REMISSION OF SINS
BASIC R.C. BELIEF
John 20:23 is used as a proof text for the Sacrament of Penance, where the
priest gives absolution for sins.
This verse must be taken in context. In verse 21, Jesus is commissioning
His disciples to do the work they accomplished in Acts. When we compare
this commission with Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15 and Luke 24:47, we see
that the emphasis was upon proclaiming the Gospel, and each item mentioned
was actually recorded as having been done by one of the Apostles in the
Book of Acts (with the exception of drinking something deadly).
We conclude that the Roman Catholic interpretation is wrong because the
context shows this was a commission to preach the Gospel, which is what
they did. There is no record of any of the Apostles hearing Confession in
the Book of Acts.
The use of the strong words remit and retain indicates the absolute
authority of an Ambassador for Christ. We can positively state that if one
responds to this message his sins are remitted; if one rejects, he is still
in his sins.
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