Q. What is Jesus telling the disciples here in John 20:22-23? “Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” If we are to forgive 70 x 7 times, what would be the case where they would not forgive someone’s sin?
A. On the night of His resurrection Jesus invested the disciples with the Holy Spirit (John 20:22-23). This would give them the discernment to know if a person’s confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior was from the heart or not, enabling them to act on the Lord’s behalf to inform the person whether his or her sins were forgiven.
This is not the same as the personal forgiveness we are to extend to someone who sins against us as Jesus taught in Matt. 18:21-22.