Saturday, November 7, 2009
All the Promises of God 2
John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” ESV
Another way that one can hear the gospel proclaimed is to go to a worship service where there is a confession that we are by nature sinful and unclean. Therefore we can never keep God’s law and are justly deserving of his punishment here and in eternity. After this confessions the pastor will say that God in his mercy sent his son to die for our sin and in the stead and by the command of his Lord, Jesus Christ, he forgives us all our sins. In the name of the Father † Son and Holy Spirit. In addition when one meets with a pastor who adheres to the promise of Jesus the troubled sinner will again here the Gospel and the forgiveness of sin.
What takes the place of it in churches which do not believe a man is commanded to forgive sins in the name of the Triune God is some kind of you can do better speech. Or perhaps an understanding talk about all people have those temptations and sin. The main difficulty with that is the sinner retains his sin in his mind. Either no comfort of the removal of the guilt or a sin in thinking in pride the sin can be muscled up against and defeated by his or her effort. This falls short of the promise that Jesus has given and is in plain denial of it.
And what is more when one is approached by another who has wronged him or her as a baptized child of God we can forgive that person in the same Triune name. Being part of the priesthood of believers we have that wonderful privilege as well. And when the person who did the wrong we can pray that God grant them true repentance and full joy and assurance in Jesus. We may never hear a word of apology from that person but we have forgiven them as Jesus commands and as we pray in the Our Father.
Many will object to this promise. It has been said that because of his or her faith in Jesus he or she does not need nor desires sins forgiven by another. The biggest problem with that objection is that Jesus wants you to have it. He is your Saviour and knows what is best for your faith. This is a direct way for a minister to not only proclaim the Gospel but to directly assure the sinner his or her sins are indeed forgiven. This is a fallen and dying world and as time goes on it is not getting any better. These promises are given for our benefit and offers the peace that passes all our understanding.
In the name of Jesus, Amen. †