REMITTING AND RETAINING SINS Apr 23, 2010 17:38:07 GMT -5
Post by tomdurst on Apr 23, 2010 17:38:07 GMT -5
REMITTING AND RETAINING SINS
by Thomas E Durst
by Thomas E Durst
John 20:23 (King James Version)
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
John 20:21-23 (Amplified Bible)
21 Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you! [Just] as the Father has sent Me forth, so I am sending you.
22 And having said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit!
23 [Now having received the Holy Spirit, and being led and directed by Him] if you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained
Recently I was in prayer and reflecting on the thought of retaining and forgiving [remitting] sins. The idea of forgiving people who do something wrong to us personally is very clear in scripture. However, I think Jesus is addressing a more generic issue here and that is either forgiving or retaining [in our thinking] the sins of the larger world around us, people that we see around us everyday, the annoyances that we frequently suffer from the behavior of others, world leaders who do ungodly things, the driver who rudely cuts in front of us or perhaps the driver who is texting and/or talking on his cell phone, etc. The news everyday is literally jam packed with the sinful, insane behavior of our larger world. How can we relate to all of this? Here is where we can learn to either retain or forgive [remit] sins.
What does it mean to retain the sins of others? For me it means to keep allowing myself to dwell on the negative appearance that is right in my face. I could allow myself to even use derogatory language about these people which I've often done and which I need to repent of continually. When I speak negatively I'm holding on to the human appearance and thus passing judgment on other people.
What does it mean to forgive [remit] the sins of others? I believe it means letting go of judgment, condemnation, and thinking evil of them as persons regardless of how bad the outward appearance and behavior appears to be.
When I observe others who don't seem to be living a godly lifestyle I can choose to think judgmental thoughts about them or choose to "remit" or forgive their sins [in my thoughts about them] and ask God to help me to see them in a better way--as spiritual beings in His image and likeness trying to face the same life issues that all of us have but perhaps doing it in ways that seem pretty weird to me. I can walk back and forth in busy areas where sin seems to abound and speak the Word of God [His forgiveness and love]. I can do as Jesus admonished and bless people whom I could easily perceive as enemies if I allow myself to do such. I can pray very specific prayers of blessing and love as I'm led by the Holy Spirit.
This forgiveness [remission] of sins must take place in my attitude towards others and I believe this opens wide the doors for the inflow of Divine Love to make whatever changes need to be made. If I continue to be harsh and judgmental I won't be forgiving their sins [in my thinking] and it is my thinking that needs to be corrected and let God do whatever needs to be done to change the thinking and behavior of people in any given situation. Such a practice goes totally contrary to the reasoning of the carnal mind which keeps telling us, "These troublesome, deviant people are just a bunch of _______." There are many derogatory words that could be used to fill in that blank.
Only God has the authority to forgive [remit] sin in the ultimate sense but I think Jesus was pointing out a principle here of our personal attitude with reference to the sins of others both near and far. I find it personally very challenging and at the same time powerful to work with what I'm seeking to share. I believe that we have scarcely began to scratch the surface of what it means to really apply the principle of forgiveness [remission] of sins in a much wider way. Judgmentalism only magnifies the evil. Seek to apply forgiveness of sins in your home, neighborhood, work place, and wherever you have contact with others and watch God change hearts and lives and thus introduce a greater sense of peace to all. I fall far short of achieving the ideal that I speak of here but by the grace of God I have every intention of continuing to work with it.
The reason I quoted all of the verses above is to point out that it is only as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit that we can put into practice the forgiveness of sins. These words from the quoted verses contain the key: "Now having received the Holy Spirit, and being led and directed by Him." We cannot make needed changes in our own strength and if we go out depending upon human power and cleverness we'll fall flat on our faces and continue to fail until we realize our need for the power of God. That lesson is is one of the the most important one for us to learn in his present life.
I invite you to begin working with "forgiving [remitting] sins" and see the practical results.
[In addition to the verses I quoted above I also encourage you to also ponder and pray about Mathew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18 and see what the Holy Spirit may reveal to you. I think some additional very precious thoughts are there. Perhaps I can comment on them sometime but not quite yet. TD]