Who Can Forgive?

The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.—Matthew 9:6

Perhaps one of the most significant ways in which Jesus is unlike anyone else who has ever lived is that He has the ability to forgive sins. I am sure you will know the words of the famous hymn that refers to the forgiveness offered by Christ:

He breaks the power of cancelled sin,

He sets the prisoner free.

I know of no one else who can do that. Some psychoanalysts try to rid the soul of guilt, but though they may be successful with pseudo-guilt (guilt that is imagined rather than real), they are powerless to deal with the stain of sin that is deeply ingrained in every human soul. The secular therapist will examine the stuff of your dreams, invite you to answer a series of harmless questions, and then drag out from your forgotten past the source of all your trouble—some past transgression or sin. But even the most highly trained team of psychoanalysts cannot forgive. They may expose an old wound, but they cannot heal it. They may show you that your trouble is an ancient sin, but they cannot cleanse it from the system. And that is what our sick souls need most of all—forgiveness.

A man I talked to the other day said he went to a professional counselor, a non-Christian, who found the root of his trouble—an old and wicked sin. “Now,” said the man, “tell me the cure.” “Just forgive yourself,” said the analyst. Forgive yourself? It’s a lot easier to do that when you know that you yourself have been forgiven.


Lord Jesus, not only have You forgiven me, but You keep on forgiving me. Help me realize, however, that though Your forgiveness is free, it is not cheap. For You had to die in order to bring me forgiveness. Help me never forget that. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 26:17-30; Ac 13:38; Heb 9:22

Why is forgiveness available?

Seek forgiveness for your sin today.

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