Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our trespasses.”
This isn’t a prayer taught to the world out there. It is you and me, the Christians, who need to ask God to forgive our sins. We need to ask him regularly. Sometimes people wonder if we really need to bother about forgiveness after we have become believers. Wasn’t that all taken care of at the cross thousands of years ago? Didn’t I personally receive my pardon when I first came to faith? The answer to those questions is, “Yes, of course, God has already forgiven us.” But have our new sins become any less serious?
Repentance isn’t a one-time experience. It is a way of life, an ongoing way of regarding sin. If we continue to see our sins the way that God sees them, we will want to hear that they are forgiven. They are frightening. Jesus teaches us to pray, “Forgive us, forgive us, forgive us,” every time we pray his prayer.
This prayer also humbles those who use it. It puts us all in the same boat. We may be tempted to look around and see others we believe are just a little less sanctified than we are. But when we pray forgive us our trespasses, we all drop to the same level. Their sins are lumped together with ours, and we stand together as people deeply in debt to God, in desperate need of his grace.
Jesus’ words also teach us about God’s place in the relationship. He is eager to give us all the things he teaches us to ask for in the Lord’s prayer. Sometimes we pray for things we can’t be certain God wants us to have. But when Jesus teaches to pray “forgive us our trespasses,” he isn’t an insecure parent dropping hints about a gift he has chosen for his children: “Wouldn’t it be nice if you had one of these? Wouldn’t you like to get this or that for your birthday?” He is flat out telling us: “Ask for this! This is exactly what your heavenly Father wants to give you!”
Can there be any doubt he wants to forgive our sins? Look at what he was willing to pay to get us this gift! Would God give up his own perfect Son for us if he was not fully devoted to forgiving our sins? More than the diamond on your finger, or the car in your driveway, or the house in which you live, or the job that pays your bills, the most expensive gift that we have ever received is the forgiveness of our sins. God’s Son died on a cross for it. As gifts go, it knows no equal.
Is it any wonder that he wants us to take this gift out and enjoy it again and again? We might sooner get sick of breathing air and drinking water. We might sooner grow tired of being loved and cared for. God’s children live for the forgiveness of sins. Take everything else we enjoy away. If we have only forgiveness for our sins, God has taken care of our every need.