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Prayer

Forgive us our debts

Matthew 6:8-15
Don't be like them. After all, God who is your Father, knows you needs before you ask him. Pray then like this -- Our Heavenly Father, may your name be honoured; May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day the bread we need, Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us. Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil. For if you forgive other people their failures, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you will not forgive other people, neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you your failures.
Phillips

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive . . .

Romans 12:17-18
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
NKJV

This one sounds pretty simple.

Ask God to forgive you - and then, you should . . . forgive and release others. You must set your sights on forgiving those who sin against you. But it certainly is against human nature to do this. Why should we?

Matthew 6:14-15
14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. NKJV

This is the basis for this petition. But - why forgive?

Have you noticed the flow of this prayer? There is one petition concerning our bodies (Give us our daily bread), while this is the first of two petitions concerning our souls - forgiveness of debts or trespasses, and not being lead into temptation. Why the emphasis on the soul?

Perhaps the reason is the immortality of the soul.

Luke 12:4-5
4 "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! NKJV

The whole point is that the soul is immortal and lives forever - either in heaven or in hell. If this were a real debt, the debtor in Christ's time could go to debtor's prison - jail! If sin is a debt, the jail is hell! Jail is eternal punishment!

Why would God send us to jail? Because we owe Him a debt. The Bible calls this debt "sin." Sin is, in its simplest form, disobedience to God. God says, "I want a relationship with you. The way to establish this relationship is through Jesus. Failure to accept this path is disobedience."

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. NKJV

The great news is that God, in His mercy and grace, has provided the mechanism for us to be forgiven of our sins. This path is accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then, once we have excepted Jesus as The Christ, we must continue our obedience. And, once again, our gracious God provides that when we are disobedient, the mechanism still exists for forgiveness.

1 John 1:8-9 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. NKJV

Whether sinner or believer, unsaved or saved, we are made secure from God&s wrath through the power and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. NKJV

It is at this point that the entire proposition becomes more difficult, for part of the path of obedience is the forgiving of those who harm us, who sin against us. We must forgive them, just as God has forgiven us. We must do this on our own accord, not waiting until someone comes and says "I am sorry." God demands that we forgive others.

And what is this forgiveness?

Forgiveness of sin is more than accepting an "I am sorry" or some other form of apology. Forgiveness of sin is moving it to the farthest reaches of our memory, never to recall it again, never to bring it to mind again - to toss the sin into the deepest part of the ocean where it will never float to the surface again. God is our pattern for this type of forgiveness.

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. NKJV

Psalm 85:2 You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. NKJV

Psalm 103:12-14 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. 14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. NKJV

God forgives sin out of His own nature and character. He forgives, because He loves us and wants to forgive.

Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. NKJV

What is more exciting is that while we may forgive because God commands us to, we will find the more we forgive others, the more it builds our own character and the more we want to forgive and forget and move on in life. Forgiveness of sin is a choice. Following this path will produce great blessings in our lives. We are to forgive, because we come to love others as God loves us.

Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. NKJV

God forgave us through Christ. We are to forgive others in the same fashion. When we rely upon Christ for our strength, He gives us the power to forgive in love. This is the point of the prayer. Draw upon God&s strength in order to follow His example.

 

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