Q. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition (which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors) we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins—which we are encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.
The objective of forgiveness is to, through confession and pardon, bring about a renewed fellowship between God and ourselves, and between one another. Forgiveness reveals the efficacy of prayer. “Forgiveness” (Gr. Aphesis) means to pardon, to cause to stand away, that is, to be released from the power of sin by the work of Christ upon the cross.
Discuss the following verses and relationship between forgiveness and Christ:
How do the prayers of David and Daniel help us to understand the meaning of pardon and grace?
What does “as we forgive our debtors” mean in relationship to our asking our Father to “forgive us our debts”?
Make an extra effort to practice forgiving and being forgiven as Christ forgave us. Remember that our desire is to maintain a fellowship for which Christ paid a ransom price upon the Cross of Calvary.
The result of our confession of sins is the forgiveness of sins, by which our relationship with God, and with one another, is healed and maintained. Jay Adams writes, “Confession, then involves (1) personal recognition of guilt and liability, and (2) formal admission of this to God and any others wronged.
It leads, quite naturally, to asking forgiveness from God and those others who may have been wronged, followed by the granting of forgiveness and the establishing of a new and better relationship to them.” (More Than Redemption) “The fifth petition is, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Here we pray that God would, for Christ’s sake, freely pardon our sins, and that we may be able from the heart to forgive others. Here we also confess that we are guilty sinners before God and hopeless debtors to the divine justice, and we pray that, through the satisfaction of Christ applied by faith, God would pardon and acquit us, and continue to do so, filling us with peace and joy, and prompting and enabling us to forgive our fellowmen.” (Francis R. Beattie, Presbyterian Standards)
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