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When Jesus… said to the paralytic, “Son, you sins are forgiven,”[1] some teachers of the Law were sitting there thinking to themselves, “Why does this Fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” [2]

That would appear true to the religious people that God alone can forgive sins, but in truth, they are wrong, absolutely wrong. The reason God can forgive sins is because God was sinned against by Satan and by Adam. “Who can forgive sins?” If you ask this question, then the correct truthful answer is; anyone who has been sinned against, including God, can. God comes first, though it is only because He is the first One to have been sinned against. However, even if you do not believe in God, every human being on this Earth shares this experience that they have been sinned against. Someone, somewhere in your life, will have sinned against you, will have disobeyed your command, will have said something untrue or slanderous about you, will have stolen something from you, or will have wished something upon you. As such, everyone alive is in the position to forgive sins, even if it is only those sins that have been committed against you.

Thus, when a person thinks, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” it is merely a pious disguise of his true darkness, that he is merely using a theological doctrine to hide his own unforgiveness and the ungraciousness of his soul. Thus, to teach and practise that we should forgive one another of sins, and to forgive those who have sinned against us, does not need God to send His Son to teach us if we ourselves are gracious and forgiving. The truth about us, the sons of Adam, is that we are as ungracious and unforgiving as our father Adam was, and since all men are descendants of Seth, the third son of Adam, whom Adam raised in his image, we are all as ungracious and unforgiving.

Just as Adam showed his wickedness, which is a tendency to forsake God, and his ingratitude when he said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man,”[3] so he displayed his ungraciousness and unforgiveness when he said, “The woman You put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”[4] So, what happened to “bones of my bones,” now that it is, “the woman You put here with me”? If he had forgiven Eve, he could have said, “I ate it.” Not only are we ungracious and unforgiving, we can’t be trusted to back each other up and cover for each other’s sin, but we are only too glad to lay blame and accuse those who have sinned against us.

When we do not forgive the sin, we have to carry the sin with us. You see, interpersonal sin is like a bullet. The person who sinned against you is like the person who fired the bullet, but the bullet is carried by the person it hits, not the person who fired it. As such, the person who has been sinned against is as hurt and in as bad a way as the person who fired the weapon. One goes to jail and the other goes to hospital, if not the grave. Virtually every conflict in this world can be traced to unforgiveness and ungraciousness. Although, in the physical world, the person who has been shot does not magically dislodge the bullet as he forgives. But, in the spiritual realm, forgiveness dislodges the spiritual bullet of sin, and causes the person to be raised, first in the spirit, and with miraculous power, also in the flesh.

Another interesting aspect is this. You do not need miraculous power to forgive, although you do need miraculous power to raise a cripple. That is why Jesus said to those teachers of the Law, “Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?”[5] It is not a trick question. It is a straight forward simple question. Since God alone has miraculous power, then it is always easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” because no miraculous power is needed for that! You do not have to be baptised in the Holy Spirit or even be a Christian to forgive those who have sinned against you. Even atheists can forgive those who have sinned against them. It is entirely in your will and human power to do so. So, to forgive is not the sole privilege of the Divine, but rather, anyone who does forgive has made themselves like God who forgives.

Forgiveness destroys the image of Adam that we are raised up to be, for it is written: When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth,[6] which means Seth was as ungrateful, ungracious and unforgiving as Adam was, like most if not every man and woman now. Because God forgives, and He is the first against whom someone sinned, then forgiveness begins the restoration of the Image of God in man, for when God made us in His Image, it meant that He made us with the ability and the desire to forgive as He forgives. And as the image grew, he would learn to enjoy forgiving as God enjoys forgiving. Thus, the question was asked amiss. It is not God alone who can forgive sins, but all who have been sinned against.

God has the right to forgive sins before all of us and ahead of us, for after all, God was the first One who was sinned against, for He was the first Victim of sin. A sinner is not a victim of sin, but a committer of sin and one who causes sin is a perpetrator. As the first and original Victim of sin, God chose the original way by which sin would be forgiven. It would be done by way of sacrifice with the shedding of blood. Thus, before sin came, God had already crucified Jesus as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the Earth.[7]

Since the ability to forgive sins is not unique to God nor to religious people who believe in God, but rather, it is a common ability of all who have been sinned against, then it is no wonder that God does not forgive those who do not forgive, for we are not taught just to pray, “Forgive us our sins,” but also, “as we forgive those who sinned against us.” For unless we forgive those who have sinned against us, then we have not desired to even begin to imitate God at being what He sacrificed Jesus for.

Having miraculous power and being holy may be an imitation of God, but it does not honour the Sacrifice of God, for God sacrificed Jesus for the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins. Thus, men who want to be holy by observing all sorts of rules of worship, sacrifice, piety and tradition, but exclude forgiveness, have not honoured God’s Sacrifice, and will not be honoured. For God said, “Those who honour Me I will honour, but those who despise Me will be disdained.”[8] Jesus said, “He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent Him.”[9]

The true honour of God, the true way of honouring God, is to forgive sins, for God forgives. Forgiveness, or the lack of forgiveness, is how God judges the hearts of all men, regardless of whether they have heard the Gospel or not, regardless of whether they have believed in God or not. Forgiveness and unforgiveness in a man’s heart gives God the freedom to do unto men as they have done unto others. For through the sin that came, the sons of Adam, all sons of Adam, are ungracious, unforgiving and ungrateful. Any son of Adam who shows any graciousness, forgiveness and gratitude has retained the Image of God that Adam was made to be and not the image of Adam that Seth was. Then they are worth salvaging, for they have something worth salvaging. Salvation is for all who show gratitude, graciousness and forgiveness.

Those who would believe the message that, “God so loved this world that He gave His One and only Son… to save the world through Him,”[10] have shown gratitude and grace to God. Gratitude that God should send His Son to save, grace that God would save, and even forgiveness, yes, forgiveness of God. For, after all, it can be reasoned that if God created this world, then God is responsible for this mess. Thus, the ability to believe in the Gospel of God that, “God so loved this world that He gave His One and only Son… to save this world,” displays the presence of gratitude, grace and forgiveness in the believer, and he is worthy of salvation for there is still the image of God in him worth salvaging. The image of Adam however, the likeness of Adam, who is Seth and his descendants, is not worth salvaging, for Adam was ungrateful, ungracious, unforgiving and disobedient in his dealing with God.

Jesus Christ displayed such a fullness of gratitude, graciousness, forgiveness and obedience on that cross at Calvary, that there was no way that the Holy Spirit would not raise Him. Grateful, for He said, “I am thirsty,”[11] and when offered wine vinegar soaked in a sponge on the stalk of a hyssop plant, He received it. Gracious, because when the thief said, “Jesus remember me when You come into Your Kingdom,” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.”[12] For only earlier, this thief was also heaping insults on Him along with the other, for it is written: In the same way the robbers who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him.[13] Forgiving, because He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,”[14] showing that He too had already forgiven those who crucified Him. And above all else, obedient to the end when He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”[15] Before He said, “It is finished,”[16] Jesus received the wine vinegar with a final display of gratitude.

Jesus undid all the works of Adam and became the last Adam. On that Roman cross, in the most extreme of circumstances, betrayed by His disciples, in cohorts with Satan, unjustly condemned by His fellowmen and forsaken by His Father, in the most excruciating pain unimaginable to a human being, Jesus, who would have had every right to be ungrateful, ungracious, unforgiving and disobedient, put to death any trace of the image of Adam in Him and bought forth the perfect Image of God in Man, truly allowed the world to behold the Man who is the Image of God.

Thus, for now, as God continues His search for those who would worship Him in spirit and in truth, forgiveness is the quality He is looking for amongst those He wants to keep as His sons in Jesus’ Name. Thus, from among those who believe, He is looking for one and ones who love to forgive as He forgives, which is why Jesus has warned everyone who believes in Him, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.”[17] And Jesus so wants to train us into forgiving that He made forgiveness a prerequisite to having our prayers answered. “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.”[18] And He emphasised that warning by using a whole parable to teach us, His disciples, for parables are for the teaching of disciples only. To others, they are just stories that hold secrets they will never perceive or understand, even when they see it or hear it. “This is how My Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”[19] And who is your brother or sister or mother? They are “those who hear God’s word and put it into practice,”[20] your fellow disciples who listen to Jesus.

Thus, the common unity, the oneness, that makes the Father and the Son One, is forgiveness. The Father forgives and the Son forgives. They both love to forgive for that is what Jesus died for. The covenant They have with Each Other is called the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins. When we learn to forgive those who sin against us, be they enemies or fellow believers or fellow disciples, we have become one as They are One. The world has never seen a church at full power yet, because without strength, you cannot come to full power, and strength comes from the joy of the Lord, which is forgiveness. Since there is no fellowship of disciples that completely enjoy forgiving each other and their enemies of sin, there is no fellowship at full strength and therefore no fullness of power. And truly we have never seen what the body of Christ really is like at the fullness of the glory that Jesus has with the Father.

When Jesus first displayed His glory at Cana, changing that water to good wine, He helped the bridegroom forgive those who had drunk all of his wine. The glory of God, which changes the natures of men, helps us to forgive so that the sons of Seth need not remain in the image of Adam, but may be salvaged and restored to the Image of God and be fit for resurrection into the Image of the Son of God. That is how God honours those who honour Him and those who honour His Son.

Because anyone who has been sinned against can forgive sins, then it is imperative, there is no choice, that anyone who seeks to be an Image of God must forgive all who sin against Him, that is the very least. Thus, what sets us apart, what makes us holy, is not the fact that we are commanded to forgive those who have sinned. What is the proof of the work of the Holy Spirit at its highest and best, the Spirit of Sonship, that indeed He has risen up sons for God on Earth who are in the Image of the only begotten Son? It is when we are able to forgive the sins of those who have not sinned against us.

When Jesus went on to say to those teachers of the Law in Mark 2, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”[21] The Son of Man is the Son of the Image of God, male and female, not the son of Seth who is the image of Adam, male and female. Everyone who retains the Image of God has the authority to forgive sins, and that authority is backed by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit so that the paralytic walked.

Thus, the sole and legitimate purpose of all miracles is to back up and authenticate the authority for the forgiveness of sins. A miracle for the sake of miracles, a miracle out of compassion, and a miracle for the sake of building up a ministry are the illegitimate uses of signs, wonders and miracles. That is also why those whom the Lord mentioned in Matthew 7:21 are rejected, for not only did they not know the Lord, but their use of the signs and wonders was illegitimate.

The power of the Holy Spirit is given that we may be witnesses of Jesus.[22] That is well known. However, the signs are to show that through Jesus, by His word, we who have received the Holy Spirit may also forgive sins, and not only the sins of those who sinned against us, but, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven…”[23]

A generation of disciples who know their authority in Christ and who forgive sins with signs and wonders to confirm their authority, will unmask the hearts of men who sit thinking, “Who can forgive sins but God alone,” when the truth is: anyone who has been sinned against can forgive those who sinned against them.

Thus, judgement can come first into the house of God between brothers, that is, those who have not forgiven from their heart their fellow brothers will display in their lives God’s unforgiveness for them. After the house has been judged, the judgement will be extended to the world.

As they see the elect who have been discipled to forgive the sins of anyone they wish with the confirmation of their authority in signs and wonders, so the very thoughts of their hearts will be exposed and judged as they sit and think, not, “Who can forgive sins but God alone,” but rather, “Who are these who forgive sins?”

For those who do not forgive sins are sons of Adam, who did not forgive, and so they will receive the judgement for the sons of Adam, and those who perpetrate sin will be exposed as the sons of the devil. For it was Satan in whom sin was first found and it was Satan who tempted Eve to sin.

It is not enough for you to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” although it would be good that you would say it, but to show that you are a son of Man, a son of the Image of God, the paralytic must walk, the blind must see, the deaf must hear, the lepers must be cleansed and the dead raised. Then the world will know God forgives and He is to be feared.


 

[1] Mark 2:5

[2] Mark 2:6-7

[3] Genesis 2:23

[4] Genesis 3:12

[5] Mark 2:9

[6] Genesis 5:3

[7] Revelation 13:8

[8] 1 Samuel 2:30

[9] John 5:23

[10] John 3:16-17

[11] John 19:28

[12] Luke 23:42-43

[13] Matthew 27:44

[14] Luke 23:34

[15] Luke 23:46

[16] John 19:30

[17] Matthew 6:14-15

[18] Mark 11:24-25

[19] Matthew 18:35 (18:21-35)

[20] Luke 8:21

[21] Mark 2:10-11

[22] Acts 1:8

[23] John 20:23

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