FORGIVENESS OF SINS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
There are four points related to this subject one of which being Paul's opinion.
Man is born with original sin, the authority that can forgive sins, Atonement for one's sins through belief in Christ, Absolution through confession.
MAN IS BORN A SINNER
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5/12)
« Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.» (Romans 7/17-20)
This teaching, whose origin goes back to Paul, claims that man is born a sinner. According to this teaching, Adam and Eve, who had been placed in paradise to dwell there for an eternity, had, by the serpent's guile, eaten from the fruit of the forbidden tree and were expelled from the Garden of Eden, becoming mere mortals. The sin they had committed was transmitted from father to son. Adam's offense has caused the entire mankind to sin.
« Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;» (Romans 3/25)
« And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.» (Hebrews 9/22)
« For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.» (1 Corinthians 15/3,4)
God, by his sense of justice and love for human beings, decided to allow his Son be sacrificed to atone for the sin of humanity. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for the forgiveness of the sins that human being committed and was crucified and died on the cross before resurrecting after three days. The blood he shed was the ransom he paid for the sins of the humanity.
« It was the third explanation that ended by being accepted. In point of fact, it continued the paradoxes faced by the earliest believers:for Jesus the Messiah was not different from other human beings; though the Son of God, he was humiliated and died on the cropss. Bur Resurrection confirmed his divinity».(M. Eliade, Ibid, p 360 vol II)
THE AUTHORITY TO ABSOLVE
« Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: »(Colossians 1/13-14)
« And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;» (2/13)
According to Paul, Lord had absolved the human beings from their sins through the blood that his Son had shed, delegating thus, his power to Lord Jesus who had been given the power to absolve sins. This was an authority beyond a prophet's power. The concept of Son of God was against the convictions of the Nazarene Jewish-Christians. For them Jesus was the last prophet to be sent to the Israelites. This did not fit in the concept of Monotheism. « It was the third explanation that ended by being accepted. In point of fact, it continued the paradoxes faced by the earliest believers:for Jesus the Messiah was not different from other human beings; though the Son of God, he was humiliated and died on the cropss. Bur Resurrection confirmed his divinity.» (M.Eliade, Ibid. P.360)
The first basic document of Christ,anty was Paul's letters All the authors of the gospels had been inspired by Paul.
« When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? .»(Mark 2/5,7)
ABSOLUTION FROM SINS THROUGH BELIEF IN CHRIST
« Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God» (Romans 3/20,23)
« For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (»Galatians 3/10-11)
According to this teaching Paul said that Adam had rebelled, thus committing an offense against God, and his sin had been inherited by his sons. However, God who loved his creatures desired to save mankind from perdition by sending his Son to the world for the expiation of the sins of the mankind. So that Jesus Christ had died on the cross and the mankind was saved. The blood he had shed on the cross was the ransom that he had paid.
« In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: »(Colossians 1/13,14)
Absolution cold not be accomplished simply by obedience to Law and compliance with God commandments, but one had to believe in Christ. « That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. »(Romans 10/9,10)
Paul's elevation of Jesus to the rank of god had caused dissent among the Nazarene Christians, and James, brother of Jesus. had not deified his elder brother; he had never stated that he was the Son of God; he had only said that simple faith without action would avail to nothing. « For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?(»James 2/10,14) This passage conflicted with Paul's teaching.
According to the credo of Christianity, Jesus Christ had come to the world to save mankind, he had sacrificed himself and was crucified and died on the cross and was resurrected after three days and raised to heaven. This will save the sin of mankind. Once one is baptized, one must do his best not to commit a sin. For, baptism was a 'rebirth', the beginning of an eternal life while one is still in this world
ABSOLUTION THROUGH CONFESSION « And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.» (Matthew 16/18,19)
« And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.» (John 20/22,23)
« Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.» (1 Corinthians 4/1)
The Catholic Church claims on the basis of the above verses that it has the authority to absolve the sins of persons. The Pope derived his authority from Peter. He had established the first Church in Jerusalem in his capacity as the official representative of the Son of God. Today, the Pope is still the representative of Christ. He is at the same time the head of the Romish Church and the Spiritual leader of the Roman State. The pope has unchallengeable authority over the Church. Although the above verses give God as reference, all Christians are expected to abide by the decision to be made by the Catholic Church and the Council in their capacity as official representatives of Peter, and, consequently, of Jesus Christ. Just like the twelve apostles of Christ who were his disciples, the Church serves as assistant to the Pope. The Catholic Church decrees that it has the authority to absolve persons from their sins. On the other hand, Christians are liable to commit sins in addition to their original sin. The priests as representatives of the Pope believe that they have the authority to forgive the sins of the penitents who confess their sins to them in the church to the father confessor. The indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment including canonical penances and especially purgatorial atonement that according to Roman Catholicism is due by divine justice for sins whose eternal punishment has been remitted and whose guilt has been pardoned by the reception of the sacrament of penance Indulgences have caused grave incidents in history; the indulgences favored to the participants in the Crusades in 1095 by Pope Urban II were of this kind. He had wanted to cause the indulgences to gain wide acceptance among the population in the 14th century. Both the collection of money and of donations gathered, to build up cathedrals and universities, led to corruption. This practice was given up in the sixteenth century.
FORGIVENESS OF SINS IN THE QUR'AN