August 4, 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.
Consider a third reference to help us understand the phrase of The Lord’s Prayer from verse 12: “…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…” – this one from Paul – Ephesians 4:32: “…be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” This is part of a Christian lifestyle described by the apostle in Ephesians, chapters 4 through 6. If we fulfilled all the description in these three chapters, we would be outstanding Christians indeed!
In verse 32 there are three characteristics we must manifest, the first two being kind and tenderhearted. Let’s concentrate on the third – “…forgiving one another….” Such forgiveness is based on the fact that “…God in Christ has forgiven you.”
Just what has “…God in Christ…forgiven you…”? Everything! Everything we have ever done that does not come up to God’s perfect standard of holiness, justice, love and forgiveness! And that includes everything we think, say or do! You see, we are sinners – and sin taints everything we think, say or do! Someone may think, “Why, I’m not that bad! Oh, I know I have sinned. I remember once when I was in grade school I…” Dear one, we are sinners through and through! It is in our very nature!
Do you believe there is any goodness at all in the devil? As Lucifer, the covering cherub, he rebelled against God, thinking he could defeat Him and take over His position as Lord of all (see Isaiah 14:12 through 14; Ezekiel 28:14 through 19; II Thessalonians 2:4). There is no goodness in Satan! When Adam bowed, as it were, to the devil’s authority, he not only transferred his God-given dominion over creation to Satan, he also opened his own soul to be implanted with the evil one’s seed! Did not Jesus tell the Pharisees in John 8:44:
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to
do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth,
because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his
own resources, for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Is it just the Pharisees who were fathered by the devil? No! We all have Satan as our father when we are born into this world! We all have the sin nature and are sinners! Study the devil’s innate characteristics (see Isaiah 14:12-14; Zechariah 3:1; Matthew 13:25, 38, 39; Mark 4:15; Luke 22:31; John 8:44; 10:10; 13:2; Acts 5:3; 10:38; II Corinthians 4:4; 11:13-15; 12:7; Ephesians 2:2; I Thessalonians 2:18; 3:5; II Thessalonians 2:9, 10; I Timothy 3:7; II Timothy 2:26; Hebrews 2:14; I Peter 5:8, 9; Revelation 12:9, 10). Then compare his characteristics to “…the works of the flesh…” in Galatians 5:19 through 21. Such works are those which manifest naturally in the life of the unsaved person:
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies,
outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders,
drunkenness, revelries, and the like….
It is not that everyone manifests all of these works, but they are all evident in fallen human beings!
I took this time to show the extent of our sinfulness before God. When Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself on Calvary’s cross, He paid fully for all our rebellion against God! Has anyone done more than that for you?!!
Has anyone ever sinned more against you than what you have sinned against God?!! If God in Jesus Christ has so forgiven us, completely and absolutely, how can we then not forgive others when they sin against us – by comparison a far lesser extent than we have sinned against God?
Back to verse 12 of The Lord’s Prayer: “…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…” – If we do not forgive others their debts against us, it means we either have not received God’s forgiveness – and so we are not forgiven – or it means we, as immature Christians, do not yet comprehend the enormous extent to which God has forgiven us! Either way is wrong thinking! But the first is especially – and eternally – dangerous!
So let us “…forgive our debtors…” because “…God in Christ has forgiven you.”