25 Aug 2002

If you forgive anyone his sins, he is forgiven?

Submitted by theshovel
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in another list i am on they are talking about forgivenss and this John 20:23 came up and am wondering how others interprate it„ Monky

If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. John 20:23 NIV

Hi Monky!

    A few questions need to be considered:
  • WHO did Jesus say this to?
  • How would THEY have taken it?
  • How did their words reveal their understanding of this?
  • Jesus spoke this to the men he had chosen out of the world who would speak for him. The fact that they were ordinary men is very significant because it highlights the radical nature of his statements. It has been through the witness of these men who had seen and beheld and handled the eternal life (Christ) that the reality of forgiveness has passed on to millions over the centuries.

    Now, how would they have taken this statement of Jesus? Remember, they were right there with him when the religious men of the time had asked their question: How can this man forgive sins when only God can forgive sins? I can guarantee you that the disciples came to understand through the Spirit (who was later given) that it was God Himself working through them in their message of forgiveness.

    The fact is that there was no other message than that preached by the apostles that presented the reality of forgiveness so that those who were forgiven by THEIR words were truly forgiven. Those who rejected the message THEY preached were not forgiven as they those who rejected it were only seeking forgiveness through some other means than through Christ.

    This was the very thing they demanded as they declared the forgiveness made by Christ, for they claimed that outside of HIM there is no forgiveness … for there was NONE in the law or in any other name. Probably none expressed it as well as did the apostle Paul when he demanded that:

    I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. Galatians 1:6-10

    According to Paul there was no other gospel than the one he preached, the gospel which the other disciples had agreed was the one and only (in chapter 2). Those who try to make the simple words of Jesus in the John verse say anything other than what the disciples later expressed apparently assume they can read something else into the statement that they never did.

    Hope this helps,


    jim„yes it does help„thanks„cause i beleive that Jesus forgave all people for all time whether they repent or not „and when i said that in the other list that verse came up and i didnt know how to respond„but now i have a better idea of how to respond„,thanks :)

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