Verse for the Day – Matthew 6:12
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Daily Scripture ReadingMark 11

Devotional Thoughts
Matthew 6:12 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Jesus here continues His model prayer with instruction in forgiveness. We are to pray and ask for God’s forgiveness when we sin and we are to forgive others. As we will see, God’s forgiveness in this verse is based here on one condition: we must forgive others!

The word Jesus uses for debt is the word used in the New Testament that teaches us that sin in any form is a spiritual debt that must be paid! There are two ways our debt will be paid. Either 1) we will pay in hell for eternity, or 2) Jesus paid for us on the cross. Which do you prefer? I’ll take number 2 any day! Jesus died on the cross in our place to pay the debt that was owed to God for our sin, which is a debt we could never pay – that is why hell is forever!

Our chief need as human beings is the forgiveness of our sin. If we do not experience God’s forgiveness through Christ, then we cannot know God, we cannot overcome sin, we cannot live a good or godly life, we cannot please God, we cannot pray and be heard and answered by God, we cannot know the depths of true peace or love or mercy or gentleness – get the picture?! We also know how important the topic of forgiveness is because in Matthew chapter 6 verses 9 through 15, Jesus mentions forgiveness 6 times in those 8 verses!

When we place our faith in Christ, believing His claim to be the Son of God and trusting that He lived a sinless life and died for us, we do so because the Spirit of God regenerates us! The result of that faith is justification. To be justified is to be declared legally right with God! Are we righteous? No, not on our own, and not completely until we are glorified. We still battle sin. But because of Christ’s sacrifice, God has declared that we are free from the guilt of sin! Now because of Christ, God can fellowship with us. You see, His forgiveness covers all our sin. Past, present, and future! But what if we sin after we are saved? Then we must understand that sin intrudes into our relationship with God.

At the point in time in which we are converted, He forgives our sin (singluar as a whole unit)as a Judge, and after salvation He forgives our sins (plural, individual acts of rebellion and transagression) as Father! Now we must not let the relationship be hindered. (see Romans 8:1, 33-34; and 1 John 1:8-9) If we sin, know we are forgiven when we confess our sin. We are to confess to God and to whomever we have sinned against. If we need the accountability to withstand temptation we must also confess to the church. We do not need to confess to any one man (like a priest or minister), though, to be forgiven – God Himself forgives us when we ask!(Luke 5:20-26) To confess means to agree with God. It’s that simple – agree with God that we sinned, repenting, and He forgives us immediately! The only middle man needed already paid the price for our sin on the cross so God can instantly clean us up!(1 Tim 2:5-6).

We are also taught here that God expects us to forgive others! We don’t have to wait for the other person to ask for forgiveness either – we are to forgive as soon as we are wronged!! And if we don’t forgive, Jesus is teaching us that God won’t forgive us! Why? Remember how important heart attitude is? Do we really humble ourselves and confess our sin and ask God to forgive us (and really really mean it) if we can’t forgive others? NO! We are proud and bitter and must confess that sin as well!!

Why should we forgive others?

In summary, when we pray we are to have forgiven anyone who has wronged us and we are to expect God to forgive us when we confess our sin to Him. I want to close by quoting for you a prayer prayed and recorded by the Puritans – make this your prayer as you read the Scriptures for today.

“Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, and the exceeding wonder of grace. I am guilty but pardoned. I am lost but saved. I am wandering but found. I am sinning but cleansed. Give me perpetual broken-heartedness. Keep me always clinging to Thy cross.” (The Valley of Vision : A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett)

Bible Reading For Further Study
Psalm 25:18; 66:18-20; 86:5
Proverbs 19:11; 28:13
Nehemiah 9 (this whole chapter is full of God’s forgiveness!!)

Recommended Songs for Worship
Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
Trust and Obey