Romans was an important book in the sixteenth-century Reformation, as was the topic of how one was justified in the sight of God. And one part of the cultural revolution that occurs was over how sins were punished. For instance, here are a couple of Martin Luther’s theses:
– The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.
– The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or, to be sure, by remitting guilt in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven.
Our passage in Romans 3 has something to say about that, but let’s remember some of the context. (more…)