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As a protestant, what is meant by Jesus in John 20:23, remitting and retaining sins?

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  • John 20:22-23 KJV  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.

He was speaking to the Holy Ghost whose ministry is to judge the hearts of men and convict of sins and show the way of salvation.

  • John 16:8-11 KJV  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  9  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  10  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  11  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

It is the Holy Spirit that decides whether your sins are remitted or retained. See the study Methodology of Salvation.

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