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Scripture: John 20:22-23

Jesus excelled in all four forms of Sonship: Son of Abraham, son of David, Son of Man and Son of God and revealed four realms of power, dunamis, exousia, ischuo and krateo. Jesus commanded the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for dunamis. The great commission released exousia. Ischuo is the power needed to overcome in an often extended battle. The fourth realm of power that Jesus released appears in John 20:22-23. This passage says, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’” Retain is the Greek word krateo. Krateo generally means a very high level of dominion. The dominion of God is demonstrated when we rightly and appropriately judge. When God’s dominion through His mature believers comes on the scene it overpowers everything else around, nothing can stand in the face of the dominion of God. In John 20:22 we learn that Jesus after His resurrection gave believers the Holy Spirit. One component of the power of the Holy Spirit is the authority to forgive sin and the authority to retain sin. Most of us have never heard a message on when to retain sin. It may be that many in the church are not at the maturity level to handle such a message. This level of power demands a wise, obedient, attentive believer with a listening ear. Sonship requires maturity. Jesus made forgiveness and judgment the first application of receiving the Spirit for the twelve. God’s judgment is a dominion demonstration. Much of the church has embraced a demonic doctrine of counterfeit grace fostering tolerance and shunning judgment. Sadly, this actually hinders salvation rather than facilitating it. Very simply when we forgive sin, then we release the perpetrators from judgment. The person is free from the judgment of whatever they committed. If we retain sin then the judgment can now escalate according to the penalty prescribed in an attempt to gain repentance! If we forgive sin, we release people from all further penalty as God’s representatives of mercy and grace in the earth. Retaining sin allows God to call people to account at the next higher level of judgment in the hope of gaining repentance and restoration. It really is the perfect foundation for judgment or remission. Jesus is demonstrating all authority given to Him in heaven and earth by commissioning the church with the authority to forgive or retain sin! Here again it is good to remind ourselves this kind of judgment is calling people to account for their actions. We retain sin in the hope of gaining salvation through repentance, but judgment is necessary or evil will destroy the culture. God brought a flood to ultimately save the human race!