by Roy B. Blizzard, Ph.D.

Many of the words in bold are links from Word Study Links.

(Contents/references [keywords]: Authority to forgive sins; Roman Catholicism; absolution; fasting; emunah; kingdom; judging; religion; humanist; responsibilities; pagan religious system; relationship; humanism; iniquity; stubbornness; idolatry; lost; save; sin; unpardonable sin)

Q:  Can you kill a person or destroy a person with your mouth, because that's what I felt she was trying to do to me?

Yes, absolutely, and that's the reason it's a transgression that is considered so heinous that it's now beyond the congregational court.  In our present-day system if you're dealing with people who are part of the same congregation, my suggestion is that you go to the pastor and the spiritual leaders of the congregation and let them know what is going on and let the pastors call in both parties involved, and let the pastors try to mediate the problem.  It may be necessary for the pastors to, in fact, request from one or the other that they fellowship elsewhere for the good of the congregation.  But that is not necessarily going to help the individual being slandered if that person has done everything that needs to be done and that person still has not forgiven them.  You've done everything that you are supposed to do... you've forgiven, but there's something that's wrong and you can obviously feel it, that there are negative things that are being directed toward you and it's having a physical effect on you.

What do I do?  Interestingly enough, most people haven't the foggiest idea about this.  Turn to the gospel of John, chapter 20.  In verse 21, after the resurrection, Jesus appears in the midst of his people.  "'As my father has sent me, even so send I you.'  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose soever sins you remit, they are remitted, and whoever's sins you retain, they are retained.'"  To whom is he speaking?  To his disciples.  And what is he saying to them?  You have the authority to forgive sins.

There are a lot of things that we either do or don't do in Christianity today because of a lot of abuses that we've seen.  There are a lot of people that won't receive the manifestation of tongues because of the abuses that they've seen in Pentecostalism.

Here's another thing that we don't do that we don't even know a lot about.  In Roman Catholicism, the priest has the authority to forgive sins.  It's called absolution.  We don't do that in Protestantism because we know that this developed in the Middle Ages and the abuses that took place.  And yet we've missed a very fundamental truth, and it's had a devastating effect on some of us.  That is that we are God's representative on this earth.  He has no hands but our hands.  He has no feet but our feet.  He has no mouth but our mouth.  And he said these signs are going to follow them that believe.  They are going to take the authority over the devil, and he's going to flee from them.  They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.  And he says whoever's sins you remit, they'll be remitted.  Whoever's sins you retain, they'll be retained.  In other words, we have the authority to speak a word of forgiveness to somebody.
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For example, if you, as an individual, have a conflict with a brother or sister, and you desire to be reconciled (as the Bible says, leave your offering and go and be reconciled with that brother, because until you are reconciled, God's not going to receive your offering), you go and make the attempt and ask for forgiveness and give forgiveness.  If that person doesn't forgive you and continues to direct those negative forces against you, that's when your spouse or pastor or another spiritual leader or another brother or sister in the Lord can simply speak a word of forgiveness to you.  They can say, I take the authority over these negative forces, these negative spirits that have been and are being directed against you, and I say that they will not even come nigh unto you.  I speak unto you a word of forgiveness and I say that your sins are forgiven you, and you stand before God whole and pure and clean, and nothing that is not of God is going to have any effect upon you.

That is, in effect, taking authority over the devil and seeing him flee, and at the same time, speaking a word of forgiveness to you as a means of release and also as a means of protection and a restoration of right relationship with God.  Now the onus is upon the unforgiving brother and you can go on about your business.

If that unforgiving brother again continues to cause problems and division and strife in the church, it may be necessary for the pastors to have a conference with that individual and ask him to leave, because the body is so intricately interwoven with one another, that in order for the body to be healthy, every member has to be functioning and working in harmony in fellowship with one another.  If it's not, the body is injured to that degree, and it's so fragile that we can't afford that kind of conflict.  It's like cancer that's going to eat at the body and needs to be excised.  If nothing is going to be done, then you need to remove yourself and go somewhere else.  But don't let the evil forces that are directed against you affect you.  If necessary, go to that individual or a pastor or your spouse.  This is something that husbands and wives can do one with the other.  Have them speak that word of forgiveness to you.

When he says, If you retain somebody's sins they are retained, what does that mean?  It means that if that person is a thief or a liar or an adulterer or whatever, and they don't repent, then you don't speak a word of forgiveness to them.  Their sins are retained until they repent.  You don't go around using this haphazardly; this is something very serious, and you want to make sure they have made a very serious decision insofar as a right relationship with God is concerned, and in right relationship with their fellow man before you speak that word of forgiveness.  It's a very powerful thing, and whenever you use it, you'll see that the effect is akin to deliverance in the sense of the release that there will be, the release of the spirit.

We see in Matthew 6:14 another indication that one can speak that word of forgiveness to you and say your sins are forgiven whether that other person forgives you or not.  If you forgive them, your heavenly Father forgives you.  If you don't forgive them, then neither will the heavenly Father forgive you.

Now we might as well get into another controversy.

"Moreover, when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast.  Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward.  But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that you do not appear to be fasting, and your father, who knows all things that are secret, sees in secret and will reward you openly."

For the first time, we're introduced to a subject about which Christians are almost completely ignorant.  And yet there have been books after books after books written by Christians on the subjects of fasts and fasting and the sacred fast, or the holy fast, or we're all going to fast so that we might get something.  We want something, so we're going to fast.  Just as many of our prayers are whining, much of our fasting is for selfish reasons or selfish purposes.

In Hebrew, there is only one reason to fast.  Repentance.  If you don't need to repent, there is no reason to fast, because fasting is for remembrance, for reflection, for introspection that leads one to repentance.  The thirty days before Yom Kippur are called the Days of Awe, a period for reflection over the past year for one's actions, a time to prepare oneself in repentance.  God can cleanse only after one has repented of his sins.

Not only that, but in Hebrew, you only fast from morning till evening.  After the sun goes down, you eat.  It's the same way even to this day; it's not a total abstinence from food.  A lot of what has been written by Christians on the subject of fasting is simply wrong, and a lot of times we do it to be seen by men.  I don't know how many times I have had somebody come up to me and tell me about their fast, as if it's for some kind of merit badge and I ought to give them a pin in acknowledgment of their service they've rendered unto God, as if they had some reward coming.

When you do fast, the Bible says do it in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Verse 25: "Don't take any thought for your life, what you are going to eat, what you are going to drink, for your body, what you are going to put on; is not the life more than meat and the body more than raiment?  Look at the fowls of the air; they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are you not of much more worth than they?  Which of you by taking thought or by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  And why do you worry about raiment?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.  They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, oh ye of little faith?"

Now, what is God telling us here?  He's saying, don't be self-centered.  Don't be thinking about yourself.  Don't be worrying.  If you have true biblical faith, you're also going to have batach (trust).  Remember the old song "Trust and Obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey?"  That's what emunah is—trust and obedience.  As a matter of fact, during the time of David and the psalms, the word batach, trust, and emunah become inseparably linked to the point that they are almost indistinguishable.  Then the bottom line is, don't be taking any thought for the morrow, but seek first … what?

What is kingdom?  Those who are ruled by God, but further, those who are demonstrating the rule of God in their lives through action.  So, what he's saying is, you seek to be the demonstration of the power of God in action, and all of these things are going to be added unto you!  In other words, be busy being, be busy doing, and all these things will take care of themselves.

In chapter 7:  "Judge not that you be not judged, for with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged, and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again."

That's a real problem.  Are we to judge or not.  Paul said, don't take these things before pagan courts.  Don't you know you're supposed to judge these matters?  Then we're told that we'll even judge the angels.  What is it that we're supposed to judge, and what are we not supposed to judge?

Well, we've seen previously that we're not to judge the condition of a man's heart.  But one thing we can judge is his actions and words.  If his words are false, if his actions are inappropriate, we can judge those things, but we can't judge his heart.  We can look at a doctrine, we can look at a teaching, and we can say that's not right.

I must confess at this point that I have a problem with a lot of things that I see in print when they get down to mentioning individuals, and calling them heretics.  So-and-so's a heretic because he teaches this particular theology or doctrine.  As a matter of fact, I've even been called a heretic, and, in truth, I are one if you know what that word heretic means.  It comes from a Greek word which basically means one who doesn't conform to the norm.  It doesn't mean one who is not necessarily right.  In other words, a person can be a heretic and still be right if the norm is wrong.  Return to Word Study Links-heretic

The point is, it ill behooves us to speak of an individual as being a heretic.  His doctrine may be in error, but it's not up to us to judge the individual.

In this context, the judgment that chapter 7 is talking about is really not judging.  It has to do with the way that we deal with our neighbors, and it's not even judging.  It's probably best translated as with what measure you mete, it's going to be meted back to you.  In other words, the way you treat somebody is the way you're going to be treated.  If you don't give full value, you won't receive full value.  Don't be worrying about the little splinter in your brother's eye when you have a railroad tie in yours.  Try to get yourself in order and don't be worrying about your brother.  Make sure that your relationship with your brother is right and don't be critical.

This is all summed up in verse 12:  What you would have men do to you, do even to them, because this is the law and the prophets.  That is biblical faith summed up in one sentence.  We thought this business of being in right relationship with God was complicated.  It necessitated, almost as the prophets and prophetesses of Baal, screaming and cutting of oneself and rending one's garments and crying out to God.  Some church services I've gone to have been pretty close to that.

You see, what's being emphasized here is not what we do this way (^), but what we do this way (<—>).

Now the implications.  If you were homeless and out on the street, what would you like someone to do for you?  If you were hungry and had nothing to eat, what would you like someone to do for you?  If you were down on your luck and needed a break, what would you want someone to do for you?  Whatever you want that men should do for you, do for them!  That's the injunction to the child of God.  That's the injunction to the church.  Look around; see the world around you.

We, Christianity, have become almost another pagan religious system.  We even have a pagan deity, a pagan god.  We've carved a statue out of wood and stone.  We've got pictures; we know what he looks like. And all of our worship, everything that we do, centers on and around Jesus.  And everything that you hear any more is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.  I don't ever hear anybody talking about God anymore.  You never hear anything about the love of God, about the mercy of God, about the greatness of God, about the justice of God, about the righteousness of God, about GOD!

Who is this man?  Who was Yeshua m'Natseret?  He was God.  He was the redemptive aspect of deity.

But when we properly understand the nature of God, how many Gods are there?  There is only one God.  If there is only one, there can't be two.  That means the devil is not a god.  He's not the god of this world; he's not the god of anything and he never was.

If there is only one, there can't be three.  So how do I understand God?  God is the sum and total of all that he is and all that he has been doing.  And one of the things that he did at a certain point in history was to become flesh in order that he might bring his people back to himself, those who had strayed, that they might be brought back into the flock, that the crippled might be restored, that the weak might be strengthened.

That's one of the things that he was doing, but that wasn't all!  We've focused in to the point where we've made Jesus the sum and total of all that we do.  How do we do it?  In what we call praise and worship, and it becomes a selfish, self-centered religion that completely ignores our fellow man.  Any time that you stand up and say anything about social abuses or about the needs of society, all of a sudden you're a humanist.  You're just not spiritual.  You're too worldly, world oriented.  God's not interested in social matters.  God's not interested in pagans, in wicked folks.  He's the one that sent AIDS in order to wipe out all of these queers, to annihilate them from the face of the earth.

It's easy for us to neglect, not our social responsibilities, but our biblical responsibilities.  We're talking about divine injunctions now.  We're talking about the words of Jesus.  Roy Blizzard's not the one that said all this stuff.  Jesus is the one that said, "Whatever you would that men should do to you, you do to them."  The way you want to be treated is the way you are to treat others.

He's the one who said, don't take any thought for the morrow.  Quit worrying, quit being selfish, quit focusing in on yourself.  Seek to be the demonstration of God's power in action here in this world, and all of these other things will be added to you.  BE the kingdom.

We've got things so out of whack that it's as if the ecclesiastical church has become a pagan religious system that is completely and totally foreign to biblical faith.  And I think that the true child of God has just about had enough.  I think that there are a lot of people who have finally figured out that these silly games aren't meeting their needs.  These silly games are not only not meeting their needs, but they are not meeting the needs of society, and what's happening out there in society is, in turn, affecting them.  We'd better do something to try to solve some of the social ills if we want to be whole, because until society is whole and our neighbors are whole, we're not going to have any peace because they're going to be after what we have.

These things that I'm saying are rather revolutionary.  There are not very many people who want to hear this.  It's really not popular.   You can get rocked for saying some of the things that I've said, especially for implying that there's something wrong with the church, that we have things out of kilter.  But the simple fact of the matter is that if you listen to the words of Jesus, you'll see very quickly that the real emphasis, the real thrust, of what he is saying has to do with man's relationship to his fellow man.  It has to do with what's happening in the now, what's happening in this world, how we treat our fellow man, how we minister to our fellow man, and he has almost nothing to say about how we worship God.

So, if we're talking about a social religion, if we're talking about humanism, Jesus was the one who brought it up, not me.  We throw those words around so tritely, a lot of people don't even know what they mean.  Most people wouldn't know a "secular humanist" if they met one on the street, or what they believe.  And the bottom line is that a lot of them believe what they believe because they see what the church is and has done, which is little or nothing in remedying the social ills, and they are concerned.  We say, well, these folks are pagans, they're atheists, they don't believe in God, when, I think that if the church were busy doing the words of Jesus and heeding his instructions, we would find that they would very quickly fall behind us in rank and file, and assist in trying to undertake the healing of some of the social problems in our world.

Notice as Jesus goes on, in verse 15:  "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing and inwardly are ravening wolves."  You'll know them one way, and that's by their fruits.

There's only one little problem there.  Most of us don't know what kind of fruit the tree is supposed to be bearing.  So when we see crab apples on it, we think there's an apple tree.  I've had so many people come to me over the years:  "What about this guy?  I know he did this and that, but you go to his meeting and there are signs and wonders and miracles and …"

We don't understand what God means by fruit.  Fruit doesn't have anything to do with signs and wonders and miracles.  The devil can do that.  He can dance a jig; he can do all kinds of things.  But you can mark down that there's one thing the devil's not going to do.  The devil is not going to do anything to help make a man whole.

Verse 21:  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, 'Lord' is going to enter into the kingdom," is going to be a part of my movement, but only "he that doeth the will of my Father, which is in Heaven."

Again, what is the will of the Father?

"Many are going to say unto me, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have we not cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?'  And then I will say unto them, I never knew you.  Depart from me, you that work iniquity."

This word iniquity in Hebrew is aven, and it means trouble, or stubbornness.  The Bible says "stubbornness is as idolatry," and in that sense it's used synonymously with idolatry.  One who works or causes trouble because he's stubborn and won't do what God told him to do.  Basically, iniquity, aven, is the direct opposite of tzedakah.

Oh, they've done many wonderful things.  They've cast out devils and prophesied and performed miracles and done all kinds of mighty, wonderful works, and in all they never really did what God told them to do.  And that was to BE the kingdom, and be manifesting the rule of God in their lives in action, in tzedakah.

Matt. 9:  "And behold, they brought unto him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed, and Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, 'Son, be of good cheer.  Your sins be forgiven you."

This is so fantastic!  All of this is of such dramatic proportions, of such great depth, that we've never really grasped it!  We've been busy playing little church games, talking little church words and church theology, and in most instances, we don't even know what we're talking about.  We talk about sin.  We don't know what sin is.  We talk about "saved."  We don't know what "saved" is.  We talk about "lost."  We don't know what "lost" is either.  We toss these words around, yet we really don't understand the depth of their meanings.

Jesus said, "I, the son of man, am come to seek and to save those that are lost."  What does lost mean?  He comes to save.  What does save mean?

We think that sin is something that's going to get us zapped.  We commit a sin and we're going to burn in hell.  But in Hebrew, there are two categories of sin.  The first category is called a willful sin, for which there are no provisions made for atonement.  When a person commits one, he is just cut off.  Cain was cut off and cast out from God.  Nadav and Avihu that offered up strange fire on the altar.  Kohat and Datan and Aviram that rebelled against the authority of Moses and the ground opened and swallowed them.  Achen at the valley of Achor that stole the wedge of gold in the conquest of Jericho—they took him out and stoned him.  Ananias and Sapphira that lied to the Holy Spirit, fell over dead—no provisions made for their atonement.  What was their sin?

We talk about an unpardonable sin.  What is that?  I've had many people come to me distraught.  They were afraid that they had committed the unpardonable sin.  Well, I know what the unpardonable sin is, and I can tell you real quick what it is.  It's divorce.  If you don't think so, get one and try to go back to church.  You can commit murder; you can commit adultery four or five times; and if you do it enough and get forgiveness, you can also get a program on Christian television.  But if you get a divorce, that's the one thing God can't forgive, apparently, because nobody else can.  Well, I guess you know I'm being facetious, which is something I very rarely do.

There is no such thing as an unpardonable sin as long as there is desire in the heart of man for pardon.  We'll talk about that a little later and see some of the things that Jesus has to say.  But the point that I want to make is that the second category of sins is called the sins of the weakness of the flesh, or the missing-of-the-mark kind of sins.  Those sins that we commit are not sins that are going to get us zapped.  When we do them, God's not immediately going to pick us up and chuck us down into the fire.  These are sins that, when we commit them (if you will, let me use allegory and say), they cause a tear to come to God's eyes.  He's disappointed, and he's liable to snatch us up and whack us on the butt, and say, Next time, do better.

Here's a man who's a child of God, a member of the household of faith, and when they bring him sick of the palsy to Jesus, what does he say?  He says, "B'ni."  "My son, be of good cheer.  Your sins be forgiven you."

Notice what immediately happens.  The people think he's blaspheming.  Why?  Because Jesus uses a word that's used forty-two times in the Old Testament, and all forty-two times, it's only used for God.  It's the Hebrew word salach, from the infinitive lishloach.  Only God can soleach sins.  When Jesus says this, they immediately understand him as declaring himself to be God.  And they said, only God can forgive sins.  He said, that's right, only God can.  "Whither is it easier for me to say your sins be forgiven you, or to say, arise, take up your bed and walk (i.e., be healed).  That you may know that the Son of man has the authority on earth to forgive sins, I say unto you, take up your bed and walk."  And the man takes up his bed and walks, and all the people are amazed, they are struck with awe because they realize who it is in their midst:  The one who has come to make men whole.

Notice something about this man:  Everywhere he goes, his words are always accompanied by actions, as he reaches out and meets the people where they are and ministers to them.

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Last update 16 May 2020