Matthew 6:12 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Look what Jesus says after He says the Lord’s prayer: Matthew 6:14 – “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Verse 15) “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
The word forgive means “release.” If we don’t release others from their debts, God won’t release us from our debts.
Confess Our Debts
The Greek word used for debt in the New Testament is used twice. However, there is another word used in place of the word debt many times in the New Testament. It is still the word debt, but has a different meaning – to repay a loan. But that is not the meaning for debt in the Lord’s prayer. This is not a loan that anyone can repay.
This word debt that is used in the Lord’s prayer means a debt that is justly due. It is what we would call “bankruptcy.” It’s so large, it’s something we have to be forgiven of. We confess our debts that we can never repay. If a person has a problem forgiving others, they just might have a problem receiving forgiveness. Do you forgive yourself? And if a person has a problem forgiving himself and receiving forgiveness, then they don’t truly believe God has truly forgiven them.
We don’t and can’t earn God’s forgiveness. Matthew 10:8 – “Freely you have received, freely give.” People can’t give freely if they haven’t received freely! If a person thinks in any way that they are earning God’s forgiveness, then they will make others earn their forgiveness. However, this is a debt that must be “Pardoned,” because it’s a debt that we can’t pay.
Romans 4:3 – For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
When we believe God, He takes the sin out of our account: 2 Corinthians 5:19 – that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them,… God is not counting our sins against us because we are forgiven. God did this for the whole world, but the whole world has not received. This verse didn’t say, “reconciling believers only,” it says, “Reconciling the world to Himself.” God has already taken care of everyone’s sin! Jesus died “once” for all!
So everyone’s sin has already been paid for, but not everybody is saved. People have a choice whether they will receive Jesus or not. Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness. But what if Abraham after believing had not acted on that belief? James tells us it would have been dead, no change.
People can say all day long they believe in Jesus, but if they are still living their life for themselves, they are bound for hell. Why would you say, “Lord, Lord, and not do what I say?” If we really and truly believe Him, we will obey Him. If we believe in Jesus, we live for Jesus. When people say they believe in Jesus and don’t live for Him, they don’t believe in Him.
Here is what people have a hard time believing: God has already taken sin out of their account. Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world. God made Jesus become sin who knew no sin.
People don’t go to hell for sin, they go to hell for “UNBELIEF!” He that doesn’t believe doesn’t have life. He that believes has life and that life can only come through Jesus Christ! God has taken sin out of my account, and put righteousness in my account. Then people will ask, “If righteousness is in my account, then why do I still need to confess my sin or trespasses?”
Hebrews 9:14 – how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 10:22 – let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.
As believers, when we sin, our conscience convicts us. It tells us, “That’s not right!” However, once forgiven, Satan has a way of bringing that thing back up to condemn us with it. If we don’t get that cleared in our conscience, the Bible says we will have an evil conscience if the blood is not sprinkled on it. Then we will begin to serve God out of dead works. In other words: We try to make it up to God because of that guilt. If we think that we have to pay for that sin, we won’t confess that sin.
We confess our sins to cleanse our conscience. Then the blood of Christ is sprinkled on our conscience. Then we can not bring it up again because we have received forgiveness.
People find it so hard to let go of their past and we know this because they keep bringing it up. They will say, “But I can’t forget it.” The Bible doesn’t say God forgets our sin, it says, “He chooses to remember them no more!” The word remember means “to bring it up again.” So yes, we can be like God and not bring it up again in our conversations.
Release Our Debtors
Matthew 18:21 – Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” (Verse 22) Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (Verse 23) “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. (Verse 24) “And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
(Verse 25) “But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. (Verse 26) “The servant, therefore, fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ (Verse 27) “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. (Verse 28) “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!” (Verse 29) “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’
(Verse 30) “And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. (Verse 31) “So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved and came and told their master all that had been done. (Verse 32) “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you that debt because you begged me. (Verse 33) ‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?’
(Verse 34) “And his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due him. (Verse 35) “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
People who hold grudges against someone are literally tormented by that grudge. It never leaves them. It is always knawing at them. If we do not forgive, this Scripture says, we will be turned over to torturers. That means we will be tormented by that grudge and unforgiveness.
Hebrews 12:15 – Lest any root of bitterness spring up to cause trouble, and by this many have become defiled. Bitterness and unforgiveness might just be the number one reason for Christian bondage. We need to be reminded every day what all God has forgiven us for, so we are quick to forgive others. There was a debt that we could never repay and our heavenly Father has pardoned us therefore, we will have the grace to pardon others.
When we release someone for what they have done to us, we do it by extending God’s grace to them.