarted by Satan to produce the same argument that has already fooled many in the past. True, we do not today purchase papers to excuse our sins or our sins-to-be, but how often it is heard of a great many well-meaning people, that GOD’s graciousness toward us, obtained not by money but by the cost of Jesus’ blood, is just so abundant that He would just understand if you would consent to compromise with sin “even just this once.”
A little bit of familiar example might help into the understanding of this deceit. A friend, classmate, teacher or aunt of yours hears that you probably can’t enter into your dream school because its entrance exam is on a Saturday afternoon. These people then approach you trying to rationalize and brainwash you that GOD would understand anyway if you did take the exam! Even just this once! So you then..urrggh…think twice though it doesn’t in any way deserve to be thought of twice because transgressing the Sabbath is never an option! By virtue of the grace of GOD that has been bought with the great price of the blood of Christ but has been given you for free Satan makes a fool of you in making you think that you can have an excuse and a license to sin!
These and the like arguments are the modern indulgences being “merchandised” by the enemy of truth! So often we fall into this trap because the license is more subtly presented as the greatness of the graciousness and mercy of GOD! But this is still a patterned deceit – patterned from Satan’s primary work of blinding us to the true character of GOD that is reflected in His law.
As the Scriptures strongly put forth,
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
(Rom 6:1,2 [KJV])
The world’s unnecessary question of law and grace just falls into this category of deceit. Modern indulgences – oh, they are much more like the Protestant world’s form of the Romanist indulgences – proclaiming, instead of a certificate, the grace of GOD itself, as a license to sin. And if you dive into their rationalizations that “GOD would just understand anyway,” you are consenting the enemy’s traffic.
For the mean time, let us end this note with a warning that has long been put forth by the Holy Spirit of Prophecy.
Another deception was now to be brought forward. Satan declared that mercy destroyed justice, that the death of Christ abrogated the Father’s law. Had it been possible for the law to be changed or abrogated, then Christ need not have died. But to abrogate the law would be to immortalize transgression, and place the world under Satan’s control. It was because the law was changeless, because man could be saved only through obedience to its precepts, that Jesus was lifted up on the cross. Yet the very means by which Christ established the law Satan represented as destroying it. Here will come the last conflict of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. (DA762,763)
This article was first published at Facebook notes, April 28, 2011.