Who Can Forgive Sin?

In a recent letter to the Editor, a writer stated:

"Wendy Victora needs to remember that priests are not like her. Among other things, they can forgive sins (John 20:23). Ms. Victora cannot do that; Protestant ministers cannot do that; nuns cannot do that."

The writer went on to say the priests have given up their lives in the face of unrelenting hostility and deserve more respect than they have been getting. I want to focus my attention today on the question; "Who can forgive sins?" I understand that the writer did not speak for all Catholics and I know some who strongly disagree with his view on this as well as other views held, which cannot be supported by the bible. I am not writing this article as a personal response to his letter but as an answer to the statements made regarding Priests being able to forgive sins when others cannot. I did not write a response to the Editor because I did not want my response edited and manipulated as is so common.

Who can forgive sins? Whose sins can we forgive? Only God can forgive sins. We can forgive those who sin against us, but we cannot put away their sin. Eph. 4:32 states, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." John 20:23 has nothing at all to do with a Catholic Priest forgiving sins. In Luke 5:17-26; Mt. 9:2-8 and Mark 2:1-12 we have an account of Jesus healing a man and saying, "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies: Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" In Luke 7:36-50 Jesus forgave the woman which was a sinner, saying, "Thy sins are forgiven." Those who sat at the table "began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?"

In all these cases they accuse Jesus of blasphemy. They knew that only God can forgive sins and for Jesus to forgive sins would mean that He is God. Mk. 2:7, "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?" Verse 10 states, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins." A Catholic priest cannot forgive sins. That is blasphemy. A Protestant Minister cannot forgive sins. That is blasphemy. A Nun cannot forgive sins. That is blasphemy. A Baptist Pastor cannot forgive sins. That is blasphemy.

Look at 1 Peter 2:5,9 and see that all Saved people are "an holy priesthood" and a "royal priesthood." You do not need a priest, You are a priest! Your own priest! You go straight to God through the Blood of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins? Lost friend, you have no access to God for forgiveness except through Christ!

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