July 28, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
The Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9 through 13:
In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your
name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive
our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the
evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever.
For today’s blog, let’s look at verse 12: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew must have been a Presbyterian!!! For Presbyterians use the words debts and debters! Other denominations use sins and those who sin against us (the Baptist church to which my wife and I belong); or trespasses and those who trespass against us (other churches in which we have worshiped.) Debts, sins or trespasses – they all means the same thing, so let’s delve into verse 12.
Notice that this seems like a conditional part of The Lord’s Prayer. It looks like we have to forgive others in order that we be forgiven! Does God predicate His forgiveness upon our forgiving others? Does He draw one to Himself, but then cast that one away when he or she is not able to forgive another offender? I do not think that this is the correct interpretation of what Jesus gave us in The Lord’s Prayer – the guide for our own prayer life.
I believe in eternal security. It would take a few blogs to explain why I hold to this view, and someday soon I will explore that subject. But briefly, here are three reasons why I do not believe we can be cast away from our salvation in Jesus – if we truly come to Him in repentance and faith.
First – Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
Second – He told us in John 10:28 and 29:
…I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone
snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater
than all; and noone is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
Third – Eternal life is just that – eternal! And eternity never ends!
• Now let’s apply this eternal security truth to Matthew 6:12: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” If it is not that we will lose God’s forgiveness if we are unwilling to forgive others, what does it mean? We will see what James says about the matter in James 2:17, 20 through 22, 24 and 26:
…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead….do you want to know, O
foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father
justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see
that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made
perfect?…You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead
Martin Luther struggled with this matter of faith and works, and he sought in his earlier years to be acceptable to God because of his own efforts – his own goodness and righteousness, though he felt he had none! He knew he failed miserably! But then he came to understand Romans 1:17: “The just shall live by faith.” It is translated as Martin Luther understood it in Beck’s, The Language of Today – “By faith you are righteous and you will live….” Luther was so incensed by James’ point of view, he called the book, “an epistle of straw”!
But James was looking at the matter from man’s perspective. We cannot see the heart as God can. But we can see the works a changed heart – a saved soul – produces! And it is by such works we can pretty well discern whether a person is saved or unsaved!
Applying this concept to what Jesus said in The Lord’s Prayer: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” If we do not forgive others, it may be an indication that we have never received the forgiveness God offers us through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ!
We will continue on this point in Wednesday’s blog.