John 20:23 Apostle to forgive sins

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Mickes, Nov 21, 2002.

  1. Mickes

    Mickes
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    Could anyone explain this verse I've recently been wittnessing to a roman catholic preist and although I was able to explain other verse he stumped me with this one. He proclaims this is why the preist have the power to forgive sins. I know they don't but this looks like the apostles did.
     
  2. Johnv

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    This is a good topic, as the the Bible is clear about the apostles being given the power to forgive sins. I await peoples' responses, as I am curious as well. One matter of viewing this is who the apostles are represented by today. Are we all apostles? Or are we desciples, with those who are in roles of pastor being apostles?
     
  3. JonHenry

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    Watchman Nee takes an approach on this topic in his book "Love One Another".

    He finds 4 different kinds of forgiveness in the Bible: Eternal (between God and an unsaved man), Borrowed (imparted by a man of God), Communional (between a Christian & God) and Governmental (between a Christian & the church court).

    He believed that this passage refers to borrowed forgiveness, and says that it is vital to note that they received the Holy Ghost directly before this decree. He makes a clear distinction against what the RomanCC teaches, saying that it is in direct relation to the physical church, not to actual salvation.

    Nee goes all over the place theologically, but I like this particular explanation.

    Jon
     
  4. Rev. G

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    The Apostles are representatives of the Church. The forgiveness of sins / retaining of sins is tied to the "keys of the kingdom" - which has to do with Church "membership" and Church discipline.
     
  5. Johnv

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    [Nee says forgiveness of sins] is in direct relation to the physical church, not to actual salvation

    I don't think anyone disputes that here. The questions seems to be more of what the biblical reference to "receiving the power to forgive sins" means, not how it relates to salvation.
     
  6. tfisher

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    Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained [John 20:23].

    This is an important verse which is greatly misunderstood. John Calvin writes: “When Christ enjoins the apostles to forgive sins, He does not convey to them what is peculiar to Himself. It belongs to Him to forgive sins. He only enjoins them in His name to proclaim the forgiveness of sins.”
    Nowhere in the Book of Acts or in the Epistles do we find any instance of an apostle remitting the sins of anyone. They do go everywhere, proclaiming the forgiveness of sins. Let me ask the question: What is it that forgives sins? Even God cannot just arbitrarily forgive sins. Forgiveness of sins is only and alone through the blood of Jesus Christ. Back in the Old Testament, the forgiveness of sins was based on the fact that Christ would come and die. God saved “on credit” in the Old Testament until Christ would come and pay the penalty. Today God forgives our sins when we believe that Christ died for them.
    How can you and I remit sins? By telling the gospel! This is the greater work which we shall do. When somebody turned and believed on Jesus while He was here on earth, that was wonderful. But what is staggering is when you or I simply give out the Word of God, and someone is born again and becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them” happens when you and I proclaim the gospel of the grace of God. That is the most glorious privilege that there is today, my friend.
    We have a responsibility. If we do not preach the gospel to the world, their sins will not be remitted. I think we are reaping the penalty for the years we have not taken the gospel to the world. Because we have neglected our responsibility, our boys die in war. Just think, if all the boys we have lost in war had been willing to lose their lives for Christ and be missionaries, how different the world might be! We have the only thing that will bring forgiveness to the world. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. My friend, what are you doing?

    J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    I like the statement of McGee that "nowhere" in the Acts or Epistles do we find one reference of the Apostles "remitting" sin.

    So certainly, since they were the only apostles and I haven't heard of another (unless we count Joseph Smith) since them, there must be another understanding of this text.

    If man can "remit" (forgive, cancel) sin, then WHY DID JESUS DIE?
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    The answer is found in the text. The word "remit" is a perfect tense in Greek. The verse reads: Whoever sins you remit have been remitted and whoever sins you retain have been retained. It is referring to the apostolic authority to declare to someone that their sins have been forgiven. They are not forgiving sin; they are declaring them forgiven on the basis of the person's faith in what Christ did.

    The apostles were never given the authority to forgive sins. In fact, remember that no one can forgive sins except God alone.
     
  9. romanbear

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    Hi everyone; [​IMG]
    This verse says to me, that we are to forgive those who sin against us and the one's we don't forgive aren't forgiven.We are to forgive or we won't be forgiven isn't this true?
    Romanbear [​IMG]
    Peace
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    That's not what this verse says.
     
  11. Jim1999

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    In the first place, consider there were more than apostles present when this statement is made, and one apostle is even absent.

    Could it be that this declaration is to be made by the Spirit filled local church or even the larger total church?

    It follows the Old Testament rabbinical concept of forgiving certain sins and not others, or as they word it "bound" and "loosed".

    We do have the authority of the Holy Spirit to declare a person "saved" or "not saved" based on the witness of the Spirit; His Word.

    Since others were present at the time, this dispells the notion that either the apostles or any ministers were given the sole authority to forgive sins.

    It is significant to notice that when Thomas did present himself with the apostles, the above statement in question was not repeated. One would think a message of such importance would be repeated so that ALL apostles had the same "power"

    Just another thought.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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