If I Don't Forgive You, Will God Not Forgive Me? – The Lord's Prayer Part 6 - Hope 103.2

If I Don’t Forgive You, Will God Not Forgive Me? – The Lord’s Prayer Part 6

Offering forgiveness is one of the hardest things anyone will do. The Lord's Prayer reveals how God's approach to forgiveness should shape our own.

By Ben McEachenThursday 6 Apr 2023The Lord's PrayerPodcastsReading Time: 4 minutes

Forgiveness might be a real, live, painful struggle for you.

Or it is has been. Or, sadly, it will be.

And then you get to the part of The Lord’s Prayer that asks our heavenly father to “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”.

How should you feel about that… let alone live it out?

In the sixth episode of limited series The Lord’s Prayer podcast, author and theologian David Hohne discusses forgiveness with Hope Morning’s Ben McEachen.

As David outlined from The Lord’s Prayer, forgiveness is a “gift”.

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From God, this gift means our heavenly father does not hold the consequences of our sin against us.

From me to you or you to me, the “gift” of forgiveness can free us from “the burden of anger, resentment and bitterness” caused by sins we commit against each other.

“When [God] encourages us to consider forgiveness, he doesn’t take it lightly,” David said.

“He knows what it is like to offer forgiveness and have it rejected.”

The big idea

“We are all sinners,” David said. “We all reject God and try to live our own way without him. Ignoring his word to us. His promises to us. That’s what it means to be a sinner.”

The consequences of sin against God are so enormous that a just response from God is required, if forgiveness is to be made available.

Put that another way: “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Romans 6:23)

Our response of forgiveness to others flows from God being forgiving towards us.

Talking points

  • To be “made right” with God before Jesus, the Mosaic law outlined an intricate system of sacrifice that linked with the forgiveness of sins.
  • Sacrifice for your sin had to be made regularly and repeatedly, due to sin in humans remaining regular and repeated.
  • The once-and-for-all “atoning sacrifice” of Jesus death – and his resurrection – means forgiveness for the “debt” of our sins against God can be offered to us.
  • Once again in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus does not explicitly point out how critical he is to this part of the Lord’s Prayer being fulfilled.
  • God extends forgiveness to us. This shapes, inspires and compels me and you to extend forgiveness to others. Easier said than done, though.
  • Offering forgiveness does not mean we condone, minimise or ignore the sin against us. “We can easily see that by the way in which God takes sin personally,” David said. “We talk about the gift of forgiveness but it cost God his life in the most gruesome of ways… All this while he [came] to save sinners.”
  • We live in an “outrage culture”. Forgiveness can be hard to find. Our confidence in being forgiven can be shaken.
  • “A core aspect of our ability to live together well is that we relate rightly to one another. We only know how to relate rightly to each other is to look to the God who is righteous.”

Explore more

  • Matthew 26:26-29 – Jesus makes clear his death and resurrection brings in a New Covenant “for the forgiveness of sins”.
  • Romans 6 – David referenced the part of this New Testament letter that shockingly contrasts sin’s cost with salvation in Jesus, “the gift of God”.
  • Hebrews 9-10 – The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin. The “one offering” of Jesus means we can be “made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”.
  • 1 John 1-2 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Praise God, for Jesus Christ, the “atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world”.

Let’s pray

Our Father in Heaven. Your name be honoured as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Thank you that forgiveness is even possible, given how much and often I can fail to live the holy life you have set before us. May my love and worship of Jesus increase as I marvel at his sacrifice and what it means for my eternal relationship with you. Help me to muster the courage and humility to come to you in repentance and faith. Inspire me to also seek forgiveness from anyone I have sinned against, as I confess wrong and seek to genuinely change. Give me the strength and ability to extend forgiveness to those who sin against me. You know the scale and cost of this. I want to as well, and have it empower the forgiveness I offer. Amen.

Listen to the full Forgive Us Our Sins episode in the player above or the video below. Subscribe to The Lord’s Prayer podcast.