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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : John 20:23

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philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

HI Elizabeth
I joined up a long time ago when nick-names were all the thing. I wish I hadn't got one myself now... still...

I think it is true that to forgive releases the forgiven but I don't think the John 20 event has that in mind. The context is their 'sending' and the they were instructed to 'receive the Spirit'. I think that setting makes it unlikely that we are talking about individual sins and individual forgivenesses.


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Ron Bailey

 2010/7/6 12:00Profile
Goldminer
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Joined: 2006/11/7
Posts: 1178
Alabama

 Re:

Quote:
I think it is true that to forgive releases the forgiven but I don't think the John 20 event has that in mind. The context is their 'sending' and the they were instructed to 'receive the Spirit'. I think that setting makes it unlikely that we are talking about individual sins and individual forgivenesses.



What about the verses I cited about not laying this sin to their charge, and Father forgive them because they know not what they do. Individuals have asked the Father to not hold a sin against them when they were sinned against. Hey I certainly don't believe these prayers will totally exhonorate them, as they have plenty of sins piled up that nobody asked them to be forgiven for, but we can ask that those against us personally will be forgiven, then we will be forgiven as well, what a trade.


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KLC

 2010/7/6 12:53Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
What about the verses I cited about not laying this sin to their charge, and Father forgive them because they know not what they do. Individuals have asked the Father to not hold a sin against them when they were sinned against.



There are two aspects of forgiveness which need to be examined. In fact there are two different words in the Greek (in fact there are 3!) which are both translated by the English word forgive... but not consistently. I sometimes think it might have been better if we had not used the word 'forgive' but two other words instead.

What is forgiven? the sinner or his sin. The Bible words deal with both.

forgiveness of sins really touches both the 'sinner' and the 'sin'.

sins can be 'remitted' or 'released'. This is a picture from the Day of Atonement when the sins of the nation were confessed over the scape goat which was then chased into the wilderness carrying away the sins of the nation.

the sinner himself is showed 'favour'. God shows himself to be propitious to the offender.

We can operate in both these realms too in a limited sense. If someone sins against me I can 'release' his sins in the sense of 'letting them go'. I don't carry the record. As 1 Cor 13 says 'love keeps no record of sins'.

But I need to be reconciled to the sinner too.

There is an example of these two aspects of sin in 2 Cor where Paul, apparently speaking of the immoral man mentioned in 1 Corinthians,when he says "Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him." 2 Cor 2:8 NKJV

The sin is remitted, released and the 'sinner' is shown grace.


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Ron Bailey

 2010/7/6 13:15Profile
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Joined: 2010/4/21
Posts: 227


 Re:

Thanks for posting this thread the topic came up yesterday in bible study and left me confused. i personally think the context of verse 23 is the disciples being sent into the world. Either way the sins of the sinners would be remitted.

1 Was the remission based on the gospel being shared? If so how was it they were able to not "remit" as they were instructed to share the gospel with "all men".

2 Did they receive special authority to forgive sin?

I must admit that the proclamation that God has forgiven those who believe seems the most highly plausible. But the structure of the language Jesus was using doesn't seem to point to that without me reading into the scripture what it doesn't say. the bit that says who they do not forgive will not be forgiven doesn't reconcile with "preach the gospel to all men".

3 When Jesus would heal someone he atimes said "your sins are forgiven you" Jesus would make this proclamation to those he had released from the bondage or consequences of mans fallen state (disease ,possessions etc) could this be the context Jesus was alluding to. Was he saying he had delegated authority to the disciples to remit / release and set free men from bondage in the same miraculous manner he did using his name?

I need a bit more clarity on this one.

 2010/7/7 6:24Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

rainman
I think we all acknowledge that this is a difficult portion of scripture and consequently we should not be surprised that we are having a struggle with it. I have read fairly widely, in the commentaries, on this passage and have not found a commentator who seems able to give a persuasive answer. We are all speculating to a certain extent.

However we can, as the police might say, eliminate some suspects. The event is so time, person and place specific that I cannot think that this is a general authority given to all Christians. Whatever this was, it seems to be, was very specific.

For me the most comfortable area is still in the connecting this with that Matt 18 passages which speaks of 'binding and releasing'. This, as I mentioned, was one of the functions of the scribes. They defined and determined 'sin' and by that means could 'release' some from what had been seen as sin. They also had the power of defining and determining 'sin' so that by their identification of what was 'sin' and what was not they effectively ''retained" and "released". That goes part of the way, IMHO, but like you I think there is more to see and say... but as yet I don't see it and can't say it. ;-)

Sometimes we have to be prepared to leave passages of scripture for another time. I have a 'back burner' where some passages have been simmering for decades. Occasionally one will come to the boil...


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Ron Bailey

 2010/7/7 7:48Profile









 Re: "To Whom it is Given"

Ron B., let me offer a possible solution.

You said earlier, I believe, that the original saying was restricted those in the upper room, the disciples.

The Catholics restricted it as well, to the clergy.

What if this verse is not for everyone, but is meant for those who are ready to receive it? Not for everyone, just those who are ready?

As I said before, the problem we have in wrapping our minds around this is the same problem the Pharisees had in wrapping their minds around Jesus saying, "Son, your sins are forgiven." They said, "Blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins."

Our difficulty is identical. Some people's response has been identical in this very thread.

It has already been noted that Jesus forgave individuals without their prior repentance. The person brought to him on a mat and the person let down through the roof did not repent before Jesus forgave their sin.

Perhaps effective ministry for some of us requires us to be able to forgive their sin prior to ministry.

I Cor. 12 emphasizes the diversity of gifts and ministries. The idea that the ministry that God gives some people is not tied to verbal repentance would fit with the diversity of gifts and ministries.

But I know it's difficult for some folks to accept the idea that not all of us are called to identical ministries and identical messages.

The particular "difficulty" you refer to seems to me to be intellectual. How do we square this statement theologically, intellectually, with all the Bible says about repentance.

I believe the real "difficulty" is internal to us, that we are inclined NOT to forgive sin, or even want to, but rather enjoy the role of gatekeeper, controlling who gets in and who doesn't.

The Pharisees enjoyed the social authority they enjoyed, based on Scripture and their superior application and understanding of it. But Jesus said they didn't understand that "God wants mercy, not sacrifice."

How few of us are willing to extend mercy from our hearts. Mercy and love both get redefined in eternal terms with only one application: "I am being merciful and loving when I tell someone they're going to hell unless they repent."

That has become, for some of us, our only use for qualities like love and mercy.

Jesus spoke with thunder, yes. But he ONLY spoke with thunder to the experts in the Scripture and the experts in personal holiness. Those would be the Scribes and the Pharisees.

But how we love to thunder against sin. Everyone's sin but our own.

"If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Seems to me that this is directly related to the Romans 2:4.

"Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"

Very similar passages. Forgiveness and tolerance are prior to a person's repentance. This isn't an intellectual. It is an emotional and spiritual situation.

The person is already under a load of guilt and condemnation. When you are tolerant, kind, forgiving, and gentle, people are freed to make that life-altering change of direction, which is true repentance.

The problem: we're viewing this as a theological puzzle where all the pieces have to fit, instead of understanding how people work inside, how gentleness and kindness work.

 2010/7/7 12:07
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

RonG

Quote:
It has already been noted that Jesus forgave individuals without their prior repentance. The person brought to him on a mat and the person let down through the roof did not repent before Jesus forgave their sin.


Where do you find this?


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Ron Bailey

 2010/7/7 14:09Profile









 Re:

I wrote in haste and didn't write precisely enough.

"Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2)

Jesus forgave the paralytic his sins with no apparent action on the paralytic's part at all. We could focus on the role that other people's faith has in the situation, but this remains true.

Jesus forgave the paralytic's sins without the paralytic's repentance of anything.

I believe there is something about people hearing that their sins are forgiven, without them having to do or say anything, that frees them internally to receive the working of God's spirit within them.

This leads to metanoia, a complete change of direction and substance in a person's life.

 2010/7/7 16:04
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
I believe there is something about people hearing that their sins are forgiven, without them having to do or say anything, that frees them internally to receive the working of God's spirit within them.



"He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy." Prov 28:13 NKJV

The sins of someone who intends to continue in that sin cannot be forgiven.

"When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”" John 8:10–11 NKJV

'go and sin no more' is always implied in forgiveness.


Quote:
Jesus forgave the paralytic's sins without the paralytic's repentance of anything



There is a history maxim which says 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'. It is an important truth. You cannot argue for the absence of something just because it isn't mentioned in the document.

Was this man unwilling to be brought to the feet of Jesus? Did he scream and protest all the way to the roof? He did not have the physical ability to get to Christ but there is nothing to indicate his unwillingness.

Further, there is room for asking the question 'when Christ saw their faith... how many persons did he see exercising faith? It is usually presumed that it refers to the 4 who brought him, there is nothing in the grammar to say it wasn't the faith of all five of them.


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Ron Bailey

 2010/7/8 10:49Profile









 Re:

Hi Ron B,

What we're discussing is the heart of the Christian. The focus is on a believer's willingness to have an attitude of forgiveness toward people, other Christians as well as other people in general.

We're not talking about people's attempts to cover their own sins, which is what you referred to: "He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy."

Our attitude toward people is to be characterized by love:

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." (I Peter 4:8)

My love covers over a multitude of sins.

"If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Ron, this is not a theological puzzle to be unravelled. We're talking about Christians and their human relationships, with both Christians and non-Christians.

Love covers over a multitude of sins. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.

I believe these are most easily understood in the context of relationships and ministry, not in some cosmic world of absolutes. But I am not discounting the absolute implications of John 20:23.

There's also the OPPOSITE, which we have not discussed much.

If I do NOT forgive someone their sins, their sins are not forgiven.

Now that's a sobering thought. I'm sure there are some people who do feel comfortable playing "judge" snd "consigning people to hell" by refusing to forgive, based on the Letter of Scripture.

Ron, ministry is not a situation of blacks-and-whites. Let me give you an example.

"Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
--- or you will be like him yourself.
"Answer a fool according to his folly,
--- or he will be wise in his own eyes." (Proverbs 26:4-5)

Two opposite commands, side by side. Each command has a result connected to it. Dealing with fools is not black-and-white. You can make various replies to similar individuals in similar situations.

We are being instructed here to use our heads, to consider the results of our options in dealing with people. A key point: we do have options. We are not limited to a SINGLE option for dealing with the fool. We are not limited to a SINGLE MESSAGE for dealing with the person.

We are not limited to a single option, a single response, or a single message.

Forgiving people is very similar, if not identical, to the situation of dealing with a fool. The concern is with RESULTS to the two people involved.

What will happen to YOU if your forgive, or if you choose NOT to forgive?

What will happen to the OTHER PERSON if you forgive, or if you choose NOT to forgive?

The Scriptural results of our unwillingness to forgive have already been laid out by others in this thread.

Ron G.

 2010/7/8 14:04





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