We Are Justified ( so why does Jesus tell us to still pray for the forgiveness of our sins?)

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  1. Rob Sp. says:

    Thanks Ryan, a nice morning read again. I am not sure if this would be the right spot to put this, but I am curious as to your thoughts on the second part of that petition: as we have forgiven our debtors. My question: my understanding of ‘forgiving our brother(s)’ is that we are required to forgive as often as asked. My basis for this is Jesus saying, “seventy times seven.” What if your brother does not ask? Are we then still required to forgive?

  2. Rob Schouten says:

    Rob S. would you mind to put your last name out there to prevent confusion in regard to others in the category of “Rob S.” such as myself? Thanks!

  3. I edited the name of the 1st Rob S. to “Rob Sp.” I also was hoping the 2nd Rob S. “Rob Schouten” was going to answer the original commenter – so I would not have to attempt 🙂

    Long answer short, I believe that the scriptures teach that the second half of the petition is also a plea for grace. When we pray for forgiveness, as Jesus taught us, we curse our selves if we have not forgiven those who offended us. Our duty is to forgive our debtors, not request for them to seek to be forgiven. We should forgive and forget the debts owed us and the wrongs done to us without being asked. We do not merit forgiveness by forgiving others, but it is a moral qualification for pardon and peace. Think of it this way – if we live in a state of forgiveness, that is, if God has created in us a state of forgiveness and the ability to truly forgive others – that will be an evidence to us that he has first forgiven us. All good things come from the Father, including our ability to forgive. (Was that correct 2nd “Rob S”?)

  4. Rob Sp. says:

    Thank you for responding Ryan. I agree that our forgiveness is only through God’s amazing grace. I also agree that we should not go around ‘requesting them to seek to be forgiven’, that would kind of defeat the purpose. My struggle is with the blanket forgiveness; I have not yet found a place in scripture that tells us to forgive before the ‘forgivee’ asks for it. Rather, all the times I have read about forgiving, the lesson appears to me to be one of not forgiving one who asks, as God forgives those who ask Him (sorry if that sentence is a bit confusing). To follow your reasoning and apply it to ourselves, shouldn’t then God forgive us even if we don’t ask? Of course not!! We need to show repentance. Also, how can church discipline be enacted if we are to forgive people before they show their repentance?
    Maybe I’m just missing the point somewhere, but this is something I’ve been struggling with for the last little while. Hopefully I can get some clarification 🙂
    Thanks.

    • I agree with you that I do not see forgiveness being applied to unrepentant people in the bible. So the forgiveness of an unrepentant person doesn’t look the same as forgiveness of a repentant person. I have forgiven some people for hurts caused me in my life, even when they have not asked for it. I will have to do some study on this, but I think that we do well to forgive all our brothers. I think specifically of the text that tells us to turn the other cheek. So even when a person does not repent (Matthew 18:17), we are commanded to love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us and do good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27).

      So we can still lay down our bitterness; we can hand over our anger to God; we can seek to do good to that person; but we cannot carry through reconciliation or intimacy with that person until they seek forgiveness. Essentially what I do in that situation is say I forgive you but I don’t trust you…yet. There are people in my life, and I am sure in all our lives to which that applies. I pray for these people that they would come to repentance.

  5. cecile says:

    …and isn’t it God’s grace even that we are able to forgive both believers and unbelievers? Eph. 3:14-21 comes to mind. I read, “The world’s worst prison is the prison of an unforgiving heart.”

    • Thanks Cecile. I have known that prison and it is not a nice place to be. There is an old saying that holding onto bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies…not a bible verse but it was certainly appropriate in my life. I thank God for his grace 🙂