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Forgive Us Our Debts (4 of 5)
Series: Perfecting Prayer's Power
Terry J. Hallock
July 18, 1999
The petition of the Lord's Prayer we examine this morning, Matthew 6:12, can be the most promising or the most painful Jesus gives us the right to ask of the Father. "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Those words strike so deeply within our spirits they will either open the umbilical cord of prayer to flow freely with the blessings of heaven or they will shut it down because we find it too painful to face our debts and debtors. Yet Jesus does not make those words optional. We cannot skip over this petition in order to remain emotionally comfortable any more than we can skip over "Give us today our daily bread" simply to remain thin. To not deal with our debts and debtors will leave our lives unhealed and a major cause of prayer's failure unresolved.
In verse 12 Jesus makes three assumptions about our condition and God's character. 1) We sin daily against God and need to be forgiven daily by God. 2) We do not possess the means to pay sin's debt, but God does. 3) God's forgiveness of us is inseparably tied to our forgiveness of others. Taken together those three assumptions make up what can be called the "Christian worldview". They articulate the way Christianity sees life's meaning and the formula for its fulfillment.
We live in a culture no longer predominantly shaped by that Christian worldview with the biblical God as its head; rather we live in a culture primarily shaped by a secular worldview with man as its head. In that worldview man is the author of his own destiny, the captain of his own ship. The God of Abraham is at best an archaic irrelevancy. With the Bible's God barely tolerated, the concepts of "sin", "debt", and "forgiveness" are even less so. We're not sinners in need of a Savior, says our culture. We're simply good people who sometimes make bad choices. We don't need divine forgiveness. We just need to ...
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