ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: KEYS OF THE KINGDOM II
Feb 28, '10 11:29 AM
By Regner Capener
Greetings, Salutations and Blessings!
How're you doin' this fine day? Best day of your life, right? Yup. That's what I thought.
Coffee's on. This morning's blend is Double-Roasted French, Columbian and Dark-Roasted Peruvian. A bit different from my usual blends but the Peruvian was recommended to me by someone who thought it would make a good mix. Not bad. Not bad.
I used to think I really understood the Keys of the Kingdom, but as revelation from the Holy Spirit has continued to unfold, I've come to realize that most Christians really don't have the foggiest concept of what the authority and power of the Lord Jesus Christ operating in us is really for. Today's discussion centers around the difference between forgiveness and remission of sin.
BEING THE BODY OF CHRIST
Matthew 16:13-19: When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 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.
And once again, here’s the true sense of what Jesus said — taken from the Greek text:
“Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you [this didn’t come out of carnal, human thinking]; this revelation came directly to you from My Father which is in Heaven. I declare to you that from this day your onoma has been changed. No longer are you Simon [the one who hears] who is the son of Jona; you are Petros – a piece of the Rock (Petra) – and it is upon that rock (of which you are a part) that I will build my Ekklesia – my called out and chosen and prepared body of people; And the gates of Hell [all the powers and governance of Hell] will not ever overpower or prevail in battle against it [my Ekklesia].
“And I will give you the authority and power to lock and unlock Heaven so what whatever you bind, restrict or stop on earth shall be, having been already bound, restricted or stopped in Heaven. And whatever you break up, loose, dissolve or put off on earth shall be, having already been broken up, loosed, dissolved or put off in Heaven.
Before we get into the use of these keys — authority and power — let’s first look at two other Scriptures — the first being something that Jesus said, and the second coming from the apostle Paul.
Mark 11:24-26: Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
II Corinthians 2:7-11: So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 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; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
THE AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE IS THE FIRST USE OF THE KEYS!
First, it is important to note that the exercise of the Key of Forgiveness precedes and supersedes even displays of faith. Because it takes agape love in action to remit sin and extend the grace of God to those we would normally not consider “deserving,” the use of this Key of the Kingdom — forgiveness — must first be used before faith can work.
Miracles follow forgiveness — not the other way around. Notice how Jesus did it and how the Pharisees with their religious attitudes failed to comprehend the necessity of forgiveness.
Luke 5:17-25: And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, 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? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
Before we get too far along, let’s look at one more statement by Paul, and then lets clarify some definitions.
Galatians 5:6: For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
One of things that create confusion is the seeming inter-changeable use of the words, “forgive, forgiveness, remit and remission.”
The word "forgive" — when it is applied properly in our English texts from the Greek comes from a word we normally associate with “grace,” and that word is charis. The word, charis, though normally translated “grace,” actually signifies: favor, graciousness, to be made acceptable, the joy of liberality.
The counterpart or derivative to this word — charizomai — means: to extend grace and pardon towards someone, particularly one who has done nothing to earn or deserve such pardon. While charizomai denotes the extension of unmerited forgiveness — it does not include (at least from its true sense in Greek) the erasure of accountability and/or penalty for the offending act.
The word, remit and its derivative, remission, are a translation from the Greek, aphesis, which in turn comes from the word: aphiemi. The word, aphesis, means: freedom, total pardon, deliverance; whereas aphiemi denotes the total erasure of something. In a more literal sense, it means: to send something away, to omit, to leave alone, to act as though it (the offense) never existed.
Both charizomai and aphiemi can be translated “to forgive,” but there is a significant difference.
I’m sure you can and are seeing the difference.
REMISSION IS UNCONDITIONAL FORGIVENESS AND RELEASE!
Forgiveness (charizomai) is pardon and grace extended towards one who has sinned or offended without removing the accountability for it.
Remission (aphiemi) is both forgiveness and the total erasure of the sin or offending event — such that both the offense and the penalty cease to exist.
Although we almost universally see the word, “forgive” used throughout the Gospels — and especially in Jesus’ teaching and preaching, in every single instance, the word aphiemi (remit) is used.
When Jesus was speaking to the disciples following the incident in which the fig tree dried up from the roots and said to them, “Whenever you pray and ask Father for something, believe that you receive and you will have it,” He immediately followed it by saying, “and when you stand praying, remit — erase completely — any offense, if you have some unforgiveness towards someone for some wrong committed towards you, so that your Father also which is in Heaven may remit your sins or lapses in judgment or willful transgressions against Him.”
Pretty strong, don’t you think? How about this one!
Matthew 6:14-15: For if ye forgive (aphiemi: remit) men their trespasses (paraptoma: side-slips, accidental or deliberate), your heavenly Father will also forgive (aphiemi) you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
And then Jesus says it again!
Matthew 18:32-35: Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave (aphiemi) thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive (aphiemi) not every one his brother their trespasses.
Now, let’s return to the incident where the man who has the palsy is lowered through the roof for Jesus to heal him (Luke 5). Jesus’ first statement to the sick man is, “Man, thy sins are forgiven (aphiemi) thee.”
The Pharisees are enraged at this. Their reaction is, “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive (aphiemi) sins, but God alone?”
You see, the Pharisees recognized that remission of sin — the erasure of both the sin and the penalty — had to come from God. Under the Law of Moses, they could receive forgiveness, but total remission had to come outside the offering of burnt sacrifices. It was beyond the Law.
Jesus was obviously demonstrating the fact that He WAS God — that He was equal with Father — and that remission of sin was a natural extension of the agape love of God.
It's a funny thing. We run into this same kind of religiosity today? Who do you think you are to think you can forgive someone's sins? Are you seeing it? And yet this is a natural -- make that "commanded" -- use of the Keys of the Kingdom. If we are to be obedient to the Word of the Lord, we have a solemn responsibility to forgive the sins committed against us. And, really it goes beyond just forgiving sins or offenses committed against us. But we won't go there today. That's for another discussion.
Now we begin to see the significance of the Keys of the Kingdom!
THE AUTHORITY TO BIND OR LOOSEN IS DEMONSTRATED IN REMITTING OR RETAINING.
Since remission of sin is the heart’s desire of the Lord and He has the authority to forgive, it therefore became natural for Jesus to say to the disciples, “And I will give you the authority and power to lock and unlock Heaven so what whatever you bind, restrict or stop on earth shall be, having been already bound, restricted or stopped in Heaven. And whatever you break up, loose, dissolve or put off on earth shall be, having already been broken up, loosed, dissolved or put off in Heaven.”
Consider, now, what happened when Jesus appeared to the disciples following His resurrection. You’ll remember that He had said “I will give you the authority and power.” That authority and power had not yet been released to them.
John 20:21-23: Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
When we read this out of our English translations, it almost sounds like, “Whose soever sins you forgive and erase, they are erased; and whose soever sins you don’t forgive or erase, they are not forgiven.”
That is NOT what Jesus was saying! That would directly contradict what He had already said otherwise.
This word, “retain,” comes from the Greek, krateo, and it means: to hold fast, to hang onto (with strength).
Let’s be clear. When Jesus said, “those whose sins you remit receive remission,” He was referring to acting and decreeing forgiveness and remission in direct accord with Father’s Word and command — not simply deciding of your own will and purpose to absolve someone of their sin. Jesus never did or said anything He didn’t first see or hear Father say. Neither can we.
The opposite side of this coin goes like this:
“Whoever refuses and rejects the Word of the Lord for forgiveness — and you both see and hear that rejection — their sins and offenses are retained. They are held fast [because the individual grasped and hung onto his/her sins without repentance] and the sinner/offender suffers the consequences of his or her rejection of the offer of forgiveness.”
In case you think that I’m really stretching with this interpretation, take a look at something that Jesus said. Here’s how Jesus put it — and He expressed it within the context and framework of “binding and loosening” and “agreement.”
Matthew 18:15-20: Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 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. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Let’s try and break this down.
First, Jesus puts this in the picture of forgiving or remitting of sins. His ultimate objective is for His people to operate in harmony with one another. Thus, if a brother or sister sins against you or causes an offense — one that could cause you or someone in you r family to stumble in their walk with God — the first command is to go to that brother or sister and share with them the nature of the offense in such a way as to bring understanding and peace between you.
If that person fails to hear you because of some bitterness or anger or resentment held within them, then you take one or two other brothers or sisters in the Lord with you and try once again to resolve things.
There is a spiritual principle here — and it is one which applies in a legal sense today. Our judicial system has adopted this Kingdom Law; and that is that every word — every testimony, either for or against — is established when it is heard out of the mouths of two or more witnesses.
You’ll recall the picture of Revelation 12:11 where we are told that the overcomer wins with two witnesses: the Word of his testimony, and the testimony of Jesus’ Blood.
Finally, if reconciliation fails even before two or more witnesses, you bring the offending brother or sister before the whole body of believers and — in a non-judgmental or non-accusatory way — make every final effort to bring peace and reconciliation.
We’ll continue this in our next Coffee Break as we discuss the procedures required before binding or loosening.
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