Thomas Winn

As You Have Been Forgiven

“Merciful LORD, pardon all my sins of this day, week, year, all the sins of my life, sins of early, middle, & advanced years, of omission & commission, of morose, peevish & angry tempers, of lip, life & walk, of hard-heartedness, unbelief, presumption, pride, of unfaithfulness to the souls of men, of want of bold decision in the cause of Christ, of deficiency in outspoken zeal for his glory, of bringing dishonour upon thy great name, of deception, injustice, untruthfulness in my dealings with others…”[1]

This is the beginning of a Puritan prayer entitled SINS. As I preached through the Lord’s Prayer, I came to Matthew 6:12, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Jesus links God’s forgiving us and our forgiving others. When we forgive others we can know that it does not merit God’s forgiving us, for salvation and forgiveness is by grace alone. The emphasis is on forgiveness we receive, due to the work of Christ. When we grasp God’s forgiveness, then we are able to forgive others. Forgiving others reveals that we understand how gracious and merciful God has been to us. We cannot be like the unmerciful servant (Matt. 18:21-35), though he was forgiven much, he would not forgive the one who owed him so little. This parable is a good commentary of 6:12. I am not implying that forgiving others who wrong you is easy, “the flesh lusts against the spirit”. I believe this is one reason Jesus adds verses 14-15 immediately after the Lord’s Prayer: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” This is the only petition reiterated from the Lord’s Prayer. I believe He reemphasizes forgiveness because He knows we are prone not to forgive. We must remember how often we have sinned against God, and yet He has forgiven us. No one has ever sinned against us as much, so how can we not willingly forgive them? A Christian must forgive, we cannot withhold forgiveness or be bitter in our hearts toward others. Let us demonstrate God’s forgiveness by forgiving others. Christ demonstrated forgiveness as He hung on the Cross. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” This IS Amazing Grace! As often stated: “men of grace should above all be gracious.”

[1] (Puritan Prayer SINS, used with permission of Banner of Truth)

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