They Overcame by the Blood of the Lamb

(Matthew 16:19; John 20:22-23; Acts 2:38; Revelation 12:11)

In the dark ages, the Catholic Church began a belief in Purgatory: a temporary hell where one must pay for every unremitted sin. It also developed a system of indulgences that were guaranteed to shorten one’s stay in purgatory.

These indulgences were signed by the Pope and could be purchased or earned by participating in Church activities.

The belief in the Pope’s authority to grant the remission of sins was based on Jesus’ statement to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into His disciples, saying, “He whose sins you remit, they are remitted” (John 20:22-23). On the Day of Pentecost, Peter opened the gates of heaven when he told everyone to be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38).

The Pope claimed that he had the keys to heaven as the bishop of Rome.

It was this authority, that Martin Luther protested in his 95 theses of October 31, 1517.

In Theses 26, he said: “The pope does very well when he grants remission to souls in purgatory, not by the power of the keys, which he does not have, but by way of intercession for them.”

In the spring of 1518, Luther debated another 28 theses in Heidelberg, where he brought the message of salvation by grace through faith.

Thesis 26 said, “The law says, »do this«, and it is never done. Grace says, »believe in this«, and everything is already done.”

With Paul’s message of salvation by faith, Martin Luther brought the theology that liberated Europe from the power of the beast.

In his 1535 commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther wrote “[Christ] might have satisfied for all the sins of the world by only one drop of His blood…” Luther emphasized that righteousness comes by faith—to find salvation through works, was to deny, blaspheme and spit on Christ.

The Apostle John said, “they overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11).