Thursday, November 16, 2017

Debtors To God

"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matthew 6:12

The word "debt" is another word for "sin" but "debt" is a more correct translation of the original Greek text. 

Actually, "debt" is a good word picture for what sin is! Sin is "missing the mark" or falling short of the standard.

God is a Holy and cannot abide sin. So, if I sin (when) I have fallen short of God's nature and His standard which puts me in a moral and spiritual debt to Him. And it is a debt I have no ability to ever pay. Each time I sin my level of debt deepens.

If you have ever been in debt financially you can begin to grasp the spiritual condition you find yourself in as a sinner. The more you sin the greater the debt, the deeper the hole you find yourself in and the more hopeless you feel. Every month as a new payment comes due you begin to panic realizing you cannot make the payment so you will fall deeper in debt and feel more hopeless.

A large and growing debt burden can crush you!

What do you do when you owe a debt you cannot pay while the debt continues to grow?

Do you cry?

Do you fret?

Do you resign yourself to a hopeless existence?

Do you become depressed?

Do you self-medicate with alcohol or drugs?

Well, when you owe a debt it either has to be paid or it has to be cancelled by the creditor. Right?

That brings us full circle in this thought.

We are debtors to God owing Him an ever-mounting moral debt that we have no hope of ever paying. Our only hope is for God to cancel the debt or release us from it!

God did both!

He paid your debt by sacrificing Jesus, His Son, on the cross of Calvary. Jesus, because He was sin-free (debt-free) was able to take the death penalty for you and the blood He shed on the cross atoned for your sins!

Jesus paid your debt and released you from the penalty of it!

All you have to do is believe it and receive it by trusting Jesus as your Savior!

What do you call a gift so great as that?


November 16, 2017

"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matthew 6:12

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."  Matthew 6:14-15

Augustine called this text “a terrible petition.” He pointed out that if you pray these words while harboring an unforgiving spirit, you are actually asking God not to forgive you. Ponder that for a moment. If you pray “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” while refusing to forgive those who have wronged you, this prayer which is meant to be a blessing becomes a self-inflicted curse. In that case you are really saying, “O God, since I have not forgiven my brother, please do not forgive me.” That is why Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great English preacher, said that if you pray the Lord’s Prayer with an unforgiving spirit, you have virtually signed your own “death-warrant.”

During one period of his life, John Wesley was a missionary in the American colonies—primarily in the area that would become the state of Georgia. There was a general by the name of Oglethorpe with whom Wesley had some dealings. General Oglethorpe was a great military leader, but he had a reputation as a harsh and brutal man. One day he said to John Wesley, “I never forgive.” To which Wesley replied, “Then, sir, I hope you never sin.”

When we pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” we are asking God to forgive our sins according to the same standard we have used in forgiving the sins of others. There are 11 words in the text, but only one of them is important for our purposes. It’s the little word “as.” Everything hangs on the meaning of that word. “As” is the conjunction that joins the first half of the petition with the second half. When Jesus says “as,” he is setting up a comparison between the way we forgive and the way God forgives us. This text says that we set the standard and then God follows the standard. We establish the pattern and then God follows that pattern in the way he deals with us. When you pray this prayer you are really saying, “O God, deal with me as I deal with other people. Deal with me as I have dealt with others.” We are virtually saying, “O God, I’ve got a neighbor and I did some favors for my neighbor and my neighbor is ungrateful to me for all I have done. I am angry with my neighbor and I will not forgive him for his ingratitude. Now deal with me as I have dealt with my neighbor.” It’s as if we’re praying, “O God, that man hurt me. I am so angry I can’t wait to get even. Deal with me as I have dealt with him.” We set the standard and God follows our lead.

Unless you forgive you will not be forgiven. To refuse to forgive someone else and then to ask God for forgiveness is a kind of spiritual schizophrenia. You are asking God to give you what you are unwilling to give to someone else. The fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer tells us you cannot have it both ways. Do you want to be forgiven? You must forgive others.