Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: In the Prayer for Forgiveness and from Temptation we can see: 1) God’s Pardon, 2) God’s Protection, 3) God’s Preeminence & 4) God’s Postscript.

With the closing of the Olympic Games and the forthcoming Paralympics coming, people are reflecting on the success and challenges of the games. One of the interesting legacies from the games was the hyper-critical treatment Canada received from the British press. With forthcoming Olympics to be hosted in the United Kingdom, some have said that turnabout is fair play, and we should criticize the UK as they criticized us. There is a great temptation in this. Naturally a more sensible approach would be to accept their criticism for what is was, a normal way of like for the British press and just move on. But should we just forgive them?

Forgiveness and temptation are the closing topics in the section of prayer of the sermon of the mount. As we have seen, prayer is straightforward and simple for those who have experienced the grace of the kingdom in Christ. In prayer the disciple does not try to coerce or manipulate God. There are no magical words or formulae, nor does an abundance of words count with God. Short, direct, and sincere prayers are adequate. Prayer, furthermore, is not made to inform God of our needs and desires. Nevertheless, the Christian should pray. The Lord’s Prayer thus centers on the large issues of God’s redemptive program rather than on more mundane matters . The disciples are to pray above all for the realization of God’s eschatological program on earth. Most of the petitions in the prayer are dominated by this concern for the end time. Yet, at the same time, the petitions have implications for the present. The first three petitions at least imply the present importance of discipleship in the words “on earth as in heaven.” The fourth petition, for daily bread, also has to do with present sustenance of the disciples as a sign of imminent eschatological blessing. But the present dimension of the Lord’s Prayer is seen most clearly and most forcefully in the fifth petition (and the added words of vv 14–15), with its reference to our forgiveness of others in the manner of God’s forgiveness of us. The closing petitions reflect a confidence in the sovereign love of God that will preserve us in the testing of our faith... The one who prays the Lord’s Prayer prays thus from a perspective of one who is involved in the great redemptive drama that is beginning to unfold in the Gospel narrative itself, ...upon the consummation of God’s purposes as well as upon the consciousness and importance of present discipleship (Hagner, D. A. (2002). Vol. 33A: Word Biblical Commentary : Matthew 1-13. Word Biblical Commentary (152). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.).

In the Prayer for Forgiveness and from Temptation we can see: 1) God’s Pardon. (Matthew 6:12), 2) God’s Protection. (Matthew 6:13), 3) God’s Preeminence (Matthew 6:13b) and finally: 4) God’s Postscript. (Matthew 6:14-15)

1) God’s Pardon. Matthew 6:12

Matthew 6:12 [12]and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

The petition for forgiveness is the only clause of the prayer which is singled out for comment at the end (vv. 14–15). The focus here is on past action resulting in present standing of forgiveness (France, R. T. (2007). The Gospel of Matthew. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (249). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publication Co.).

This certainly cannot mean that our forgiving disposition earns God’s pardon. The forgiveness of our debts is based not on our merits—how could we have any?—but on Christ’s, applied to us.

Consequently, from our point of view, forgiveness is based on God’s unmerited (not merited by us) favor, that is, on divine grace (Eph. 1:7), compassion (Matt. 18:27), and mercy (Luke 18:13) (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953-2001). Vol. 9: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew. New Testament Commentary (334–335). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.).

The Greek word for debts in the New Testament appears only here and Romans 4:4. It is clear that Jesus and Matthew intended the word to mean “sins” here (Luke 11:4). The choice of this word reflects the fact that all sins place us in debt to God (Weber, S. K. (2000). Vol. 1: Matthew. Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (82). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).

Opheilēma (debts) is one of five New Testament Greek terms for sin. Hamartia is the most common and carries the root idea of missing the mark. Sin misses the mark of God’s standard of righteousness. Paraptōma, often rendered “trespass,” is the sin of slipping or falling, and results more from carelessness than from intentional disobedience. Parabasis refers to stepping across the line, going beyond the limits prescribed by God, and is often translated “transgression.” This sin is more conscious and intentional than hamartia and paraptoma. Anomia means lawlessness, and is a still more intentional and flagrant sin. It is direct and open rebellion against God and His ways.

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