Developing A Proper Prayer Life, Part VIII
“After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” – Matthew 6:9-13
Is It Scriptural For Us To Ask The Lord For Forgiveness?
In Part VII, we stated that every believer will enter into sin. Unfortunately, that is a guarantee in life. Even though we have been justified through the means of believing in Christ and what He accomplished at the Cross, we still walk in this present life, and we will become tarnished and corrupted by sin. Though we know we have been forgiven, we still need forgiveness from the Lord for sins and failures that we commit during our lives.
This is what John the Beloved said in his epistle, and I will paraphrase: Even though we are walking in a life of faith in Christ, we will fall into sin, but when we do, we have the opportunity to come to Christ, who is our advocate, and seek and receive forgiveness from sin.
When you look at I John, John is not writing to those who are not followers of Christ, but he is writing to Christians. If he is telling Christians “when you sin,” he means that we are not yet glorified, and because of that, it’s not a matter of if we sin, but rather when we sin. We are going to fail the Lord—there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. No matter how much we try not to fail, we will fail the Lord. However, according to Scripture, we are instructed to ask for forgiveness, and do so with a broken heart, and He will be faithful and just to forgive us. As John was speaking to believers then, here, in this text of Matthew, Chapter 6, He is speaking to believers as well.
The Cross Of Christ
This means that just as the Cross was important to forgive us from our initial sins when we became born again, the Cross is just as important for our everyday life and living. At the very moment you received salvation, you were baptized into Christ. This means that in the mind of God, you were placed into Christ, buried with Him by baptism into death, and raised with Him in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-5).
His death was not an accident, and neither was it an assassination. His life was freely given and laid down for us so that we can, as Paul said in Galatians, be delivered from this present world (Gal. 1:4). Our old man was crucified with Christ. According to the Word of God, this means that who we used to be is no longer present, and the power and dominion of the sin nature are now completely destroyed and torn down. The divine nature now comes in and takes up leadership in our lives. If that was true for our initial salvation experience (and it was), it is no different for our everyday life and living. When we asked for forgiveness initially at our salvation, it was our faith in what Christ did at the Cross, even though we knew nothing of the Cross, other than Christ died for me. That faith in the Cross is what brought about forgiveness of our sins. It is the same presently for the believer.
At the very moment that our faith is evidenced in Christ and the Cross, the Holy Spirit is then allowed to help us in a way that is desperately needed. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to bring about the victory that we seek in our everyday lives. Without His help, we will never be able to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. To be perfectly honest, without the leading and help of the Holy Spirit, the sin nature will continue to dominate our lives and bring about severe problems and possible destruction.
We must understand that all sin is against God and will always bring separation from God. When the believer sins, it brings separation. We must repent of the sin immediately in order for fellowship with God to be restored. Forgiveness is needed by every believer for the simple fact that we all sin, and we all fail the Lord at some point in our lives. We are constantly coming up short of where we should be, and we need His forgiveness to have our relationship restored.
A Break In The Relationship
Think of this: As a husband, if I do something against my wife and never once ask for forgiveness, then I will not only lose her trust, but I will then begin the dissolving of our relationship. If forgiveness is not asked and received, then that relationship will begin and continue to grow apart, with no chance of repair.
It is the same with our relationship with our heavenly Father. If we fail to ask for forgiveness when we fail the Lord, then our relationship will begin to grow apart. It will not be on His part, but on our part. This is why the teaching is so dangerous that states that we, as believers, never need to ask for forgiveness from the Lord. They say that when we ask the Lord to forgive us at our initial salvation experience, He forgives past, present, and future, thus, we never have to ask for forgiveness.
Listen to me very carefully: That is unscriptural, dangerous, and could cause people to lose their souls. God cannot abide sin. He cannot tolerate sin in any fashion. We cannot go through life living any way we deem fit and never ask the Lord for forgiveness just because it suits us. In other words, what these people are saying is that they, as believers, can drink, smoke, cuss, kill, lie, cheat, and steal and never need to ask the Lord to forgive them. Do you see how dangerous this is?
John the Beloved wrote, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8). The believer who refuses to see the darkness of his own heart is a believer who is not abiding by Scripture, which says to “examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith” (II Cor. 13:5). Following this teaching that has become popular in many charismatic circles will never lead to true freedom from sin, but rather will lead to failure, bondage, and destruction.
We must remember that sin will never remain static, but it has a power that will continue to go ever downward unless it is stopped by faith in Christ and Him crucified. That is the only answer for sin and the powers of darkness.
Outside of the Cross, there is no remedy for sin, and there is no remedy for forgiveness. It is through the Cross of Christ alone that we can be brought back into right relationship with God. Asking forgiveness is not something we ought to do, but something we must do daily. There are going to be times throughout a normal day when we will do something, knowingly or unknowingly, that will cause us to fail the Lord. When we lay our heads down at night, we must have a clean heart before God. We must ask the Lord to forgive us of all sin, known or unknown, so that there will not be a separation between us and our heavenly Father.
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