The Pardon by God
December 1, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Forgivness Verse: Luke 11:4–11:4
The Disciple’s Prayer
The Pardon by God
Luke 11: 4a
Theme: Forgiveness from God is the sole solution to our sin problem.
Introduction: The approach to sin is something that every single person wrestles with daily. What do we do in light of the ways that we constantly fall short of the glory of God, err from His commands, and exceed His restraints in our lives? There are three ways that people will deal with their sins – 1) a person will minimize their sin either through rationalizing, justifying, establishing one’s innocence by means of shifting responsibility away from ourselves and onto others; 2) a person will despair because of their sin and flee as far as they can from God, seeking to hide from Him, ignore Him, or deny Him; and, 3) approach God with contrition and confession, seeking His forgiveness – Psalm 51:17.
Our text today provides us the encouragement to approach God with humility and confession seeking the forgiveness that He is so faithful to provide – 1 John 1:9. We see in this prayer “And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us” three important principles in God’s willingness to forgive sinners – 1) The Availability of Forgiveness; 2) Abolishment through Forgiveness; and, 3) The Authentication of Forgiveness. Through these things, we see the emphasis that forgiveness from God is the sole solution to our sin problem.
I. The Availability of Forgiveness – “And forgive us …”
A. The Awareness of the Potential for Forgiveness
- As we return to this prayer, we are reminded that it is divided into two main sections, the first addresses God – His passion as our Father, His glory, and His kingdom, and the second section addresses us and our needs – the provision of all of our needs, the forgiveness of our sins, and protection from sin.
- Sin is our great burden – it flavors everything we think and do, our plans, our memories, it permeates who we are, and constantly harasses us at every turn – Ecclesiastes 7:20.
- Our indulgence in sin is a enduring plague afflicting our souls day by day – and sometimes hour by hour as we struggle against our flesh – Jeremiah 13:23.
- We are born into this state of sin – called depravity – a condition we cannot escape – Ephesians 2:1.
- In this sense, Scripture declares that we are slaves to sin – John 8:34; Romans 6:6, 16-20.
- The Spirit of God, by God’s grace, is charged by the will of the Father, to bring upon us the conviction of this sin – to bring us to a place where we understand the weight of it, the consequences of it, and the hopelessness resulting from it – John 16:8.
- As we wake up to the dilemma of our sin, God allows us to see that the problem is not merely the natural consequences that our sin brings, not merely the eternal consequences that our sin brings, but the relational consequences that our sin brings in alienation from God – Psalm 51:4; Psalm 7:11; Psalm 5:4-5.
- Yet our plight knows hope as God, out of His grace, chooses to deal with us in a way that is patient, long-suffering, and kind – Psalm 103:10; Ezra 9:13.
- He shows us His mercy in order to bring us to a place where we would seek Him and His forgiveness – Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 2:21.
- God desires to extend forgiveness to all who will come to Him for forgiveness of their sin – Psalm 86:5; Psalm 130:3-4; 1 John 1:9.
B. The Appeal for the Provision of Forgiveness
- Hence, Jesus instructs us to pray for this forgiveness – “And forgive us …”
- The sinner must be willing to humble himself, acknowledge their guilt, and take full responsibility for how they have offended God – seeking His mercy - Proverbs 28:13.
- Jesus is here instructing us to appeal to God – not to assume anything, ignore anything, justify anything, or rationalize anything – but own our sin before Him and seek His forgiveness.
- It belongs to Him alone to grant as He alone is the One offended by our sin – Psalm 32:5.
- God longs to be gracious toward sinners – it places the glory of His grace on display – Isaiah 30:18; Micah 7:19.
As you approach God, are you aware that the only way you can come is because your sins have been forgiven?
Are you confident that God has forgiven your sins?
What does Jesus instruction to seek forgiveness from God tell you about God’s disposition?
II. The Abolishment through Forgiveness – “… our sins, …”
A. Rectifying Forgiveness in Salvation
- There are those who are confused about why we have to seek forgiveness when at the point of salvation ALL of our sins – past, present, and future are paid for by Christ Jesus.
- Their confusion comes by comprehending only part of the point of forgiveness.
- Usually, positional forgiveness – called “rectifying forgiveness” is understood, but the relational aspect of forgiveness, something that must remain constant is ignored.
- Often this result from thinking that the most considerable consequence of sin is condemnation – when the greater liability of sin is the separation from God.
- The word “forgive” [ἀφίημι] – means to dismiss, release, or to send away.
- All of “our sins” [ἁμαρτία] – a reference to the many ways that we each “fall short” or “miss the mark” of God’s holiness and perfection – are “disassociated” from us.
- In forgiving us, God takes “our sins” and wipes the record of them clean – Isaiah 43:25.
- He is described as “forgetting” our sins – Hebrews 8:12.
- When He forgives “our sins” He washes them away – cp. Isaiah 1:18.
- He casts them behind His back – Isaiah 38:17.
- He removes them as far from us as can be – Psalm 103:12.
- He casts them into the sea.
- In all of these things, we understand that such forgiveness is afforded by only one means – the work of Christ Jesus who shed His blood in order that we might have forgiveness – Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22.
- In this sense, the debt of our sin is canceled – wiped clean – through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus on the cross – cp. Colossians 2:13-14.
B. Relational Forgiveness in Sanctification
- However, there is yet another aspect of forgiveness that is in view in Jesus’ instructions for us to repeatedly pray for forgiveness.
- We do not need to be repeatedly justified, but we do continue to sin and that sin affects the level of freedom in our relationship with God.
- God is grieved by our sin – cp. Psalm 78:40; Ephesians 4:30.
- That grief affects the intimacy that we enjoy with God – an intimacy that defines the joy in the Christian life and can only be restored through confession of sin – Psalm 51:12
- This is illustrated in the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet – cp. John 13:4-10.
In what ways do you struggle with justifying your sin instead of confessing it?
Does the weight of your sin convince you that only a divine work could release you from its burden?
Why does God command people who have been forgiven to repeatedly ask for forgiveness?
III. The Authentication of Forgiveness – “For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”
A. The Godly Priority of Relationship
- Those who have known the forgiveness by God for their own sins recognize the glory of God achieved through forgiveness.
- The desire of the forgiven is to forgive – to release others from being associated with an offense.
- This describes the attitude of reconciliation as far as it is up to you – forgiveness is locked and loaded ready to be granted whenever an offender comes and seeks to reconcile.
- We do not withhold forgiveness and delight in condemnation of an offender until they come and then we “think about it” or begin a process of working through an offense.
- We are characterized here by Jesus as one who practices the priority of relationship by constantly forgiving those who “offend” us.
- In fact, this very attitude is a condition for the relational forgiveness that we seek from the Lord – cp. Matthew 6:12, 14-15.
- It is in this way that the authentication of our own forgiveness is seen as we forgive others.
B. The Godly Pardon of Liabilities
- The ability to forgive others is to behave like God who forgives “everyone who is indebted” to Him the moment that they seek it from Him.
- This term “indebted” [ὀφείλοντι] – refers to being under obligation and describes the obligation to seek forgiveness from someone because of an offense.
- Jesus paid the debt that we owed to God because of our sins against Him and instructs us to be willing to do the same – to extend forgiveness to people who “owe” us.
- This demonstrates our greatest admiration of and emulation of God who have forgiven us so incomparably much – and conversely, God is dishonored and His forgiveness of you is discounted when you refuse to forgive others.
- You are able to pardon the liabilities of others because doing so enables you to place on display the divine nature that is yours through Christ Jesus – cp. Ephesians 4:32.
- You might be here today and are withering under the resentment, hostility, and bitterness toward someone who has offended you – Jesus' instruction to pray this prayer is a way out of the trap of your parched, dry, spiritual temper.
- Jesus instructs you to concentrate on the regular restoration of your intimacy with God so that you might take the grace He provides you and apply it to those who are immeasurably less indebted to you that you were to God.
What does your unwillingness to forgive others say about your gratitude for God’s forgiveness?
How would damaged relationships in your life improve if you were to choose to forgive offenses committed against you?
Who is hurt the most by your refusal to forgive those around you? Why?