Summary: This is the fourth Part of the Lord's Prayer (Matt 6:12)
Today we'll continue our sermon series on the Lord's Prayer. Let's read Matthew 6:12. The Lord Jesus related these two requests, "Give us today our daily bread" with "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." The point is that when we think about our need for food, we realize our need for forgiveness too. When we admit our mistakes, we also think about how we handle our relationships with our neighbors.
Christians live through forgiveness. We are justified by faith. We will not be able to get eternal life or hope if the Lord Jesus does not carry our sins. But we are still in the state of sin, and we need forgiveness every day. Thus, the second part of our Father's prayer request after asking for bread is to ask forgiveness. This prayer is clearly for us, not for the Lord Jesus, because the Lord Jesus did not sin.
"And forgive us our debts, …” Today the word sin is not popular. People don't like to hear the word sin. This term is now often replaced by "addiction" or mental disorders. When we call a sin an addiction or a mental illness, we only see the problem as a biological issue and neglect moral and spiritual issues. There is a good ok "Blame In On The Brain," written by a Christian Neuropsychologist that helps us distinguish chemical imbalance, brain disorders, and disobedience to God.
There are two kinds of sins: passive and active. Passive means we do not do what God commands. Active means we do something that God forbids.
In the New Testament, we find five different words translated with sin:
1. HAMARTIA. It means that it does not hit the target. For example, a person shooting an arrow where the arrow is released does not reach the target. So, sin means failure to hit the target, and failure to become human as they should.
2. PARABASIS. It means that sin is stepping across the line that separates right from wrong.
3. PARAPTOMA. It means slipping when passing. Because the road is slippery, it falls left or right. Paraptoma does not contain intentionality as strong as PARABASIS. This slip of sin can be due to revenge or other things that temporarily control us so that we lose control of ourselves.
4. ANOMIA. It means breaking the law. It is a sin committed by people who know the right things but do wrong things (people who know the law but do something against the law).
5. OPHEILEMA. It means debt. Or failure to pay what should be paid / failure in the duties and obligations
This word is used in Matthew 6:12. We owe God in many ways: lack of faith, less priority to Him, etc. We ask forgiveness for our failures to live doing His will.
"… as we also have forgiven our debtors." Of all the requests in our Lord's prayer, the request for forgiveness was the most frightening. In verses 14 and 15, the Lord Jesus said that if we refuse to forgive others, God will refuse to forgive our sins.
In the Anglican Prayer Book, they recognize the sin of neglect, which is the sin of not doing what they are supposed to do (Remember the "Passive Sin" I mentioned above). After they confess the sin of neglect, they then confess the sin of transgression. When we correct ourselves, it is a sin of negligence that needs to be recognized first. We will find that the saddest sins we commit in the form of not doing good things. When Bishop Ussher was about to die, he prayed like this: Lord, Forgive all our sins of ignorance. It shows an authentic spirituality. Question: if the Lord Jesus has forgiven all of our past sins, present, and future sins, then why should we ask for forgiveness of sins?
We must distinguish between God as a Judge and as a Father, and between a justified person and status as a child of God. The Lord's Prayer is a prayer done in God's family. God has adopted us as his children. Although our sins will not make us lose justification, sin will make our relationship with God no longer harmonious until we say "sorry". We come to the Father as a child asking forgiveness for the sins we have committed. If we don't do this, our prayers will be like the parable of the Lord Jesus against the Pharisees. (Luke 18:10-14). We need to correct ourselves every day.
The Lord Jesus taught the same thing in Mark 11:25 "And if you stand to pray, forgive first if there is anything in your heart towards someone so that your Father in heaven forgives your mistakes." At Matthew 18: 23-35, the Lord Jesus tells the story of the king and his indebted servant!