John 20:23 - Joh 20:23  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

John 20:23 Explained “Whose soever sins ye remit…”


John 20:23 appears to say anybody can forgive sins like God. I myself haven’t found 1 verse in Bible that shows anyone other then Jesus (God) who can actually forgive sins in order to actually save someone from hell…..what do you think? Do you and me actually have the power to forgive sins like Jesus? I mean I know the Catholics and a lot of Lutherans believe that. Are they actually right according to this verse, or are they missing something, or am I missing something?

John 20:23 “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”


First, the words “ye remit” are in the 2 aorist tense, which is rendered in the PAST TENSE, so yes, you can tell someone who HAS REPENTED AND STOPPED SINNING their sins are forgiven. Now this verse makes sense. Let’s dig deeper.

The is only ONE offering/propitiation for sin:

Romans 3:25 “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the REMISSION OF SINS THAT ARE PAST, through the forbearance of God”

Jesus went to the cross and became the PERFECT OFFERING, no one else:

Heb 10:14 “For by ONE OFFERING HE(JESUS) hath perfected for ever them that ARE SANCTIFIED.”

“Whose soever sins ye remit”, etc…. God can only forgive sins, and Christ being God has a power to do so likewise but he never communicated any such power to his apostles; nor did they ever assume any such power to themselves, or pretend to exercise it. EVER! It is the mark of antichrist to attempt anything of the kind, who, in so doing, usurps the divine prerogative, places himself in HIS seat, and shows himself as if he was God: but this is to be understood only in a doctrinal, or ministerial way, by preaching the full and free remission of sins through the blood of Christ, according to the riches of God’s grace, to such as repent of and forsake their sins, and believe in Christ declaring that all such persons as do so repent and believe, all their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake: and accordingly, they are remitted unto them in agreement with Christ’s own words, in his declaration and commission to his disciples; (see Mark 16:16,) ( Luke 24:47).

On the other hand he signifies, “that whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained”: that is, that whatsoever sins ye declare are not forgiven, they are not forgiven (we shall know them by their which is the case of all final unbelievers and impenitent sinners, who, dying without repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Gospel declaration, shall be damned, and are damned in their wretched state. The wrath of God rests on sinners:

John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not (MEANING DOES NOT OBEY) the Son shall not see life; but the WRATH (ANGER/CONDEMNATION) of God abideth on him.”

For God stands by and will stand by and confirm the Gospel of his Son, faithfully preached by his ministering servants and all the world will sooner or later be convinced of the validity, truth, and certainty, of the declarations on each of these heads, made by them.

Further proof includes:

Mat 16:19 “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Binding and loosing were terms in frequent use among the Jews and that they meant bidding and forbidding, granting and refusing, declaring lawful or unlawful, etc.

Mat 18:18 “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

“Whatsoever thou shalt bind”… – The phrase “to bind” and “to loose” was often used by the Jews. It meant to prohibit and to permit. To bind a thing was to forbid it; to loose it, to allow it to be done. Thus, they said about gathering wood on the Sabbath day, “The school of Shammei binds it” – i. e., forbids it; “the school of Hillel looses it” – i. e., allows it. When Jesus gave this power to the apostles(obedient servants), he meant that whatsoever they forbade in the church should have divine authority; whatever they permitted, or commanded, should also have divine authority – that is, should be bound or loosed in heaven, or meet the approbation of God. They were to be guided infallibly in the organization of the church:

1. By the teaching of Christ, and,
2. By the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

This does not refer to persons, but to things – “whatsoever,” not whosoever. It refers to rites and ceremonies in the church. Such of the Jewish customs as they should forbid were to be forbidden, and such as they thought proper to permit were to be allowed. Such rites as they should appoint in the church were to have the force of divine authority. Accordingly, they commanded the Gentile converts to “abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood” Acts 15:20; and, in general, they organized the church, and directed what was to be observed and what was to be avoided. The rules laid down by them in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, in connection with the teachings of the Saviour as recorded in the evangelists, constitute the only law binding on Christians in regard to the order of the church, and the rites and ceremonies to be observed in it. {Barnes}


Isaiah 53:1-12 “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressor.”