Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Lord's Prayer: Part 2

Recently, I have been unpacking the Lord's Prayer in my mind and considering what it means to me. In the first post of this series, I took a look at the first two parts of the prayer: 1) "Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name." 2) "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."
In this second post, I would like to investigate the third: "Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

While God led His people through the wilderness, on the way to the promised land, He provided manna from heaven to sustain them. The catch was that except on the Sabbath, they had to gather fresh manna each morning to provide their nourishment for the day.

Forgiveness works a lot like that. We have to walk in forgiveness afresh and anew every day, sometimes moment by moment on those days when we are not our best. Now, most Christians really do understand the redemptive power of forgiveness through the broken body and blood of Christ as it pertains to their personal sinfulness. But, why did Jesus teach us to ask the Father to "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?" What does that mean?

2 Corinthians 5:21
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Yes, it is a beautiful truth that Christ sacrificed His sinless life to be made sin for us, that we could obtain freedom from the slavery of sin. But, He did not free us from slavery to sin and death so that we could fall back into slavery from someone else's sin.

Romans 8:15
"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'"

When I say, "fall back into slavery from someone else's sin," I mean being a slave to the fear, bitterness, and dysfunction that comes from not forgiving the sins that are committed against us. You see, the beauty of the cross is that Christ did not die only for the sins we ourselves commit. He also died for the sins that were committed against us! So, by denying forgiveness to others, we deny Christ's sacrifice. He sacrificed Himself for them, too. Often, the thing that people fail to understand is that granting forgiveness is not for the other person. It is for ourselves. It prevents bitterness from shutting our heart's door to the healing presence of the cross of Christ. 

Psalm 30:10-12
"'Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.'

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,

That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever."

In Him, through Him, and for Him,

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