"Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."
The key to understanding this verse is found in verse 21 of this chapter: "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
How had the Father sent the Son into the world? To speak His own words? Jesus said, "For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak." John 12:49. Again Christ said, "I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things." John 8:28. "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." John 7:16. "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." John 6:38.
Clearly then, Jesus sent His disciples as the Father had sent Him. They were not to speak their own words, but His. Paul said that he was only an ambassador for Christ. An ambassador does not speak his own words, but the words of the one he represents. Now we will read the entire text of Paul' s words to see what Christ' s ambassadors will speak for Him: "God... hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling tl3e world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." 2 Corinthians 5:18-20.
Please notice that, as an ambassador for Christ, one can carry only His Word to the people. And that word of reconciliation which He has given for the people is that their trespasses are not imputed to them. This is the only way anyone can remit sins. He can pass along Christ' s word about forgiveness and assure them of acceptance as they meet the requirements of that word.