Summary: This is a simple plea to God, but it reminds us of three very powerful realities for believers.
Intro: The last petition (bread) began those focused us-ward. What bread is for the body, forgiveness is for the soul. It is an absolute necessity and a universal yearning. There is not a subject on which I could preach which would be more relevant than this one.
Examine the language of this petition:
+ “Debt” in Greek is same as English = it is something you are legally obliged to repay
Romans 4:4 “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.” <—This is same word. A debt is something which is owed or due another.
We owe obedience to God, and we are woefully in debt.
In this case, it refers to our “Sin Debt”
The parallel passage in Luke makes this unmistakable. (Luke 11:4 = Hamartia)
Question: Why do we use trespasses?
It is interesting that many people use trespasses, yet it is not the word in this verse
It is the word which is used in vv.14-15.
It was made popular by the “Anglican Book of Common Prayer” from the 1600s
Trespass carries the connotation of transgression, which is the root idea here.
It is tantamount to saying, “Forgive us our sins”
+ “Forgive” means to be set free from an obligation.
If you have an outstanding debt, and you are released, you say it is “forgiven”.
It speaks of “removal” and “elimination”; to forgive is to “do away with”
The same root is used in Romans 11:27, saying God will “take away” sins.
When we say “forgive our debts” we are saying, “release us from their obligation”.
The ‘obligation’ or ‘wage’ that sin incurs is death.
This is a plea for safety from sin’s consequences; its a cry for our lives.
“Lord, take away that which we deserve!”
+ “Have Forgiven” is in the tense of an already completed action.
When we pray this prayer, there is an assumption we have already forgiven others.
It is not something which is “going to” happen; it is something which is “done”
Before we pray we should always ask ourselves, “Do we need to forgive?”
Likewise, we need to ask, “Would we want God to forgive us ‘as we have’ forgiven?”
This is a simple plea to God, but it reminds us of three very powerful realities for believers.
I. This petition reminds us of our ongoing battle with sin.
+ The phrase “daily” indicates all of these petitions are needed every day.
We sin all the time, sins of commission and sins of omission.
1 John 1:8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
QUOTE: You do not love the Lord as you ought, and you do not shun sin as you should.
You are in constant need of sanctifying grace.
If we didn’t battle sin daily, Jesus was wrong to tell us to pray this prayer.
NOTE: There is a very prominent false teaching that as Christians we are not sinners.
A few weeks ago a man visited here with this false belief.
QUOTE: Famous Female Television Preacher (Joyce Meyer) "I am not poor. I am not miserable and I am not a sinner. That is a lie…I didn't stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn't a sinner anymore.”
QUOTE: J.C. Ryle “The Christianity which is from the Holy Spirit will always have a deep view of the sinfulness of sin.
The problem is that these people have a shallow view of the sinfulness of sin.
+ IMPORTANT QUESTION: Why keep praying if God has already forgiven our sins?
The forgiveness which is in view here is not justification, but our daily sanctification.
It is not what our relationship with God is established by, but rather what it grows by.
We grow as we daily come to God to have our daily impurities removed.
QUOTE: Joel Beeke “If you lose a daily sense of forgiveness you will also lose a daily sense of communion with God.”
Illustration: Peter asks to be cleaned, Jesus said all that needed cleaning was his feet.
II. This petition reminds us of our obligation to forgive others.
+ This is the only petition to which Jesus adds a qualifier (vv.14-15)
Note: Sometimes people use vv.14-15 to try to prove you can lose salvation.
The forgiveness in view here is not our justification (once for all forgiveness).
This forgiveness involves our daily sanctification and relationship with God.
If we refuse to forgive another, this interrupts our communion with God.
If it continues into a spirit of hatred and resentment, it may be a sign of unbelief
If the person is a believer it could bring the discipline of God (Hebrews 12).
It is not a small thing, it is very serious.