Two weeks ago in Does God Forgive You Before Or After You Repent? we saw that Jesus forgave people before they repented, but forgiveness isn’t necessarily the same as salvation. It makes salvation possible. The New Testament message is “God has forgiven you, so repent and be saved.” We then continued last week with God Is Not Counting Men’s Sins Against Them. Today we are looking more closely at how understanding this helps us to bring people to Christ.
God Gave Us Authority To Remit Sins
The first week of this series we talked about the paralytic who Jesus healed in Mark chapter two. Jesus proclaimed forgiveness without the man showing any sign of repentance. The Pharisees weren’t offended at the notion that God could forgive sins. They were offended that a man had the authority to forgive sins.
Mark 2:6-8, 10 (NIV) Now 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?” Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?… But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Although Jesus is God, he became like us in every way. He had every weakness that we do, and he had to rely on the Holy Spirit just as we do. In everything, Jesus was a model for us. Jesus demonstrated the authority that God gave to mankind, and he revealed God’s purpose of working in partnership with people.
To make it really clear, Jesus told his disciples that they also had the same authority to forgive sins.
John 20:23 (NIV) If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Lifting The Burden Of Guilt Off Of People So They Can Come To Christ
I mentioned Henry Gruver in another article. He’s a man I met who’s traveled the world walking and praying. Henry is one of the most sincere and genuine people I’ve ever met, and I learned some valuable truths from him.
Henry teaches from John 20:23 about “remitting sins.” When he prays for people he “remits their sins,” proclaiming that they are forgiven.
Some people, for lack of understanding, have accused Henry of being a false teacher. But Henry is clear that he’s not saying an individual doesn’t have to repent and turn to Christ for themself so they can be saved. Henry says that “remitting sins” is “lifting the load of guilt that is keeping people from turning to Christ.” Receiving that forgiveness and responding with repentance is up to the individual, and that’s what results in salvation.
Henry’s teaching isn’t just theory. His life has been in danger more than once, and people lost the desire to kill him as Henry quietly “remitted their sins.” One man had a knife to Henry’s throat, but he dropped the knife as Henry quietly proclaimed “your sins are forgiven.”
Henry has also seen men with unspeakable sin in their past turn to Christ as he proclaimed forgiveness. When I met Henry I had already realized that understanding “God is not counting men’s sins against them” helps us to share the gospel with unbelievers. Henry’s teaching and stories helped me to better understand how this works. Jesus made it clear that God has given men authority to extend his forgiveness to others.
Salvation After Remitting Sins!
A few years into when I started ministering healing to others, people started showing up on Youtube doing “street healing” videos. Some of them really encouraged and inspired me to keep going. It was just nice to see that there were some like-minded people out there.
One of those guys was Tom Fischer. I hadn’t seen anything of Tom Fischer for quite a while, but for some reason, after writing last week’s post I remembered Tom and decided to check out what was going on with him. I think it was the Holy Spirit who reminded me! I ended up watching a few of his videos and I noticed how often he said when ministering to someone “Your sins are forgiven.”
That was just what I had been writing about! Tom often tells people “your sins are forgiven,” and then he teaches them to repent. I’m happy to be able to share a video today demonstrating exactly what I’ve been talking about in these last three posts. In the video below, Tom says “your sins are forgiven” a little after the one minute mark, before the guy is healed. He says it again a little before the three-minute mark, and then leads the person in a salvation prayer.