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Thread: What does John 20:23 mean?

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    tWebber
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    What does John 20:23 mean?

    John 20: 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 After saying this, He breathed on them and said,[d] “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

    Surely these Scriptures do not mean we can forgive and retain the sins of others. After all, we are all sinners.

    Thank you.

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    tWebber Faber's Avatar
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    Hebrew and Aramaic verbs (Jesus spoke Aramaic) have a causative form, such as "if you cause to be forgiven" or "cause to be retained". We don't do the forgiving, but by spreading the Gospel, we can help bring about that forgiveness.

  3. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Non-Orthodox/Catholic interpreters more or less have to discern something along Faber's lines in order to make sense of the verse. A much more straightforward reading is that Jesus delegated the authority to forgive sins (which he had from the Father, and proved in Mat. 9:6) to the apostles here, which in turn was passed on to their successors in Catholic/Orthodox tradition. This is why priests absolve sins after confession.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

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  5. Amen thewriteranon, Leonhard, Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    I have thought that this meant the priesthood of believers, where in corporate fellowship (the "you" here in this verse is plural), in church discipline, sins can be forgiven--or not.

    "The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him..." (2 Cor. 2:6-7)

    "... and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Mat. 18:17-18)

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Non-Orthodox/Catholic interpreters more or less have to discern something along Faber's lines in order to make sense of the verse. A much more straightforward reading is that Jesus delegated the authority to forgive sins (which he had from the Father, and proved in Mat. 9:6) to the apostles here, which in turn was passed on to their successors in Catholic/Orthodox tradition. This is why priests absolve sins after confession.
    Amen, its the simplest interpretation and its how the early Church read it.

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    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    This verse was a topic of discussion within this thread.
    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

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    "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faber View Post
    Hebrew and Aramaic verbs (Jesus spoke Aramaic) have a causative form, such as "if you cause to be forgiven" or "cause to be retained". We don't do the forgiving, but by spreading the Gospel, we can help bring about that forgiveness.
    I found this commentary by John Gill that I think says it well:

    John 20:23
    Whose soever sins ye remit

    God only can forgive sins, and Christ being God, has a power to do so likewise; but he never communicated any such power to his apostles; nor did they ever assume any such power to themselves, or pretend to exercise it; it is the mark of antichrist, to attempt anything of the kind; who, in so doing, usurps the divine prerogative, places himself in his seat, and shows himself as if he was God: but this is to be understood only in a doctrinal, or ministerial way, by preaching the full and free remission of sins, through the blood of Christ, according to the riches of God's grace, to such as repent of their sins, and believe in Christ; declaring, that all such persons as do so repent and believe, all their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake: and accordingly,

    they are remitted unto them;

    in agreement with Christ's own words, in his declaration and commission to his disciples; see ( Mark 16:16 ) ( Luke 24:47 ) . On the other hand he signifies, that

    whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained:

    that is, that whatsoever sins ye declare are not forgiven, they are not forgiven; which is the case of all final unbelievers, and impenitent sinners; who dying without repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel declaration, shall be damned, and are damned; for God stands by, and will stand by and confirm the Gospel of his Son, faithfully preached by his ministering servants; and all the world will sooner or later be convinced of the validity, truth, and certainty, of the declarations on each of these heads, made by them.

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    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    What exactly is the key to heaven? My money says it is the Gospel.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedidiah View Post
    What exactly is the key to heaven? My money says it is the Gospel.
    Well, it's keys, plural, though, right? The Gospel is indeed the key to heaven, yet it seems the context of the one of the verses of binding and loosing, have to do with forgiveness of sins.

    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

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    Surely one endowed with the Holy Spirit is enabled to forgive and retain. Can we not differentiate between sincere repentance and stubborn rebellion? What does this mean: Have I not said you are gods... to whom the Word of God comes? Will we not judge even Angels?

  13. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.

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