Explaining the PMW: Not the Private Use of the Keys

The previous post on the Private Use of the Keys only included the first part of my summary explanation. Here’s the second part:

Christians, on their own part, may also forgive others the sins committed directly against them. While this is only possible because of the keys, it is not in itself a use of the keys. This may be considered a “private” use of the keys, but it is not what is meant by the statement.

Public and Private are opposites, showing by what authority some “ministerial act” is done. When it’s public, it’s done by the authority of Christ. When it’s private, it’s done by the authority of the one who does it.

As shown in the last post, that usage is modified a little bit when the PMW speaks of the private use of the keys.

But this part of my explanation shows something that could really be called “private,” because the forgiving is done on the authority of the one who was wronged. Sister sticks out tongue at brother. Brother pinches sister. Sister cries. Mother tells brother to apologize. Brother says “I’m sorry.” Sister… does what? She says “I forgive you,” meaning that not Christ, but she herself forgives her brother. That’s what this is about.

However, the PMW doesn’t have this in mind with the phrase “private use of the keys.” Why not? Because it’s not concerned with sister’s keys and forgiveness, but with God’s keys and forgiveness.

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