The Spiritual House
John 20:21 “Then said Jesus to them
again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me,
even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”
Verse twenty-one: “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
Sent! That is what the believer in Jesus Christ is. He is sent.
In Matthew chapter twenty-eight, it is given to this way to these [Jewish] disciples of Jesus Christ: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” [Matthew 28:19-20].
Verse twenty-two: “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:”
What they received [at that moment] was the PROMISE of the Holy Ghost. This is evident by the command that Jesus gave in Acts chapter one, verse four and five. “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” [Acts 1:4-5]
The believers were commanded to stay in Jerusalem. They were to WAIT for the Holy Ghost to come. [Luke 24:49] “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
Verse twenty-three: “Whose soever sins ye remit,
they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins
ye retain, they are retained.”
REMIT', v.t. [L. remitto, to send back; re and mitto, to send.]
1. To relax, as intensity; to make less tense or violent.
So willingly doth God remit his ire.
2. To forgive; to surrender the right of punishing a crime; as, to remit punishment.
3. To pardon, as a fault or crime.
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted to them.
There is no way that ordinary men can have the power to “remit” or “retain” anyone sins.
In order for this to occur [to “remit” or “retain” anyone sins] something very big would have to happen to these believers in Jesus Christ that never occurred to men before the death of the testator. The set day that God had planned for [to fulfill the promise of the Father] was to be fifty days after the resurrection of Son of God. This was the Feast of Pentecost. This is in accordance to the schedule of the Feasts of The LORD shown in Leviticus. “Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.” [Leviticus 23:16]
The fact that it occurred on the day of Pentecost [in fulfillment of the promise of the Father] is attested to by the Spirit of God as being already in the past tense in Acts chapter two, verse thirty-three: “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” [Acts 2:33]
In order for these believers to “remit” or “retain” anyone sins:
1. These believers must become SPIRITUAL [permanently indwelled] by the Spirit of God. [1 Corinthians 3:16] “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
2. These believers must, therefore, have Christ INSIDE of them [“Christ in you”] which is explained by a MYSTERY. “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” [Colossians 1:26-27].
3. These believers would have to receive POWER. [Acts 1:8] “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
4. These believers would have to be sealed by the Spirit of God. [2 Corinthians 1:22] “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
5. These believers would have to be filled with the Spirit. [Acts 2:4] “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
6. These believers must become priests. [1 Peter 2:5] “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
The believers in Jesus Christ … the sum total of all those, who have been born-again for the last two thousand years, are part of this “spiritual house”, and they form a holy priesthood. These priests [all of us] can remit or retain sins.
Where is a proof text? Consider what the Apostle Paul gave by the Holy Ghost in Second Corinthians chapter two concerning the man taken in adultery. Start with verse six: “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.” Somebody’s sin was retained. “So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.”
Paul recommends forgiving [remitting] someone’s sin. “Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;” [2 Corinthians 2:6-10].
There you have it! Someone’s sin has been remitted at the church of Corinth. The believers in the church of Corinth forgave the brother, who had already repented of his sin.
This is where we are now in John twenty. The PROMISE of receiving the Holy Ghost [in verse twenty-two of our text John twenty] was fulfilled in Acts chapter two exactly in the manner and scope predicted in Acts one verse eight. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Now, from this particular day of Pentecost, and until the end of the Church age, the believers in Jesus Christ [the true Christians] have this power to “remit” or “retain” who’s so ever sin … as shown by what happened in the church of Corinth.
We are “as lively stones.”
We are a “holy priesthood.”
We are “a spiritual house.”