We need forgiveness of our sins. This means that God does not hold our sin against us, and gives us life and love in spite of all that we have done wrong against him.
LD 51 q&a 126.
What is the fifth petition?
“And forgive our our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
That is: For the sake of Christ’s blood,
do not impute to us, wretched sinners,
any of our transgressions,
nor the evil which still clings to us,
as we also find this evidence of your grace in us
that we are fully determined
wholeheartedly to forgive our neighbour.
Our God is holy and the world he made was perfect. But we are unholy and have ruined God’s good world. This is because of our sin, which is rebellion against God.
Based on Gen. 2:17, what is the natural and deserved consequence of our sin?
Psalm 130:3 says: “If you, o LORD, should mark iniquities” (that is, keep track of all that we do wrong) “o LORD, who could stand?” The answer is: nobody. We could not live, unless the Lord takes away our sin and our sinfulness.
The gospel tells us that he does this. Jesus Christ, in his obedient work and suffering on the cross, has taken away our sin. If we believe in him, our sins no longer count.
Psalm 103:2-12 describes this forgiveness in many ways. Can you list some?
If you believe in Jesus, you will be saved. Your sins are forgiven. That is the promise of the gospel. But God also wants us to pray for this wonderful gift. Not only in general (“forgive us our debts”) but also specifically: “Lord, forgive me for doing this or for not doing that…”
In this fifth petition we ask the Lord to do something for us; but Jesus also points us to something we do for others. If other people do us wrong, we should be willing and ready to forgive them. Jesus said this very clearly after he taught the Lord’s Prayer:
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Mat. 6:17-18)
In other words, when we ask the Lord for this grace and help, we should also be willing to live the life that he has shown us. A life of graciously helping, forgiving, and loving others.
Read Matthew 18:21-35. Why is it really ridiculous for a Christian to be unwilling to forgive others?
All: Memorize q&a 126.