A Deeper Look At The Lord's Prayer
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
In this post we will be looking at the topic of forgiveness as we come to verse 12 in the model prayer which says "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
It could be argued that this petition is the most important part of this prayer.
The Bible says man's biggest problem is sin, and if man's biggest problem is sin than his greatest need is forgiveness.
Here we are going to look at forgiveness in 3 different ways
1) Forgiveness for the one who is not yet a follower of Christ
2) Forgiveness for the one who is a Follower of Christ
3) Forgiveness for those who have done us wrong
Why do I need forgiveness?
Here we see that we are asking God to forgive us our debts.
What is meant here by the word debt? This is one of five words used in the new testament to refer to sin.
The Bible tells us that every single person without exception is a sinner and without His intervention this separates us from Him.
Romans 3:10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
The Bible tells us that every single person has inherited sin from our first parents, Adam and Eve. This is called original sin and because Adam was the best of us and he fell to sin than every one one of us would have fallen as well, therefore we are all represented by Adam and therefore responsible for that sin.
Not only are we being held accountable for original sin, we are also guilty of actual personal sin, these are the sins that you commit willfully. These are called sins of commission
We also sin in the things we are supposed to do but fail to do, these are called sins of omission.
Because we are sinners the Bible tells us that we are going to be held accountable to God
Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
Romans 6:23 [Tells us the penalty we will pay for our sin] For the wages of sin is death.....
Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, We have a massive debt to God that requires a payment.
So what do we do?
We need what is called Judicial Forgiveness, This is your standing before God.
Habakkuk 1:13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong....
To stand before God and enter into His Heaven you must be completely righteous, that is you must be forgiven of all your sins.
How does a completely sinful person that cannot stand before a Holy God become righteous and able to stand before God completely cleansed of all their sins? There is nothing we can do to rescue ourselves but the good news is God has already provided a way.
God sent His Son Jesus Christ to redeem us, He done this by satisfying God's wrath against sin. Because all sin deserves a punishment, Jesus came and lived a completely sinless life and went willingly to die on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin, He became our substitute.
How bad is your sin? How offensive is your sin and my sin to God? So bad that the only way He could rescue you was for him to pour His wrath against it on His own Son.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
When Jesus becomes your Lord and Savior every sin you have every committed and ever will commit gets put on Jesus and he pays for it on the cross.
Colossians 2:13-14 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
When this happens you receive Judicial Forgiveness and are declared perfectly righteous.
Romans 4:7-8 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."
If you're reading this today and you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior the good news is God has made a way.
What about those of us who are already followers of Christ, is this a prayer for me? Am I to ask for forgiveness when I pray If I've already been forgiven?
Not only is their judicial forgiveness from God there is also Parental Forgiveness
It might help to understand this type of forgiveness by thinking of a father and son. There is really no sin a son could commit against a good father that would make him not love his son but those sins could most definitely hinder their relationship. But what good father wouldn't want to restore that relationship through the son asking for forgiveness.
While your daily sins will not affect your eternal position they will stunt your spiritual progress. The results may be:
Your sins will hinder your fellowship with God
They will deafen you to the voice of His Spirit
They will blind you to spiritual truth
They can even take away your desire to pray
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We need Judicial forgiveness once and for all and we need Parental forgiveness every single day.
How do I get Forgiveness?
The Bible tells us we receive forgiveness by believing
John 3:14-17 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Act 16:31 ......Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.....
What does it mean to believe?
Romans 10:9-10 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Act 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,
Luke 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
What is the result of forgiveness?
Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more."
When God forgives someone He forgives them forever and completely
Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 1:11-14 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Overflow of Forgiveness
Other's sins against me are small compared to my sin against God.
Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
In other words you may very well prove you don't have the father's forgiveness if your not willing to forgive others. In closing I will share a favorite quote of mine
"God can't use a person greatly until He has broken him deeply" -A.W. Tozer
God wants us to be broken over our sin
Luke 18:10-14 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
1) Christians who are reading this today, is there sin that is keeping you from having an intimate relationship with your heavenly Father?
2) Or has someone done you wrong and you haven't yet forgiven them?
3) And Finally, those of you who are reading this today that don't know the Lord as your Savior, do you realize your need for forgiveness?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions than the answer is the same, confess your sins to the Lord and ask him to forgive you and turn away from your sin.