I Timothy 2:4-6
The Wittenberg church in Germany where Luther had posted his Ninety-five Theses held one of Europe's largest collections of religious artifacts or holy relics which were preserved as memento or souvenir of a saint. Usually they were a bone or some part of their clothing by which the person was remembered.
These had been piously collected by Prince Frederick III, who was the ruler over Germany. By 1509 Frederick had collected over 5,000 relics which allegedly included vials of milk from the virgin Mary, straw from the manger of Jesus and the body of one of the baby boys killed by King Herod.
The relics were exhibited once a year for the faithful to view with reverence and respect because of the great significance of the relic. At that time viewing of the relics believed to allow the viewer to receive relief from temporal punishment for their sins in purgatory.
In 1509 Each devout visitor who donated toward the preservation of the Wittenberg church received an indulgence of one hundred days per relic. This would allow the person relief of 100 days in and therefore they would go to heaven that much sooner.
By 1520 Frederick had increased his collection to over 19,000 relics which allowed pilgrims viewing them to receive an indulgence that would allow them to reduce their time in
purgatoary by 5,209 years.
People believed that if they supported keeping the relics of the saints who had lived they would receive some of the saints goodness themselves. The saints good deeds would also have
an affect on their lives so God would forgive their sins and eventually accept them into heaven because of the goodness given to them by the saints they worshiped.
Man has always looked for a way to save himself from his sins by doing something he believed would make God happy. The truth is there is nothing we can do that will make us righteous with a holy God because we are sinners by nature and by choice. Isaiah ...
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