Man’s Power To Forgive Sin
The teaching of Jesus Christ concerning man’s power to forgive sins is the least understood of any of his commandments. A distinct separation is made between sin and its effects, and the sin is treated in one way and the effect in another. When a man’s sins make him ill, his minister recommends a doctor. The doctor treats his body as merely a piece of machinery to be patched up. No real healing takes place, because both the minister and the doctor are ignorant of the cause of the illness.
Jesus always connected sin and sickness as cause and effect. When the man sick of the palsy was let down through the roof of a house, that he might be brought before Jesus for healing, there were those present who expected the healing to be done in some mysterious way; and when Jesus spoke of forgiving the man’s sins in order to heal him, they said, “This man blasphemeth: who can forgive sins but one, even God?” These men lived in a material world and saw everything from a material viewpoint. They did not understand that the man’s sins caused his palsy. As a proof of man’s power to forgive sin, and thus heal the effects of sin, Jesus said when the man was brought for healing.
“But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee, Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thy house. And he arose, and straightway took up the bed, and went forth before them all: insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God.”
Jesus taught plainly that the mind was the originating place of every act. He said if there was lust in the heart it was sin, even though the overt act were not committed. All thinking people in this day accept without question, that the body is moved by the mind; and those who have made a study of mental processes have found that all the conditions of the body are brought about by the mind; also that there is a law of right thought, and that a departure from that law is sin, or “missing the mark,” which is the original meaning of the word.
Forgiveness really means to give up something. When you forgive yourself, you cease doing the thing you ought not to do. Jesus was correct in assuming that man had power to forgive sin. Sin is a falling short of the Divine Law, and repentance and forgiveness are the only means man has of getting out of sin and its effects, and coming into harmony with the Law. But who can tell what the Law is? Only those who study man as a spiritual and mental being. Study of manifestation alone is futile; it leads nowhere. We must get at the cause side. All sin is first a mental concept; and the first step in forgiveness is a change of mind, or repentance. Some mental attitude, some train of mental energy, must be transformed. We forgive sin in ourselves every time we resolve to think and act according to the Divine Law. The mind must change from a material to a spiritual base. The Law is already fixed; there is nothing in it to be changed, because God is the lawgiver and does not change. The change is all on the part of man, and within him. The moment he changes his mind the Divine Law rushes in and begins the healing work.
The Law is Truth, and the Truth is that all is Good. There is no power and no reality in sin. God’s eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, and he beholds man as a pure spiritual being. The moment man realizes this, he puts himself in harmony with the Truth of Being, and the Law wipes out all his transgressions. In this way he is healed. Man began his transgressions through desiring to know, and in the process of seeking for knowledge he fell short. The sin was not in the desire to know, but in the disobedience and stubbornness of man in seeking knowledge in forbidden ways. Stubbornness and resistance to the Spirit will keep one out of forgiveness as long as he stays in that state of mind. This is the unpardonable sin. It is simply a willful closing of the mind against pardon and forgiveness. The only way to get out of this state of mind is to know that it has no power, but that man is free to obey the Divine Law.
In denying the reality of sin, send out your freeing thought to others as well as to yourself. Do not hold any one in bondage to the idea of sin. If you do, it will pile up and increase in power according to the laws of mental action.
No one can understand how forgiveness sets the sin-bound soul and sick body free unless he studies mind and has some understanding of its laws. There is a universal thought substance in which thought builds whatever man wills. Thus the right images become active through the power of thought. Man has unlimited power through thought, and he can give his power to things, or withhold it. If he thinks about the power of sin, he builds up and gives force to that idea until it engulfs him in its whirlpool of thought substance. Thus man forgets his spiritual origin and sees the human only. He thinks of himself as a sinner, “born in sin and conceived in iniquity,” instead of the “image and likeness of God.” Man also sees the law of sowing and reaping, and fears his sins and their results. Thus fear of the Divine Law is added to his burdens. The way out of this maze of ignorance, sin, and sickness is through understanding the real being, and then forgiving, or giving up, all thoughts of the reality of sin and its effects in body. But we must recognize the unity of the race in Christ, and include all people in our forgiving. A good freeing statement is,
“I do not believe in the power of sin in myself nor in others.”
If one tries to free himself while holding others in the thought of sin, he will not demonstrate his freedom. No man can rise except as he lifts the race with him in his thought. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” As by one man sin came into the world, so by one man is it done away with. As all were included in the sin of one, so all are included in the righteousness of one, and every man stands sinless before God in Christ Jesus. Recognition of this truth shall make men free, and the greater the number who enter into the recognition and declare the truth, the sooner shall all men know that they are free from sin in Christ.