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Someone once sat on my living room couch and told me that if I did not believe that Jesus was God, then my sins were not forgiven.

Most modern day, Trinitarian churches believe this, and assume you believe this also. But, is this so? Is this what Scripture truly teaches? Let’s investigate to see if this is true or not.

I believe this man’s beliefs were based on a passage found in Mark 2, where we enter the picture and find Jesus about to heal a paralytic. Instead of saying, “Arise and take up your pallet and walk,” Jesus said “My son, your sins are forgiven.” But the scribes who were sitting there hanging out, were thinking, ‘Who does this guy think he is? He’s dissing our God! Who else can forgive sins, but God alone?’

And so, many use this logic of the scribes to prove their doctrine of the Trinity, that if only God can forgive sins, and Jesus was doing just that, then Jesus must be God. But is this sound logic backed up by Scripture? Is this what the text is really telling us? Let’s keep going!

In Mark 2:10, Jesus explained to the scribes why he chose to say ‘your sins are forgiven’ instead of “get up, take your mat & walk.’ Jesus said, “So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgiven sins.” He did not say, “So that you may know that I am God,” although that’s what many Trinitarians see when they read it. However, what it actually says is this: Jesus wanted the scribes to know he had that authority.

AUTHORITY. It’s the power to enforce laws, exact obedience, command, determine, or judge. I love the original Greek “exousia” which means “delegated influence, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, capacity.”

Jesus had authority. Jesus taught with authority in Matthew 7:29. Jesus had the power and authority over unclean spirits and to heal diseases and he gave this authority to his disciples in Matthew 10:1; Mark 6:7; and Luke 9:1. Jesus was appointed by God as judge in Acts 10:42; God gave all things into his (Jesus’) hand in John 3:35. Jesus was given the authority to forgive sins and gave this authority to his disciples in John 20:21-23.

Acts 5:31 says “Jesus is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a prince, Savior, to grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” And Acts 2:33, 36 tells us that God exalted Jesus and made him lord and messiah, and in 3:13 of Acts, that “God glorified His servant, Jesus.” In other words, the one and only living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and still the one God of us, today, has taken this man, Jesus, and designated him to be lord and messiah over an everlasting Kingdom. The Scriptures tell us in Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Hmmm, nothing about my sins not being forgiven and me not being saved, if I don’t believe Jesus is God. Not there…

God will judge the world through a man whom He has appointed,” Acts 17:30-31. That man, is Jesus. God has exalted this man far above all authority (Ephesians 1:21) and through Jesus, “forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38).

The scribes were somewhat correct in their reasoning that God alone has the authority to forgive sin, “for there is no authority except from God.” (Romans 13:1). But, they failed to realize that God can grant that authority to whomever He wishes to represent Him and He did just that. In this case, it was the man, Jesus. And Jesus took that authority, bestowed upon Him by God, and gave it to his disciples (John 20:21-23). His disciples were certainly not God, were they? Yet, they too had the authority to forgive sins, did they not?

I think the best example I have ever heard of this authority issue, is likening it to my parenting authority. I have authority over my children as “MOM.” I speak. They (hopefully, most of the time!) will listen and then they obey the first time I “command” them to do something. We live in a rather large house, and sometimes, when I am busy, instead of running up the stairs to the other end of the house where one of my children are playing, I will send another child to them with a message. “Go tell Elizabeth to come downstairs to clean out the dishwasher.” Emma Kate will run upstairs, tell Elizabeth, then come back and report to me, “she said she’s not going to do it. She’s playing a game.” And then, I will tell Emma Kate, “Go back and tell her that she needs to come NOW and do it, because MOMMY SAID.” And then Emma Kate will hurriedly return to Elizabeth with the message with that added emphasis “MOMMY SAID”, and when she comes back, Elizabeth is with her, ready to do the job that I asked her to do, through my daughter Emma Kate. Emma Kate had my authority to ‘command’ Elizabeth to come downstairs. Without my authority, the command meant nothing to Elizabeth. With my authority, she listened to Emma Kate, because she knew if she didn’t, there would be a consequence.

This illustration shows that I am the one with authority and that authority can only come from me, alone. Emma Kate does not have any authority over her older sister without ME giving it to her. I can designate another child of mine to have my authority, to stand in my place when I am not in the room. They could also run into another sibling (there are many in our household) and pass the message along (i.e. Emma could tell Samuel to tell Elizabeth what MOM SAID to do). It is similar to God and his children. He, alone, has the authority over all the world. He has given His authority to Jesus, His Son, and as co-heirs, as brothers and sisters with Christ, as children of God, we too, have authority ~ perhaps not to the same extent that was given to Jesus, but we do have access to God’s power and authority here on the earth, right now.

Someday, Jesus will return to the earth, and he will begin to set up his one-thousand year reign alongside His saints (that’s us). And when Jesus has abolished all rule and all authority and power, and has put all his enemies under his feet, then comes the end, and Jesus will deliver up the Kingdom to the God and Father of us all, and then the Son Himself will be subjected to the ONE (God) who subjected all things to Jesus. Then God will be all in all. I Corinthians 15:24, 28.

God is ultimately the one from whom Jesus derives all things – all His anointing power, His authority, His command and judgment over all mankind – and one day, God will finally dwell with mankind on a newly restored earth. You MUST take the entire Biblical message or plan or logos of God without piercing it into fragmented pieces that will make little sense out of it. You must firmly grasp that Jesus became the fulfillment of God’s word.

Many of the legs that the Trinity doctrine was built to stand upon, are based upon faulty reasoning that as a proof in my high school geometry class, would not stand up to scrutiny and is shaky at best. Too much is based on implied logic that has no clear facts to back it up. Trinitarians say Jesus was implying that in this text that he was God, because he could forgive sins, but when you take the Bible as a whole, you will come to a clear understanding that Jesus was the prophesied human lord Messiah, who was supernaturally begotten by God in the womb of Mary, and whom God had given His anointing of His Spirit to heal, to have God’s wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and the authority to forgive sins and judge the world.

For more study on this topic: http://kingdomready.org/blog/2008/09/10/jesus-forgave-sins/

4 Responses to “Must Jesus be GOD to Forgive my Sins?”

  1. on 13 Feb 2010 at 9:37 pmAndrew Patrick

    Dear Angela,

    Re: Do Mere Men Forgive Sin?

    The word “forgive” and “sin” can be used in more than one context, as demonstrated these examples from our Hebrew and Greek scriptures.

    Gen 50:17
    (17) So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

    Mat 18:21
    (21) Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

    Although these are exactly the same Greek words, Peter was using the words “sin” and “forgive” in a different fashion than Christ and the Pharisees in the instance of the man afflicted with palsy.

    You spoke of “geometric proofs” – and I would have to say that this “geometric proof” is very simple:

    1) Jesus saw the afflicted man, and said “thy sins be forgiven thee.”

    2) The scribes heard, and equated this with blasphemy.

    3) The scribes reasoned, “Who can forgive sins but God alone.”

    4) Jesus did not argue with their statement, and did not dispute it. This is what is known as a “tacit admission.”

    5) To emphasize that he really meant “forgiveness of sins” in an absolute fashion, and not with a lesser meaning, he told them that the power to heal the man would be the same as forgiveness of sins.

    6) By direct miracle, he established that he had the power to forgive sins, not in a manner of word games, but in the sense of divine power.

    Source text below:

    Mar 2:5-11
    (5) When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
    (6) But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
    (7) Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
    (8) And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
    (9) Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
    (10) But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
    (11) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

    This is clearly not in the case that Peter used earlier, asking how many times he should forgive his brother, if he sinned against him. This man with the palsy was not being forgiven in this sense.

    There is yet another instance where Jesus demonstrated that he forgave sins, and he never spoke to tell the people that they were “mistaken” and simply “didn’t understand that God delegated this power.”

    Luk 7:47-49
    (47) Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
    (48) And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
    (49) And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

    1 John 3:4 tells us that “Sin is the transgression of the law.” If a man sins against us, we are supposed to forgive him, but this is in a limited sense where we can only forgive where they have sinned against us. This is not the same as forgiveness from God.

    Angela wrote:

    But, they failed to realize that God can grant that authority to whomever He wishes to represent Him and He did just that. In this case, it was the man, Jesus. And Jesus took that authority, bestowed upon Him by God, and gave it to his disciples (John 20:21-23). His disciples were certainly not God, were they? Yet, they too had the authority to forgive sins, did they not?

    You have claimed that God can delegate “forgiveness of sins” to others, citing John 20:21-23.

    Joh 20:21-23
    (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.

    In your zeal to establish a case that Christ was not God with respect to the forgiveness of sins, you interpreted this passage as Jesus further extending this power to forgive sins against God to the apostles (our Authorized Version uses the word “remit” and “remitted” to avoid doctrinal confusion.)

    Does this mean that men can forgive sins against God? Your interpretation says that they can (providing, of course, that they are given sufficient authority.) The logical extension of your reading is that these ten disciples were literally the first Popes, being vicars of God on earth.

    So, I’m looking through the New Testament to see if your interpretation finds any further support (because maybe otherwise I should return to Rome and place myself under the authority of Papal succession.)

    Act 5:29-31
    (29) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
    (30) The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
    (31) Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

    So far, Jesus, on the right hand of God, is giving forgiveness of sins, not Peter or any of these apostles.

    1Jn 1:7-9
    (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
    (8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    John points to Christ for the forgiveness of sins, not any of the apostles.

    I am not aware of any scripture where any of the apostles say “So that you may know that we have power on earth to forgive sins, rise up and walk.”

    So far, I only seeing God and Christ forgiving sins, and that by his own blood and virtue.

    Eph 1:7
    (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

    Col 1:14
    (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

    Rom 4:8
    (8) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

    Rev 1:5
    (5) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

    I think this verse is the basis for a popular hymn:
    “What can wash away my sins?”
    “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

    So far I am not aware of any scriptural examples to support the interpretation that the apostles “forgave” (remitted) sins like Jesus forgave sin.

    However, in both of the cases of Jesus, it adds that the people that saw knew that “only God can forgive sin” and thought that this was blasphemous, that Jesus was making himself God. There are no such examples with regards to the early apostles.

    There is one more angle that I would like to present: when someone transgresses against you, it doesn’t matter if you forgive them, they shall not be ultimately forgiven unless they repent before God.

    First, is it agreed that forgiveness requires repentance?

    Second, if a man sins against God and men, and only repents of his transgressions against men, shall he be forgiven? In other words, does anyone but God have the power to forgive sins against God?

    Third, what do you call the person who ultimately decides who is forgiven when they fall under the power of the law?

    Act 10:42
    (42) And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

    2Ti 4:1
    (1) I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

    Joh 5:22-23
    (22) For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
    (23) That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

    Even if we can forgive trespasses against us, and intercede before God to shew mercy (see Job 42:8) in the end, only God can forgive sins against God.

    Even in the example you chose of a child acting as a messenger, this doesn’t work well with the instance of forgiveness of sins. You cannot “delegate” the power of forgiveness to a child, who will then approve attempts of another child (or themselves) to rebel against you.

    Even if you instructed your child to “forgive” the other child, you are talking about personal forgiveness. You still take responsibility for the discipline yourself, and decide ultimate forgiveness.


    1) The instance where Christ healed a man with palsy by specifically forgiving his sin stands as a strong indication of divinity

    2) The people who said “Only God can forgive sins” were not corrected or rebuked by Christ. He did not say “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” like he did to the Sadducees.

    3) The instance where Christ forgave the sins of a woman by saying “Thy sins be forgiven” was also within a similar context

    4) The interpretation that this was a delegated power seems to resemble Catholic doctrine, and

    5) Regardless, I cannot find any example in the bible where the apostles used “thy sins are forgiven”as a power to demonstrate that they too, had this power.

    The entire theme of sin, judgment, and forgiveness also brings up another question: in Revelation, who is it that sits upon the throne and judges the quick and the dead? Doesn’t it acknowledge that this being (whom we are told will be Jesus) is called God?

    Rev 20:11-12
    (11) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
    (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

    The title of this article was: “Must Jesus be GOD to forgive my Sins?”

    We may sin against God and men, and if we repent before God, we shall be forgiven, even if we are not forgiven of men, because God overrules men, and he will destroy anyone who will not forgive others.

    So, If Jesus is not God, then he can only forgive transgressions against himself, and ye are yet dead in your sins.

    Or, If Jesus is not God, if he does forgive sin against God, then he has been put above God, and has become the new God.

    Rev 21:5-7
    (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
    (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
    (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

    Rev 22:13-16
    (13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
    (14) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
    (15) For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
    (16) I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

    Perhaps a simpler explanation might be that Jesus was God from the beginning (and the end!)


  2. on 14 Feb 2010 at 7:11 pmRay

    Angela, I was told once during a holy communion service that if anyone did not believe Jesus is God, then they are not a Christian.

    The pastor who told me this during the service walked up through the aisle very close to me as if to bring that “word” to me personaly.

    This came right when we were all holding the cup (a small plastic cup slightly more than a thimble which held juice) and though I did not receive it as a word from the Lord (remembering that they which hated him also gave him something to drink that was mixed
    with something very unpleasent) I partook of what I received, knowing that communion is about me and the Lord and each man is to examine himself. It’s not for me to examine others at this time,
    though some things about others are impossible to not see at times.

    I later wrote the pastor telling him that such a thing has no place in a communion service in my opionin, and that what he said about
    those who might not be a Christian isn’t what we all were drinking to.

    I received no reply but did not see a communion service like that again. I wish I would have heard the following Sunday some kind of repentance for what happened. It was even taught that if one knows that someone has something against another that they should go talk to that one first, make things right with them before taking holy communion, and if they reject you, it’s on them, but if you did as the Lord wanted you to do and you were not received, you would be clear in the matter as you forgive.

    So people are not yet perfect in their understanding or their walk
    and we are to forgive.

    Do we have to believe Jesus is God to be a Christian? I don’t want to put that on anybody. I don’t think we are to govern a one size fits all theology (such as we have seen) over others. I do not have that authority. I received no such thing from God to do that.

    Jesus said in John 8:38, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father…”

    So we see that there is a distinction between the Father and the Son of God. I like to see the distinction. I believe it is of God.

    I see something else. Let’s put two verses next to each other and see if there is a connection.

    John 8:38
    I speak that which I have seen with my Father…

    Genesis 1:3
    And God said, Let there be light…

  3. on 01 Feb 2011 at 12:09 pmAngela

    The authority to forgive sins is something that God can and has delegated to others besides Jesus, and when they have this authority, they are never perceived as God.

    Exodus 23:21 is an excellent example of this principle of agency that God grants to people besides himself. In this case, God grants the power to ‘pardon your transgression” to an angel of the Lord! This angel is acting on behalf of our God.

    Kermit Zarley considers this same question, in his book, “The Restitution of Jesus Christ,” and concludes on p. 285 the following:

    Zarley wrote, “Then Jesus said to them, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” John 20.23. R.E. Brown illuminates the meaning of the first clause by paraphrasing it, “When you forgive men’s sins, at that moment, God forgives those sins and they remain forgiven.” This bestowal of the Holy Spirit as well as Jesus’ associated proclamation about the authority to forgive sins represents the transference of power and authority from Jesus unto his disciples. The result, of course, is a continuation of Jesus’ ministry on earth following his ascension into heaven.

    “It must therefore be concluded that if God grants authority to forgive sins to angels or men, and it does not indicate that they are God, Jesus’ authority to forgive sins does not necessarily imply that he is God either. Neither does Jesus’ authority to judge on the day of judgment necessarily make him God. And this prerogative does not belong to Jesus inherently but has been granted to him by the Father (John 5.22, 27; 8.16).

    “Finally, when church fathers interpreted that Jesus forgiving sins, in Mark 2.5-7, means that he was God, they contradicted another aspect of their theology. They insisted that the prerogative to forgive sins belongs only to deity and thus Jesus’ divine nature. Yet Jesus had said that the reason he possessed this authority to forgive sins was that he was “The Son of Man.” Church fathers, and many subsequent traditionalists, believed that Jesus’ status as the Son of Man referred exclusively to His human nature.”

    (Thank you Mr. Zarley for your study).

    I think the most simple explanation is that Jesus is the Son of God, and our God and Jesus’ God — Yahweh — has granted His authority to Jesus and others.

  4. on 03 Mar 2013 at 9:19 pmBless

    I really wanted to write you a personal note using the email button, but it doesn’t seem to be working…I will write it here instead. Please feel free to respond to my email 🙂

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your blog entry! Absolutely LOVE the analogy of having one kid tell another a command from MOM! Oh goodness we have 8 kids and this happens all the time…really made me chuckle….but SO TRUE and a fantastic analogy!

    I would like to know, are you of a denomination? Most people I hear that speak of Jesus being the SON of God and NOT God are JW’s or 7th dayers. Have NEVER heard this from a mainstream “type” Christian (non-Denom-just Christian) such as our family.

    Just curious 🙂


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