Jesus tells His disciples,
“For if you forgive men their trespasses,
Father will also forgive you.
But if you don't forgive men their trespasses,
will your Father forgive your trespasses.
The very core of the gospel message
is the truth
that the way someone has their sins forgiven is by having
faith in Jesus Christ
as his or her
Lord and Savior.
In Acts 10:43-44, when Peter was sharing the gospel,
“Everyone who believes in him
receives forgiveness of sins through
First John 5:1-5
tells us only he who believes in Jesus will
overcome the world.
Luke 5:20 says,
“When Jesus saw their faith,
'Friend, your sins are forgiven.’”
Colossians 2:13-14 says Jesus forgave all our sins.
All these passages confirm that
Jesus is the one who forgives sin,
and He forgives all of our sins.
If we have had genuine
Faith in Him,
someone else cannot later decide we are
not forgiven one sin or another. So, what exactly did
Jesus mean in John 20:23?
Only God can forgive sins,
Christ, being God,
power to do so as well,
but He never communicated
power to His disciples,
nor did they ever assume any such power to themselves.
The key to understanding
the meaning of John 20:23 lies in the previous two verses:
"Again Jesus said,
‘Peace be with you!
As the Father has sent me,
I AM sending YOU
And with that he breathed on them and said,
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
He sent them, as
He is sending us,
to bring the
The Way to salvation
heaven to the whole world!
Jesus was leaving the earth physically
promised God would
be with them in
the person of the
Holy Spirit living
As they proclaimed the
they could honestly tell people
in that message that their sins were forgiven, and
they could honestly tell people that did
in the message that their sins were not forgiven
and that they stand condemned in
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
rejects the Son will
not see life,
God’s wrath remains on him”
Believers today have the
share the gospel,
to heaven, to others in the world, and we
about that mission with
Holy Spirit living
guiding us as we share His
We are obligated to tell people the
to be forgiven is
Jesus said in John 8:24,
"If you do not believe that
I AM (God),
you will indeed die in your sins.”
This is the very core
of the gospel message and the very heart
of what we are to explain to the world.
It was Jesus’ last command to
before He physically left
--carry forward the message of hope
and save as-many as will
believe in Him
Jesus preached a crucial message
forgiving our brothers, as God forgave us.
We stand in grace,
and He expects us
our hearts pure toward others,
holding grudges or harboring
spirit of unforgiveness,
especially after He gave us
undeserved love and forgiveness
at such a
high personal cost to Himself!
Jesus said those
He expects us to forgive others
70 times 7 times
We are also told that if we are praying but
hold something against anyone,
we are to forgive that person so
our relationship with
God is right and righteous!
Colossians 3:13 says,
"Forgive whatever grievances you may
have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
We know we are His
if we love
our brothers and don’t hate them
or have unforgiveness in
(1 John 2:3-6; 3:14-19; 4:16-21).
Forgiveness is a key
to showing we indeed have eternal life
according to these passages.
If we say we love God but hate our brother,
we are liars and
no truth is in us.
So, our forgiveness of others is a major indicator of
fellowship with God.
at the heart and actions,
not mere words.
Jesus stated while on earth,
"These people come near to me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.”
So, it’s important we have a
living, genuine faith:
"We know that we have passed from
death to life,
because we love our brothers”
(1 John 3:14).