Be prepared for a new revelation regarding The Lord’s Prayer.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS
The deeper we dig into our Bibles, the more it will mess with our theology. What we call The Lord’s Prayer is a prime example. It is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount which was directed at national Israel. This Sermon” was all about what life would be like during the Millennial Kingdom (referred to by Jesus only in Matthew’s Gospel as the Kingdom of Heaven). It will be a time when the nation of Israel will be under the Law, yet the Jews who enter into it would have been saved by the blood of Jesus. Click here
for an article in which I try to explain this shocking revelation. National Israel will be under the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36). With new hearts and the Holy Spirit, the re-born Jews will be able to keep the Law because the One to Whom the Law pointed will have given them the power to keep it. With this brief background, let’s focus on one particular verse from the Lord’s Prayer–(Mt. 6:12):
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
If we’re paying attention, this verse should shock us. It’s pure legalism. It says that God will forgive us based on whether or not we forgive others. This is not for Christians. We are forgiven purely by God’s grace based on what Christ did on the cross. Our forgiveness has nothing whatsoever to do with our performance in forgiving others. In fact, it is in spite of the way we treat others. It is pure grace meant to drive us to our knees as we try to comprehend the love and grace of God that saved undeserving wretches like us. We love God because He first loved us. Similarly, we forgive others because He first forgave us. We’re simply passing the blessing along to others, not trying to earn God’s forgiveness.
Look at the rest of The Lord’s Prayer and see if you can see how graceless and Law-oriented it is. We don’t need to ask God for things He has already promised, yet we pray this prayer over and over as if it has magical powers which are released simply by repeating it.
AS I SEE IT
This revelation has probably upset your apple cart. It did mine. It made me wonder how many other passages I assumed I understood but discovered that it was meant for national Israel. Just because it’s in the New Testament, we shouldn’t assume it’s all about us. God has a plan for national Israel that is completely separate from His plan for the Church. Any attempt to merge the two is simply wrong, and we would do well to spend some time learning the difference.
We should be on the alert for any passages that sound legalistic and leave no room for grace. We are all naturally drawn to legalism because it’s easier to follow a set of rules that it is to develop a relationship. It also feeds our egos by making us think we’ve got something to contribute because deep down we’re good and competent people. Check out Romans 3:10-18 for God’s assessment. We know Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing, but we interpret that to mean with a little help from Jesus we can get by. The truth is that we don’t need His help. We need His life. Legalism keeps us feeling self-sufficient and we must ruthlessly fight against it.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
What was Pontius Pilate’s wife’s official title?
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