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The Lord’s Prayer (Exodus 6:2-8 and Matthew 6: 9-15) – Part 3

Introduction

Let us close our topic about the Lord’s Pray. We will continue our discussion about the fifth petition and end by explaining the six petition. These two completes the second three petitions of our first sermon point. After this, we will move to end with the conclusion and put a close to this whole section on the Sermon on the Mount. Next week. we will continue with a new topic on the dangers of worrying. Let us pray God continues to bless us with his Word.

So far, we learn how God wants to pray for our physical and spiritual needs. Yes, he commands us to petition for sustenance; he wants us to desire for them as children in need. God as our Father demonstrates his good to us by granting us our every need. In order to fulfill our petition to do his will here on earth, we need God to also give us the strength and confidence to do it. Praying for food and forgiveness gives us the ability and motivation to do them. This is why Jesus commanded us to pray for them as well.

Again, our sermon points for this morning are: 1) The Second Three Petitions; 2) The Conclusion. We will base our text on KJV instead of ESV and later I will explain why.

Before we begin, let us pray…

The Second Three Petitions

verse 12-13a: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

Jesus asks us disciples to petition for God’s forgiveness. He wants to desire for it daily. As long as sin remains in our body, we are always in need of God’s sanctifying grace. Martin Luther wrote in his 95 theses: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘Repent,’ he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.” This means in journey towards glorification, we need to recognize our daily dependence on God when it comes to our Christian walk. We pray for God to enable us live godly and holy lives. We petition God to grant us the desire evidence our faith. Here is where our confidence lie: God sanctifies his people. He cleanses us not only our guilty but also our corruptions.

Jesus adds in fifth petition “as we forgive our debtors”. Forgiveness from God and our forgiveness of others are related according to Jesus. So what is this relationship. To put more clearly, let me directly quote Ursinus on this. Zacharias Ursinus raised several objections made specifically to this particular clause so let us focus on them one by one:

Objection no. 1

He is not pardoned who himself does not forgive. We do not forgive. Therefore we are not forgiven.

Answer

He who does not forgive fully and perfectly, does, nevertheless, obtain forgiveness, if he does but forgive truly and sincerely. Therefore forgiveness shall also be extended to us, if we forgive truly and sincerely.

Objection no. 2

Christ commands us to pray that God will forgive our sins as we forgive our debtors. But we do not perfectly forgive our debtors. Therefore we, according to this petition, pray that God will not perfectly forgive us our sins, which is to desire our destruction since God will condemn even the smallest sin.

Answer

This is to put a false construction upon the words of Christ; for the particle as, as used in this petition, does not signify the degree of forgiveness, or teach that the forgiveness which we extend to others is equal to that which God extends to us; but it signifies the kind of forgiveness, or the truth and sincerity of the forgiveness which we and God extend, that God will as truly forgive us as we certainly and truly forgive our neighbor from the heart; or to express it more briefly, we may say, that there is here not a comparison according to the degrees, but according to the truth and reality of the thing, so that the sense is, God so perfectly forgives us our sins as, we truly and certainly forgive our neighbor.

Objection no. 3

But Christ commands us in Luke to pray; forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. (Luke 11:4). Therefore our forgiveness is the cause on account of which God forgives us.

Answer

But this is to consider that as a cause which is none. Our forgiveness is not meritorious, or the cause of divine forgiveness, but is merely an argument and proof that God has forgiven us our sins, since we have forgiven others, if not perfectly, yet still truly and sincerely. Our forgiveness cannot be the cause of the forgiveness of God, 1. Because it is imperfect. 2. Because if it were even perfect it could still not merit any thing for the reason that what we now do, we owe to God. If we were now to perform perfect obedience, it would still be due to God. Yet we must not understand this as signifying an equality of forgiveness in us and God, but only as referring to a comparison of the kind of forgiveness.

Objection no. 4

He does not truly forgive who retains a recollection of injuries, and is desirous of taking revenge. But we all have a recollection of injuries, and are desirous of taking revenge. Therefore we do not truly forgive.

Answer

He does not truly forgive who retains a recollection of injuries without showing any signs of disapprobation, or making any resistance thereto. And although we may scarcely be able to bury all remembrance of offences, or at least not without the greatest difficulty, yet if we only do not cherish it, but resist the remains of sin which still cleave to us, and do not give indulgence to them, there is nothing which may prevent us from truly and heartily forgiving others, and of obtaining that also on account of which Christ has added the particle as, which is, as has already been remarked, that we might rightly pray to God, which takes place whenever we pray in faith and repentance, both of which are confirmed in us by this petition. Faith is strengthened and confirmed in us by this petition, because when we truly extend forgiveness to our neighbor, we may and ought certainly to believe, that our sins are also forgiven us, so that we have a good conscience and are sure of being heard, according to the promise of Christ, “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also for give you.” (Matt. 6:14) True repentance is in like manner confirmed and increased within us by this petition, since it was chiefly to lead and provoke us to this, that the condition was added, As we forgive our debtors.

Again, we petition God to enable us to evidence our faith. When we are truly forgiveness by God, we are going to forgive others. Forgiving others is a not cause to an effect (receiving God’s forgiveness) but a undeniable result of saving faith. The relationship is also not a comparison of degree but of reality. When God forgives us, we will forgive others. This what we petition to God in our pray. We ask God to evidence faith before him. According to Ursinus, the fifth petition becomes the foundation of the whole prayer. We can confidently approach God in our prayer knowing we are justified before Him and we evidence saving faith in this life. This is means to pray as a Christian so let us petition this daily in our prayers to God.

Lastly, the sixth petition asks God for protection both from the present and future evils. This last petition prays not only for the daily spiritual provision but also confidently ask God for all our spiritual needs until we are finally glorified. To understand what these words mean we need to ask the meaning of the term evil and temptation. What does evil mean and what does it mean to be tempted?

Evil means the consequences and punishment that comes from the guilt and corruption of sin. Ursinus wrote:

“. . . understand it as comprehending all the evils of guilt and punishment, whether they be present or future; yea, and the devil himself, the author and grand contriver of all wicked deeds…Cyprian understood the term evil as here used, to include all the adverse circumstances which the enemy brings against us, from which we can have no sure protection, except God deliver us.”

So yes we will experience afflictions in this life either a direct result of our sins or from the consequences of the devils work in the world. God allows these circumstance to affect us in our daily walk with God and Jesus commands us to pray for persevering grace. He wants us to desire for God’s protection in the midst of trying circumstance; He asks us to petition for the strength to persevere. Jesus said: “But the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).” This is a statement of fact and not a command to obey. We ask God to protect us during times of difficult trials and temptation and enable us to persevere until the end.

Let us end this sermon point by again listing several objections raised against the sixth petition. Ursinus wrote:

Objection no. 1

We should not pray for deliverance from things good and profit able to us. The temptations which are from God, such as trials by afflictions, poverty, false prophets, &etc are things good and profitable to us. There fore we should not pray for deliverance from them.

Answer

We are not to pray for deliverance from things which are in themselves good and profitable. But trials, afflictions, crosses and other temptations are profitable not in themselves, but only by an accident, which is the mercy of God accompanying them, without which they are not only not profitable, but constitute a part of death and lead to death, both temporal and eternal. Hence in as far as afflictions are evil in themselves, and destructive to our nature, in so far we are to pray for a deliverance from them; but in as far as they are by the goodness of God, good and profitable to those who believe, we should riot desire to be delivered from them.

Objection no. 2

We ought not to pray for deliverance from what God wills.  But God wills our temptations. Therefore we ought not to pray for deliverance from them.

Answer

We ought not to pray for deliverance from what God wills, in as far as he simply wills it. But he does not simply will temptations he does not will them in as far as they are destructive to us; but only in as far as they are trials and exercises of our faith, prayer and constancy. In this respect we ought also to desire these things. And that we ought not simply to desire temptations is evident from this, that it is the part of patience to endure and submit to them, which it would not be (but rather our duty) if we should simply desire them, without being permitted to pray for deliverance from them. God will not, therefore, have us to desire evils in as far as they are evils, but will have us patiently to endure them in as far as they are good and profitable to us.

Objection no. 3

It is in vain that we pray for what we never obtain. But we shall never obtain a complete deliverance from temptations in this life; for “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. 3:12) Therefore it is in vain that we pray not to be led into temptation.

Answer

There is here an error in regarding that as a cause which is none: for we pray that we may not be led into temptation, not because we are here wholly to be delivered from temptations; but because we are delivered from many temptations and evils in which we should have perished, had we not sought and prayed for deliverance. This should be a sufficient reason why we should pray as we are here taught. But we may add still further, that this petition is necessary, in order that the evils into which we fall may be made contributory to our salvation. Those now who desire deliverance in general, obtain these two great blessings from God, notwithstanding he designs that this benefit be imperfect, even to those who desire it, on ac count of the remains of sin, which still cleave to us; and that because he will have us to pray with confidence, and submission to his will, that we may obtain it fully and perfectly in the life to come.

As Christians, do we pray for God’s sanctifying and persevering grace? Jesus commands us to do so. He want us to desire these spiritual provisions as part of his transforming work in our lives.

The Prayer’s Conclusion

verse 13b: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Finally, we end with God and his kingdom. We come to a full circle by beginning with God and his kingdom and ending with God and his kingdom. This is to remind us what our prayer is all about. It is our primary concern and desire. What we pray for relates to Him and his rule over over us. It is indeed appropriate to invoke God and his attributes as a way our daily prayers.

We used KJV for our text this morning because modern translations like the ESV omits this section about the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer. The clause “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” was included in the KJV because back then the manuscript supports such translations. However with the coming of more manuscripts we have today, our modern bible scholars favored the omission hence ESV ended with put it as a footnote letter d, stating: “Matthew 6:13 Or the evil one; some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen”.

How does this affect our view of translations? Does this make KJV an inspired translation? No, simply means we need to always consult the original manuscripts available and adjust our translations according to it. And since some of us are not trained in original bible languages, we simply compare translations so determine which are faithful to the received manuscripts. In case, we go with KJV but personally most of the time I go ESV and check footnotes to be comprehensive. Again, there are no inspired translations but only inspired and inerrant autographs. So let us make sure to study diligently when it comes to covering our sources..

It is also worth mentioning, although not authoritative but only to reinforce the inclusion of the concluding phrase, Didache wrote the exact same formula. It was part of the catechetical instruction Christians receive before baptism. The letter was written close to the apostolic period and in its present form is traces back until 150 AD. Late apostolic letters are known to contain direct from Scriptures and some scholars believe it quote from Didache comes the gospel of Matthew’s verse of the Lord’s Prayer.

But I think more than anything else, the concluding phrase is included even in Heidelberg Catechism because they were not disputes about it during their time and at the same time, Christians can ascertain its appropriateness as a conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer. Kingdom, power, and glory belongs to God. If we are going to simply relate it to the each of the petitions, we can relate the first three petition relates to Kingdom and the second three petitions relates to Power. Lastly, the whole prayer is about God’s glory. It is the chief end of all things not only in this life but also the life to come. It is forever. God’s kingdom, power, and glory are forever and we end our prayer with an affirmation as Amen! According to Urinus, Amen means “So let it be, or let that come to pass which we ask.” We ask God for his will be done in our lives. We humbly yet confidently ask God for these petitions by exclaiming Amen! Amen!

Conclusion

ZCRC(Imus), Let us pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

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