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Does John 20:23 mean a sinner can be forgiven after death?

This passage basically states if you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven them. A Christian minister suggested to me,according to this passage, that if you forgive an unsaved sinner who has died then their sins will be forgiven and therefore be sinless before God. This doesn't ring true as I have always believed that post death comes judgment (Heb 9:27; 2 Cor 5:10) but it was inappropriate  to confront him at the time on this. He has already labelled me as a fundamentalist presumably because of my literal interpretation of scripture. However he is an elderly,knowledgeable  ordained minister and I am just a lay person.

John 20:23

ESV - 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.

Clarify Share Report Asked December 09 2019 Mini ainsley chalmers

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The verses cited in the question (and especially the verse from Hebrews) have always clearly indicated to me that there is no opportunity or "second chance" for salvation after death, either on the part of the deceased, or as a result of actions taken by the living on behalf of the deceased.

We are saved by faith (Habakkuk 2:4), which can only be personally exercised by each individual (not by another person on the individual's behalf), and during this earthly life. After death, we will "know as we are known" (1 Corinthians 13:12), which will eliminate the possibility of faith. (As C. S. Lewis said, "believing" under those circumstances would be like a Frenchman in World War II waiting until the Allies were marching into Germany before announcing that he was on the Allies' side, or saying that you "choose" to lie down when a lack of vertical space makes it impossible for you to stand upright.)

December 09 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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