We are now at the third part of the prayer which is
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Of course we depend on God for our very existence. If he doesn’t want us around then we would no longer exist. We have free will to make our own decisions but not whether we exist or not. So, it is proper for us to thank God everyday for what we eat, where we live, and for our every breath.
Forgiving people who have done us wrong is the second issue in this petition. God seems to be putting a condition on His forgiveness! If we don’t forgive others He won’t forgive us. This again seems to go in the face of “grace alone”. If God has truly given us unconditional grace then what are these words about and why are they in this all important prayer? Many theologians say this means that we all desperately need God’s forgiveness as we are all sinners. I certainly agree with that but why “as we also forgive”? I take these words more literally than many I guess. Yes, on the last day God will forgive us our sins because Jesus earned that for us but we will still be accountable for not forgiving those who sin against us. What being accountable means, I don’t know but I’m sure God has it worked out. That will be an embarrassing time for all of us. We must face our perfect God with our imperfect actions.
The call to action: Thank God daily, if not constantly, for the gifts He gives us and as God forgive us He calls for us to forgive others who sin against us.
3 thoughts on “The Lord’s Prayer (Give us today…)”
You’re absolutely right, RJ. As if there was any question left about the father conditioning (at least in part) his forgiveness on our doing the same, Jesus makes it bluntly clear in verses 14&15 of the same chapter:
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Matthew 18:23-35 backs this up as well.
You stole a little of my thunder here Dan. (ha) I use those same verses and logic in my upcoming Friday post. Couldn’t agree with you more.
I appreciate your candor here. Many in their thinking will scoot past the apparent conditional aspect of the Lord’s prayer. Consider too, Matt 18:23-35. Noteworthy is that Jesus starts off the passage by telling us “the kingdom of heaven is like…” and then goes on to tell how one servant had his debt forgiven by his lord, then believing his debt has been fully discharged, goes out and does not forgive his fellow servant. What happens? His debt is reinstated by his lord. If the kingdom of heaven is like this, I accept the conditional aspect of this, and don’t believe it flies in the face of grace righteousness. All comes by God’s grace, yet there remains the mysterious tension of his will co-existing with the free will he has given us. Ultimately, his grace works to transform us so that our free will yields to his gracious will.