Summary: jesus includes in His blueprint forgiveness as s key element and principle for prayer.
Petition for Pardon
Series: The Blueprint for Prayer
August 8, 2004
A Christian lawyer who had been studying the scripture made the decision to cancel the debts of every client that owed him money for more than six months. The lawyer wrote a letter explaining the biblical principles that he used to make his decision. In all he sent out 17 debt canceling letters via certified mail to verify that the clients had received the letters.
16 out of the 17 letters were returned unopened. Why would anyone turn down a cancellation of their debts? After talking with some of the people the lawyer found out the reason that none of the people accepted the letter. Many of them believed that the lawyer was sending the letter to tell them he was suing them for their debts.
How absolutely sad that these people were willing to hang on to their fear and never find their debts cancelled. I believe that this is the problem with most people in their relationship with God because they believe one of two wrong realities. Either they believe that God lacks the desire to forgive them or that He lacks the ability to forgive them. Even sadder yet, many Christians live with the false understanding that God has forgiven them but that they cannot forgive themselves. This morning let’s go back to the blueprint that Jesus laid out for our prayers and take some time to explore the reality of God’s forgiveness.
9 "This, then, is how you should pray: " `Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’ for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Forgive us our debts
What does it mean for us to find forgiveness?
The Greek word for forgive has many different meanings and applies to many different situations but in the interest of time I want to focus on three that directly apply to this passage. The first meaning is to let go, let alone or to let be. The second meaning is to give up or to keep no longer. The third meaning is to disregard.
This means that everything that God has the right to hold against you, He lets go of when He forgives you. It means that God keeps those things that you have confessed against you no longer. Not only does God let go of what you’ve done but He also disregards it and no longer remembers it. This is what it means to experience the forgiveness of God the Father.
This forgiveness is nice but what exactly do we need to be forgiven of?
The word that Jesus uses is debts and it was a financial term used to describe legal obligations. More specifically, it was used to describe a debt that was delinquent and was not able to be repaid. This term was also often used in Hebrew culture as a metaphor for sin. In fact, it is one of six Greek terms used in the New Testament to describe sin. Sin could easily be described as debt that we owe and cannot repay.
The reality is that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all have failed God at one point or another in our lives and we have a debt to Him that we cannot pay.
You have a debt that you cannot pay and one that you would not want to have to repay if you could. Many of us have heard the statement the wages of sin is death but far too often we never finish the verse; the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
There was a price that was owed and Jesus paid the price for you.
as we also have forgiven our debtors
Remember all of those wonderful traits that we so love about the forgiveness of God; the letting go of what He could hold against us, not keeping our sins where they still haunt us and disregarding and not remembering our failures. Those apply to your life in another way; they become the standard for your forgiveness towards others. This means that you need to let go of the things others have done to you, no longer hold it against them and forget about it. This seems extremely difficult in principle and impossible in practice.
Forgiveness is doing what seems difficult in principle and impossible in practice through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.