Sermon Notes

The Lord’s Prayer (Part 6 – The High Price of Forgiveness)


  • Matthew 6:12and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
  • Here is a subject that I can go on speaking about, forever. A truth, so precious, that as Christians, a failure to savor and rejoice in it every second of every day is a crime of our sinful flesh, let alone practicing it with eagerness.
    In fact, let me just come out and say that the thing that makes Christians look most Unchristian is un-forgiveness. Out of all the sins that we can commit, here is one of the worst sins of our flesh – namely, the unwillingness to forgive those who’ve wronged us.
  • This now, is the fifth petition of the Lord’s prayer, that we’ve been studying for the past few weeks. This model prayer that the Lord taught us, not as a way to chant it verbatim, instead, as a pattern for us to follow in how we order the contents of our prayer, as to how we prioritise things that are most burdensome to the soul of a maturing Christian.With one acknowledgment and six petitions, we have arrived at the second last petition. – Our Father, Your Name, Your Kingdom, Your will, Our Daily Bread, and now, Forgive Us


  • And forgive us our debts
    • I find this such an interesting petition for Jesus to include in the model prayer. Did we not establish at the very onset, that only Christians can pray this prayer? Only the children of God can pray this prayer to their Father, and by definition a child of God is already forgiven and without condemnation in Christ Jesus. Why then do we have to pray to be forgiven?If we have already been forgiven in Christ once and for all, why then do we have to pray this prayer daily (as we say last week), asking for God’s continued forgiveness?If, as we read in Romans 8, there is therefore now no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death; then why is it that we have to pray for continued forgiveness when our sins are done and dusted?For surely Christ died, once, for all; not daily for all.Hebrews 10:11-1411 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.The cross of Jesus Christ is not an eternal encounter where Christ is crucified daily, but a singular event that has an eternal consequence to those who are washed by the blood of this Lamb.
      A single sacrifice – for all time – for those being sanctified. And forgiveness is at the center of this thread.Priests offered sacrifices in the old testament as a means to atone for their sins – to be forgiven. But Jesus, the true high priest, has made the ultimate sacrifice to purchase for us everlasting forgiveness.So then, why do we have to pray for forgiveness daily?

      • The nature of salvation
        • When we read verses like John 3:16, we find that phrases such as “believe in Christ” is not a singular event, instead, the verbs are in their present continuous form – believing in Christ.
        • As Paul Washer says, the true belief is not one who once believed, but one who continues to believe. The one who truly repented is one who continues to repent. Therefore, the one who was justified is sanctified. In other words, the one who was saved is carried along in that salvation as the Holy Spirit continues to work in their hearts.
        • This means that through Jesus died once for all, to wash away our sins, the application of that forgiveness upon our lives is a daily affair. The effect of what Jesus did is applied by the Holy Spirit daily because we continue to repent of our sins all the days of our life.
        • And the hope we have in the assurance of our salvation, that we will never fall away from Christ once the Holy Spirit indwells us, is that repentance is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
        • That is why we pray for forgiveness daily. Because repentance is the fruit of true conversion.
        • We are not justified every time we ask to be forgiven, meaning that we are not saved all over again. That would mean that we keep losing our salvation. Rather, the forgiveness that we pray for is in the realm of sanctification where we are asking to be forgiven that our fellowship with God not be hindered because of our sins.
          Though sin cannot undo our justification in Christ, it can hinder our daily fellowship with the Lord.This will become clearer as we move along in our exegesis of this verse.
      • The intention of the fifth petition in the Lord’s prayer
        • Now, having said all that, I do not believe that this fifth petition is primarily one of receiving forgiveness, but rather one of forgiving others.
        • And
          • We have the fourth and fifth petition of this prayer coming together joined by this conjunction ‘and’ almost so as to level these petitions on the same priority of our humanly needs.Just as we ask for God’s provision of our daily bread, we ask to be forgiven for our daily sins.
        • forgive
          • The word means to release, or to pardon, to send away or discharge without due punishment.
          • Forgiveness always costs the one forgiving. The greater the debt, the greater the cost.
          • Forgiveness does not demand forgetfulness, but it does demand that you do not carry bitterness over the debt that is owed to you.[Piper’s example]
        • us our sins
          • Again, the beauty of the Lord’s prayer prayed in the inner room is that it is a personal prayer for ‘us’ and not ‘me’. That even in our personal prayers we are to be of that mind where we are burdened by the cares of others as well. Even in our prayer for forgiveness, we pray for the sins of one another.
          • How often do you pray for your brother or sister in Christ that you see are sinning in certain areas of their lives?
            Do you jump to confrontation, or are you faithfully carrying them in your daily prayers?
        • as we also have forgiven our debtors 
          • Now, here comes the twist.
            Remember how I mentioned earlier that being forgiven daily is not being justified daily but rather the restoration of unhindered fellowship with God.If it were not so, then this prayer would mean that God should justify us in the same manner as we forgive our debtors. That would be a work-based salvation and we know that no one is justified by their works, but it is by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ that we are saved
          • So, this again is a prayer that only the justified can pray. For we, as children of God, justified in Christ Jesus, forgiven once for all, being sanctified, now pray for the washing of our daily sins so that we may walk with the Lord without being hindered by sin.However, this prayer of forgiveness is a prayer to be forgiven in as much as we forgive others.That is being justified, forgiven, we are now eager to forgive others.
At this point, if we skip over to read v14, we will be surprised by what we hearv1414 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.Mark 11:25-26 – 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
            Matthew 18:34-3534 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
  • Now, beloved, understanding this properly is important. As John Piper put it, “Forgiveness is not a work by which we earn God’s forgiveness.” God’s forgiveness cannot be earned by our works which is clear from the overall context of Scripture. It is a free gift by grace through faith.
    What then, do these verses mean when they say that God will not forgive us if we do not forgive others?
  • Here is probably the simplest way I can explain that.A Christian is one forgiven for such a great crime, that when he/she is wronged by others cannot, in good conscience, not extend the same kind of mercy. When we are forgiven the way we are forgiven, we cannot not forgive.
  • That is what these verses are talking about. If a so-called Christian cannot forgive, then they ought to examine their own salvation. 
When Jesus gives the command to forgive others in order that God may forgive you, He is talking to two kinds of people. Those that are justified in whom the nature to forgive is born out of the work of the Holy Spirit, and those that are not justified who cannot truly forgive
  • So, this is not – let me go out and forgive some people so that I can get God’s forgiveness. This is – I am pushed to forgive everybody who wrongs me in light of the great forgiveness of God toward me.The forgiven are inevitably driven to forgive.Now, this does not mean that forgiving will be easy, just like how other areas of obedience in our sanctification is not easy. But a conscience that relishes and pleasures in un-forgiveness is not a conscience that is washed by the blood of the Lamb. A Christian cannot relish the sin of un-forgiveness.In light of the Gospel, he is always driven to forgive.
    Colossians 3:13 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; gas the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.


  • The greatest act of forgiveness

    Luke 15:11-24
    – 11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to2 one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’3 22 But the father said to his servants,4 ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
  • What causes a Father so wounded to be so forgiving? Love. For this father did not love his property, his estate, his money, his earnings, or anything else more than his son. His true love was his son.
    That when his son returned, his desire was not to be paid back but to have him.
  • The loss of the Father We stand in a worse place than the younger son who had the means to return. We in our sin have no way to return to God. And so God worked a mighty work. The Son came out for the lost.
    Luke 23:3434 And Jesus said, “Father,  forgive them, for they know not what they do.”Christ’s merciful prayer that refrained the Father from wiping out the universe. The eternally worthy condemned for the absolutely unworthy!He came to forgive.
    John 19:30
    30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
  • An unforgiving spirit is a spirit that denies the cross of Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus teaches us in John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
    Now, here is Jesus in the Lord’s prayer basically saying, “As I have forgiven you, now you forgive one another.”


Michael Teddy Fernandez

Author Michael Teddy Fernandez

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