John 20:23

Whosesoever sins ye forgive (an tinwn aphte ta amartia). "If the sins of any ye forgive" (aphte, second aorist active subjunctive with an in the sense of ean), a condition of the third class. Precisely so with "retain" (krathte, present active subjunctive of kratew). They are forgiven (apewntai). Perfect passive indicative of apihmi, Doric perfect for apeintai. Are retained (kekrathntai). Perfect passive indicative of kratew. The power to forgive sin belongs only to God, but Jesus claimed to have this power and right ( Mark 2:5-7 ). What he commits to the disciples and to us is the power and privilege of giving assurance of the forgiveness of sins by God by correctly announcing the terms of forgiveness. There is no proof that he actually transferred to the apostles or their successors the power in and of themselves to forgive sins. In Matthew 16:19 ; Matthew 18:18 we have a similar use of the rabbinical metaphor of binding and loosing by proclaiming and teaching. Jesus put into the hands of Peter and of all believers the keys of the Kingdom which we should use to open the door for those who wish to enter. This glorious promise applies to all believers who will tell the story of Christ's love for men.

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