We continue our exposition of the Lords prayer as we examine what Jesus said in Matthew 6:12, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”
In this one verse, we find two obvious distinctions:
a. We Are Debtors
When Jesus says that we should ask forgiveness for our debts, he’s not talking about our mortgage, VISA bill or overdue library books
The Jewish culture equated SIN with DEBT – they often the two terms interchangeably.
They rightly understood that the sum total of our lives are on loan from God.
We saw last week that every good gift comes from above – every time we act in a way that violates our Creators principles for how we’re to live these lives and use His blessings – every time we break His laws through our actions, inactions, thoughts, words or deeds – we SPEND this gift in a way that is contrary to His will – this, in a very real sense, puts us in debt to Him
the way that the Jewish audience would have understood – debts – which is why the word is used // this is how they understood sin and it’s consequences.
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
1 John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death”
Every human has a mountain of moral debt that we cannot pay and this prayer is an admission to that reality as well as a belief that the hope of forgiveness exists.
When we pray, “forgive us our debts” we are establishing that fact that we’re sinners in need of forgiveness.
It’s the deepest, most urgent need in life. All have broken His law and have rejected His commandments – as a result, we need forgiveness
SO – this prayer demonstrates first of all, that we are all debtors…but also
b. We Have Debtors
Not only do we all sin against God, we’ve also been sinned against
There’s none among us who’ve not, at some point, from the hands of another (possibly even someone we were close to) the felt the sting of betrayal, the pain of gossip, the gut punch of breached trust.
We’ve all been sinned against, sometimes even in the most grievous ways.
When that takes place, as a natural instinct, we feel as though that person owes us something…they are indebted to us!
We sometimes respond by throwing those indebted to us into a prison of revenge or retribution.
YET, Jesus teaches us to forgive them.
What's happening in Matthew 6:12? What is Jesus saying to us when He tells us to pray, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"?
He's telling us of a...
1.A Forgiveness That Is Positional
We’ve established the fact that all have sinned. All men are under a mountain of moral debt and are deserving of the just wrath of God – that’s the wages of sin – death
The good news of the Gospel is that this forgiveness is available.
Think about how audacious this prayer is!
Jesus is teaching sinners, rebels: to approach Gods Throne, a throne established in justice and holiness and ask for forgiveness…not on the merit of anything we’ve done to deserve it…but simply on His mercy
And here’s the wild part: He actually desires to extend it!
1 Timothy 2:4 “God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”
SO – man has a problem – He has broken Gods law and has incurred a sin debt that he could never possibly make good on // He desperately needs forgiveness AND God is willing to give it
How is this accomplished?
Finish Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”
Romans 5:1 “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
Hebrews 10:17 “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Micah 7:19 “He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
Because of the finished work of the Lamb of God – OUR ETERNAL STATUS AS GODS CHILDREN IS - Justified. Acquitted. Redeemed. Freed.
Past, present, future – my sins are forgiven.
SO – If our sins are forgiven, why does Jesus teach us to pray – “Forgive our debts?”
BECAUSE – not only is the forgiveness the child of God receives positional…the believer also receives a...
1.A Forgiveness That Is Paternal (relational)
Look back to the very beginning of the Lords Prayer
First two words (Matthew 6:9) “Our Father…”
Again, as a Christian, my status as a forgiven child of God has already been established and will never change
Relationship will remain intact for all eternity but the fellowship can be hindered by my sin
Think about 1st John is a letter written to Christians.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of unrighteousness”
Why would he encourage people who were already justified to still confess their sins?
The same reason Jesus tells us to here in the Lords Prayer
As a Christian, I am still going to struggle with my flesh. I am still going to sin.
That sin – doesn’t effect my status – I’m a forgiven child of the King….but it will have an effect on the fellowship I share with Him
When a Christian sins, there’s conviction – we feel distant from God….miserable // our status never changes but our experience does.
3. .A Forgiveness That’s Passed On
What is Jesus saying here when He tells us to pray “Forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors”?
Let’s be careful not to ascribe meaning to Jesus words here that He would never affirm.
THAT LITTLE WORD – “as” – does not mean that we will be forgiven BECAUSE we forgive.
If that were the case, that would make the grounds of our salvation something we do instead of what Christ has done
FORGIVENESS is a willful action on our part – it’s a work – It’s something we do
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
SO Jesus is not saying that our Father forgives us BECAUSE we forgive others
WHAT HE IS SAYING: Those who have been the recipients of Gods eternally altering forgiveness will become a forgiving people.
Those who truly know the power of great forgiveness will become great forgivers.