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Focus: Keeping a clean slate
Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV) 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 forever. Amen.
We can learn so much from the prayer Jesus taught His disciples when they asked Him to teach them to pray. The word ‘debt’ in this context refers to something that is owed, but also denotes offenses, and sin. No matter how we look at it—debt refers to a negative account that needs to be settled. It’s undisputed that when we sin, we need Forgiveness, yet forgiveness can be an area of debate in some circles. The best place to turn for answers is the Bible, itself. As we examine the scriptures that pertain to the need for forgiveness and the power of forgiveness, we will gain a better understanding on God’s viewpoint.
Some people feel the subjects of sin and repentance are personal matters—nobody else’s business. We may also believe we can do certain things as long as we’re not ‘hurting anyone else’. The Bible makes it clear that our sin can affect the conditions of the country we live in. Take a look around and ask yourself whether you think repentance might be in order concerning the state of our country and the world. When sin is rampant among God’s people—the population suffers. We can think we’re not as bad as some people, however what we should be looking at is not other people, but our own personal condition and need for repentance and forgiveness.
2 Chronicles 7: 14 (KJV) says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
God is making it clear that the healing of our nation has to do with our own willingness to humble ourselves and pray. As we seek God’s face and turn from our own wicked ways—He hears us. It is then that He will forgive our sins and heal our land. In this verse, God is talking about His own people—not the heathen who are living apart from God—but His own.
Some people believe once they have become cleansed from their sins, they have a ‘blanket pardon’ for all the sins of the past, present, and future. It’s true that pardon is available to us, and it’s true that the blood of Jesus covers all sin—but ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ seems to indicate that forgiveness is something we should continually seek.
Why would Jesus have taught His disciples to pray a prayer where a request for forgiveness was included in the same sentence as,”give us this day our daily bread”, if it was not something that needed to be done on a regular basis? The entire prayer consists of acknowledgments and requests that are ‘constant’ and ‘continual’, so asking for forgiveness must be a thing that should continue to be done on an ongoing, consistent basis day by day…and after a person has come into the family of God and is capable of calling Him, ‘Our Father’.
God doesn’t keep a scorecard of our wrong doing if we have repented. He is eager to forgive and forget. Hebrews 8:12 (KJV) says, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 1 John 1: 9 (KJV) goes on to say, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Colossians 1:13-14 (NKJV) says, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
When we are living apart from God, sin has us in bondage. We are trapped in a net, so to speak. Without forgiveness, we stand condemned. When we make the decision to follow Christ and accept His blood sacrifice as the payment for our sins, we are no longer slaves to wrong doing—but that doesn’t mean we can’t willfully choose to do wrong.
In recovery, we are encouraged to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. It is further recommended that we admit the exact nature of our wrongs to God and another human being. We should be willing to humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings. We are instructed to live a life of strict accountability—admitting any wrongs we have committed promptly.
Nobody wants to be wrong. Most everyone wants to believe they are right. But the Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, in Romans 3:23 (KJV), and “There is none righteous, no not one”, in Romans 3:10 (KJV). When we fail, we must be willing to repent and ask forgiveness. God wants us to stay free from sin and its bondage.
Declaration: I will find new strength by daily admitting any wrong I have done and asking God for forgiveness.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.